Monday, October 08, 2007

Antus Houdinium

Today is an anniversary of sorts. It marks four years from the day I was supposed to return home from my mission. I, and the rest of the people I was traveling with, got stuck in Germany over night.

Tangent: I don't think Germany, or at least Frankfurt, likes me very much. I've been through it only twice: on my way to and from Italy. On the way in I was robbed and on the way out the plane left without us. I'm afraid of what calamity would befall me if I were to actually go there on vacation. The only good thing I've personally experienced in Germany is the hotel's excellent continental breakfast.

As I was considering how to commemorate this anniversary I thought of brownies. And then I thought of the magician/escape artists that were the ants in the apartment from the second city of my mission: Castellammare di Stabia. Ants and brownies really do have a connection. I promise.

We knew our ants were special when we saw that they chose to infest our apartment on the third floor rather than staying at ground level. Their hole in the wall was in our bathroom, but they found their food in our kitchen. They would come out of their home, go out the bathroom, down the hall and around the corner to get there. We tried to rid ourselves of their presence by drowning them with water from a sponge. That worked for a while. I was amazed one morning when I tried to drown one offensive insect and it began to swim! It waited until it floated the surface, then simply lifted its head and began paddling its legs. I didn't know evolution worked that quickly. We started putting soap in the water to break the surface tension. The ants didn't float so well after that.

Now for the brownie part. My companion at the time made fantastic from scratch brownies. We loved them, the Italians loved them, and...the ants loved them. After leaving part of a batch on the counter the night before, we woke up to a brownie pan thick with ants. The next night we put a cover on the pan and woke up to the same results. Obviously we needed a tighter seal. We found our solution in the front-load washing machine. What followed would astound Houdini, himself.

A full pan of brownies was placed inside the washing machine for use the next day. Confident that we had out-smarted the ants, we went to bed. We had an early appointment, so we dressed quickly. When we got to the kitchen we couldn't believe our eyes. The inside of the washing machine was black with ants. They had gotten past our safeguards. As we were in a hurry, the most clean up we did was to dump soapy water on the line of ants from the kitchen to the bathroom. We came back home for lunch and we each did our own thing. While my companion was in the bathroom I noticed that she had cleaned up the ants and I thought that was very nice. I went into the bathroom directly after my companion left it. When I came out she thanked me for cleaning up the ants. WHAT? The hundreds of ants we killed had vanished completely. The mystery was solved a few days later when I watched one ant carry away the carcass of its deceased comrade. I never knew ants disposed of their dead.

You wouldn't think this would be a bragging point, but I can honestly say, "My ants are smarter than your ants."


Mary said...

i know this wasn't me b/c i don't know how to make delicious brownies from scratch. seeing you on Friday was fun. It was great to re-live our umbrella-sharing fun.

Abbie said...

Dude, I totally forgot about that story too!!!!! Thank goodness you have a better memory than I do. I should go back in my journal and read about that. I was totally laughing my head off as I read it. Ahhh... the memories. I need to make those brownies again PS. Haven't made them since I got home.

Braun Family said...

abbie, you probably haven't made those brownies again b/c you would attract the ants. or at least remember them through traumatic association.