I rarely go to bed early but tonight I think I maybe in bed before 1am. I can barely keep awake, so it’s time to sleep for me.
After taking a week off, I got off my ass and decided to tackle my ant problem again. I decided to concentrate on the bathroom front because that’s where I think I’m closest to solving the problem. I’ll worry about the kitchen later.
After sealing off a ton of gaps, I am still seeing three or four ants underneath my bathroom sink. There are obviously points of ingress I am missing. I now have some heat-resistant tape, so I used it to seal around the incoming hot water pipe that comes out from the wall. I used regular tape to seal around the cold water pipe.
I have a lot of silicone sealant left, so I sealed off a whole bunch of other gaps that are underneath the sink as well. My theory is that behind my whole bathroom sink cabinet, the ants have basically established a beachhead there. They’ve come up from the unit below via the water pipes and via gaps between the bathroom sink cabinet and the walls, they are getting into my apartment. The bathroom sink cabinet itself has gaps, which I’m trying to seal up.
Once I sealed up a whole bunch of gaps, I sat there, just observing, trying to seeing new ants and where they were popping up from. I looked away for a like second and when my gaze returned, I saw an ant near one of the front corners of the cabinet. Where the hell did it come from? It didn’t spawn from thin air. It also didn’t drop down. So it must have come from somewhere near by. I got down real low and put my head down near the floor and tried to look up from below the cabinet. It was then I realized there was a massive space at the bottom of the cabinet between the cabinet wall and the wall of my bathroom. I’m not describing it correctly but suffice to say, it was a void space that could theoretically be open all the way to the back of the cabinet, the opening of which was probably two inches by half an inch. It was in a really awkward spot, so even if I had sealing foam, there’s no way to get a dispenser in there. What I could use was duct tape. I had to use a small mirror to help me guide the tape but I sealed it off.
I’m still not done because now that I know what I’m looking for, I discovered yet another set of gaps that open up into the back of the sink cabinet. By then, I was just so tired and wanting to eat fried chicken that I decided to call it quits for the day. I had made progress, so it was time to be just happy about that.
The battle continues.
About two weeks ago I bought a new 10″ stainless steel frying pan from Misen. As a kid, the thought of getting a new frying pan would have bored me into despair. As an adult, however, I was incredibly excited to get such a thing.
I’ve been wanting to get rid of all non-stick cookware for a long time now and my larger non-stick frying pan was the only piece left. That pan got a lot of use because it was large and could cook several pieces of protein all at once, and I was able to make sauces in it. Yes, the non-stick coating is nice but you can use a stainless steel pan and keep the sticking to a minimum as well.
Now when I my meal kit recipes call for non-stick pan, I use my stainless steel one. I just ensure the pan is hot enough before I start cooking and I use enough oil to coat the pan as well (without it being too oily). The Misen pan is great because it’s a bit deeper than my old non-stick, which is good for sauces and liquids. I’ve made orzo in that pan and it can hold enough liquid to do that without any issues. I also don’t want to seem like a show off but I’ve also been able to make scrambled eggs in stainless steel pans with nearly no sticking at all.
I have one more meal kit to make for the week and it involves poaching some fish in a tomato sauce in a pan. I can’t wait to use that pan again!
I have an Instagram account that is not associated to my name directly and I use it to follow some, um, accounts without judgment. The Instagram algorithm is so weird because it tries to show me accounts that I’m not following and you can tell it’s trying to show me posts from all sorts of different interests to see what I wind up interacting with.
The latest thing the algorithm thinks I’d be interested in is “anti-work” accounts that post memes and videos about the grinding nature of capitalism, jobs, and the cliche of the 9-5 workday. I gotta admit, some of the stuff is pretty funny, so I’ve “like” a few of these posts, which probably only encourages the algorithm to show me more of these posts.
Alright, I gotta go to bed so I can be rested for my job that I have that allows me to relate to all these workplace memes.
I had a coffee at 4pm because I thought I was gonna be sleepy in the evening. I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep last night and I had to be up for a 9am meeting this morning. Well, the coffee probably worked too well. I didn’t feel very tired at all during the evening and I’m super wide awake now and it’s time to go to sleep.
Maybe I’ll go buy lottery tickets online for a few hours.
It’s been a while since I had an ant update. In the bathroom, things aren’t perfect. Sometimes I see about four or five ants just milling about underneath the sink. It’s difficult to tell where they’re coming in from still but there are a few places I haven’t seal off yet. In one case, I swear I saw two really small ants move in between where I had already sealed it off with silicone. I realized the silicone sealant I bought is very viscous when it comes out of the tube. So rather than it naturally to flowing into the gaps like a liquid, it sorta sits on the gap instead. The seal isn’t that great because of that. I think I might need to reapply the sealant again and this time use a finger dipped in water to press the sealant into the gaps fully.
On the kitchen sink front, the picture above tells you how it’s going. The ants are still having no problems getting into the area. There are still so many areas I need to tape off. I bought some heat resistant tape on the weekend. Some gaps and holes that I already taped off with duct tape are exposed again because the heat from the hot water is causing the duct tape to lose adhesion. Hopefully this new tape will stay in place, even under heat.
This week, I also need to buy a can of expanding foam for those really large gaps and voids that need sealing off. It’s a pain in the ass to have to keep doing all this stuff but I cannot let these ants share my apartment with me. They ain’t paying the mortgage so they gotta go.
I think I know what made me break out in hives. It was a pair of dish washing gloves I was using. I noticed that after I used them, my hands got all itchy and the parts of my body where the hives were started to get itchy again.
These were latex gloves and I’m fairly certain I’ve come into contact with latex many, many times before. Most of the gloves I’ve used to clean my dishes and cleaning in general have been made from latex. What made this pair of gloves different? I’m not sure. Maybe I was reacting to something in the gloves that wasn’t latex and some other substance or chemical. These were dollar store gloves, so who knows what kind of quality control was involved with them.
In any case, I threw them out and then went to Shoppers Drug Mart and bought some brand name dish washing gloves, which were still latex. I’ve used these several times now and my body hasn’t reacted to them at all.
It remains a bit of mystery but maybe I won’t be buying dollar store gloves for a while.
Last week, my body developed itchy hives in three places on my body. One patch was on the right side of my chest, and the two other places were near both my hips. I didn’t know what the hell was going on. It started off with all three places feeling super itchy. I scratched it as one might do. The next morning, I woke up with all these places looking red, inflamed, and raised.
I didn’t know what may have caused this. I wondered if these were insect bites. If they were, from what? Due to my personal experience with bedbugs, my mind immediately went there. It didn’t make complete sense though. In the last two weeks, I’d only been to my parents place. My parents, in turn, rarely go anywhere where bedbugs might be (hotels, movie theatres, and such). They did attend a funeral however. Could this be a possibility?
The thing is, the hives didn’t look like insect bites. My chest, in particular, was just a large patch of inflamed skin. It’s been a long time now but my recollection was that my reaction to the bed bug bites were more localized. I had smaller patches of red marks, centered around the puncture sites, not large swaths of skin, like on my chest. Still, I cannot 100% rule out bed bugs just yet, though I think it’s unlikely.
My other theory was that it was an allergic reaction to something I ate. This to me also feels a bit far-fetched but still a possibility. I just don’t have allergic reactions to food. Or if I do, I haven’t discovered what those foods might be. In the last week, my diet has been consistent with what I’ve eaten normally. I ate salmon and shrimp, and I know some people have seafood allergies but I’ve eaten so much seafood in my life and it’s never been an issue. Perhaps it was something I ate and I didn’t realize I was allergic? It’s possible but again my diet has been very mundane and normal lately. Was it the Uncrustables? Am I allergic to strawberry jam, peanut butter, or hazelnut spread? I’ve had all three of those before, so this seems unlikely as well.
The good news is that since developing those three itchy red areas, no others have developed. The redness is still visible unfortunately but starting to fade away.
If these are indeed bed bug bites, I’d expect more marks to appear again in the next few days, as they come back to feed. If I see marks appear again, oh boy, it’s gonna get interesting.
What you see above is a picture of an Uncrustable. I took this picture and I took in my own home. This is remarkable because at the beginning of this year, you could not buy Uncrustables in Canada. I even wrote a post about it.
Uncrustables became available to purchase in Canada a few months ago, probably around the beginning of the summer and I did not realize it. I bought my first two boxes this week. In Canada, they only have the strawberry/peanut butter and hazelnut spread varieties. In the US, they have two other options, plus even wheat bread choices.
To say I was excited to bring these home is understatement. I’ve been wanting to try these things for so long. Before I give my “review” however, I want to temper everyone’s expectations. These things are basically kids’ sandwiches. White bread with sugary filling like simulated jam, peanut butter, and fake Nutella. The gimmick is that the sandwiches are sealed and crustless. Once you keep that in mind and have that context and aren’t expecting lobster and steak, you’re in the right place to try these.
I will say the strawberry “spread” and peanut butter tastes better to me than the hazelnut one. Having the two different flavours gives it a more complex experience. The other one just makes it seem like you’ve spread Nutella on a piece of bread, it just feels a bit too homogeneous. It maybe also be a tiny bit too sweet for me. It’s not bad however.
In both cases, the bread is extremely soft and fresh. These things come frozen and you’re supposed to defrost them for 30 to 60 minutes before eating. The bread comes out really soft and pillowy. Also, as a child, I hated eating bread crusts, so this is right up my alley. It’s easy to eat from edge to edge.
It makes for a great snack and while I wouldn’t eat a whole box every day, they are darn tasty. I also recognize that anyone can take fresh bread, spread jam and peanut butter on it, and then cut off the crusts, to get a pretty good copy of an Uncrustable. These things have a certain charm and convenience to them.
I’ve already returned to the store to get the larger box of strawberry and peanut butter.
It’s been about 48 hours after I sealed off gaps underneath the sink in my bathroom. Outside of that one straggler ant that was probably trapped on the wrong side of the threshold, I have not seen any other ants since. I don’t want to jinx it and declare victory on that front just yet, but the signs are all looking good.
In the kitchen, results are a bit more mixed. There are still a fair number of ants under the sink and I can’t say these are the ones who were caught out after I sealed off the gaps. There are still a few gaps under the sink that need sealing. One gap I can seal off with the silicone sealer but the others are cutouts for pipes and wiring. These cutouts are huge and I need an foam expanding foam or perhaps tape to these areas off.
The kitchen is still a work in progress, so the battle continues.