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Fumigation

Started: 2021-06-10 21:12:02

Submitted: 2021-06-10 22:54:35

Visibility: World-readable

In which the intrepid narrator gets his house tented for fumigation

The first big thing we wanted to do when we bought our house in Santa Cruz was fumigate the house to kill all the termites that were slowly working their way through the beams. At one point one of our West Coast realtors said something to the effect of, "All houses here have termites, it's just a matter of controlling them before they get carried away", and the pest report on this house seemed to back that up. The house hadn't been fumigated during the 20 years the most recent owner had lived there, and it was unclear whether it had been fumigated ever in the 37 years since it was built.

The fumigation tents went up on Monday, 24th May, accompanied by scary warning signs. I contrived an excuse to go visit the house on Monday evening, to see my own house wrapped in the tent. (While I was there I picked up the mail, and saw that my neighbors' trash bins were out, so I put out my trash bins too, since we got lucky and left the trash bins outside the garage so I could actually access them outside the fumigation tent.) The experience was just as surreal as I hoped it would be: I saw the blue-and-orange tent covering the roof poking above the trees while I was still a block away. I parked on the street in front of the house and nipped across the street to get a picture.

Nanna Ct wrapped for fumigation
Nanna Ct wrapped for fumigation

I walked up the driveway to see the fumigation company's logo attached to the side of the garage. I saw where the fumigation company had excluded some of the plants next to the house from the tent, though one ambitious climbing vine on a trellis over the front of the house ended up under the tents and subject to the anti-termite insecticide.

Fumigation tent over the garage
Fumigation tent over the garage

As a kid growing up in California, I'd see houses tented for fumigation as we drove around the peninsula, but I never saw a house tented that I had actually been inside. As I walked around my new house I tried to remember the contours of the house inside the opaque tent, as if the tent were an alien cocoon that had dropped down in the middle of my yard.

Fumigation tent above the patio
Fumigation tent above the patio

In the front yard the contrast between the lush garden, immaculately designed with a fountain in the middle surrounded by stepping stones, and the garish circus-colored tent was more extreme.

Fumigation tent in the front yard
Fumigation tent in the front yard

It was like Christo had come to wrap my house as a temporary art project for a couple of days, before the wraps were removed and we could get back to getting the house ready to move in.

Fumigation tent on the front windows
Fumigation tent on the front windows
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