Fly Away

Since we bought this Arizona home in 2010, I have seen exactly one live scorpion either inside or outside our house. Bill talked me out of putting the house on the market immediately after the little b*****d scooted across the floor when I turned on our kitchen light one morning a few years ago. Some people have more of a problem with them than one in a 11-year-period.

What we lack in scorpions, we more than make up in flies. You don’t need to tell me that scorpions are scarier than flies. But flies are mighty dang annoying. And they love our house.

Behind our house we have a nice desert area of open space. It will never be developed because there are power lines that run across the area. We might grow a second head from being exposed to so much electricity, but there will be no development. However, behind that open space there is a house that has probably been there for 40 years and belong to no homeowners association. They have some horses. Not a lot of them, but perhaps three or four. Maybe it’s a horse boarding place? I don’t know. All I know is that as a result, we have flies.

When we first moved into this house, I optimistically purchased an outdoor dining table and chairs. I envisioned eating dinner every nice spring evening outside, watching the roadrunners and mockingbirds, and feeling the evening breeze. After three or four attempts, it became abundantly clear that the flies would make the al fresco dining experience a no-go. Nothing ruins cole slaw like seeing a fly tasting the creamy dressing.

Bill, Jen, and I have learned some of the necessary tricks to keep the flies manageably outdoors. Prior to exiting to our back yard, we give the screen door a solid tap to get rid of the flies that are lurking there, wanting to get in. Prior to sitting outside for our evening “cocktail party,” we spray the area so that by time we venture out, there is only a slight chemical smell. We’re not enamored with the smell, but the flies seem to like it. We keep a flyswatter on hand, and, despite the fact that flies are also one of God’s creatures, we swat them relentlessly, and cheer when one of us succeeds in smashing a fly. Most important, we all know to close the screen door — and quickly — when entering and exiting our patio. Jen worked with her grandkids at learning this habit. Austin is the best at remembering. Jen and I are amused at just how wholly unsuccessful we are at actually hitting the flies with a flyswatter. I would guess I successfully hit one fly out of 20 tries. Bill, on the other hand, has a 90 percent effective rate at fly-killing, despite his Parkinson’s. Who’d a-figured that?

Still, no scorpions, so there’s that.

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