Above My (and His) Pay Grade

Earlier this week I finally bit the bullet and called a plumber. We had a slow leak under our kitchen sink. I kept thinking I had fixed it, until I pulled out the trash can and noticed that the bottom was wet again.

I had dumped baking soda and vinegar down the drain followed by a boiling water chaser.

I had used my super skinny snake (my only snake) and fished out some gunk.

But the leak continued.

The plumber came Friday morning, diagnosed the problem, pulled out his saw that could cut through metal. Sliced off a part that had corroded and cracked and replaced it.

I was relieved to see that this was definitely, as the plumber said, above my pay grade. Slicing metal and replacing parts goes beyond my rudimentary plumbing skills.

The more I pondered his phrase, above my pay grade, the more I realized that Pettigrew owns it.

Chasing away mail carriers and delivery boys. In his wheelhouse.

Dealing with rodents and insects? Nope. He watches them in a bemused way and makes no effort to deter them.

We live in an old, 1920s house. Needless to say “air tight” is not a word I would ever use to describe it. Seasonally, we get different intruders. Given that it’s fall and sheets of rain have been pouring down, we are in the time of ants.

I sprinkle cinnamon around the window frames. Use a sponge infused with vinegar to wipe the counters. Drench paper towels with peppermint oil and rub the edges of the windows. And, ultimately, make a trip to the hardware store to buy ant baits. The ants are supposed to go into the little house, get coated in the poison, and helpfully carry it back to their nest.

The packages come with six little pods that last three months.

I have 12 pods set up in my kitchen and refresh them every few weeks and still need to use the cinnamon, vinegar, and peppermint oil. It is only this multi-pronged approach that seems to deter the ants.

Pettigrew, he likes to sit on the window seat and watch them scurry over the counters and up and down the window frames until he doesn’t. Then he curls up and goes to sleep.

Not a lot of help there! Ants are above his pay grade.

4 thoughts on “Above My (and His) Pay Grade

  1. OMG – did you not hear anything about our phenomenal ant-ridding experience at the beach house?! It was all-consuming while we were there. This is the page that brought us success: https://www.practicallyfunctional.com/get-rid-of-ants-with-borax/ We used both approaches – dripping the borax-honey mixture where they come in and leaving the borax-powdered sugar mixture on the counter. HUGELY successful! And clearly this approach is way above P.’s pay grade!

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  2. Thanks for the tip! I’ll check it out. Aunt Elaine also offered advice re: ridding the house of ants. I’ll have to remember to blog about my next unsolvable problem to see if I can garner more good solutions.

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  3. Sisters sticking together — terrific. Indeed the borax/honey approach was successful and described with much more humor that I could have done. Sometimes sisters can be of more help even,than Pettigrew,, capable as he is in many situations.

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