August 8, 2013

ABBOTT: G-nasty gnats invade my space


---- — While the world watches Anthony Weiner’s struggle to become mayor of New York City, I’ve got real problems.

I have gnats. Little black swarming devils have taken over my now-scrubbed-clean kitchen (yes, even those spaces between the stove and the counter).

We’ve lived in our home for 17 years, and aside from a plague of tiny ants in the kitchen once, we’ve been pretty bug-free.

Our son was 6 when we moved in, and I made a Motherly/Wifely Decree that no food be gnawed outside the kitchen. Except for the occasional popcorn and pizza, we’ve stuck to that edict. (I won’t go into the gory details of a certain 8-year-old’s indiscretion about leaving his half-eaten ham sandwich in the lunchbox under his bed, only discovered when school started two months later. No, I won’t go there.)

On to the gnats — I scrubbed, and bleached areas where I thought the little buggers might go, and I also removed plants from the living room when I read gnats lay eggs in moist soil.

Gnashing my teeth, I was frustrated that nothing worked, so I turned to the best folks for advice —Old Wives.

About two-thirds of the women in my Bible study group, The Power Lifters at St. Luke Lutheran Church, are widows over 70, and always an excellent source of information.

Recently, a mother and daughter duo hosted a luncheon for the group. The daughter and I sat at the “kids table” reserved for those under sixty.

The “girls” as I like to call our Elder Stateswomen advised me to try vinegar and water mixed with a dab of dish soap.

So home I went, dishing out the blue Palmolive along with my remarkable organic raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (you know the kind with messages written all over the label) and poured the slumgullion into a flat dish. Nothing happened.

This is terribly frustrating, so I tried to think like a gnat. What would attract a gnat to this sweet and gnarly mixture?

It dawned on me that the little darlings probably couldn’t see this inviting pool, a pool in which I invited them to commit suicide?

I found a wine glass from among our eclectic assortment of glasses. (We received 16 sets of wine glasses as wedding presents and have broken about two-thirds of them. What remains is quite a collection.)

Cha Ching! The mixture in the wine glass proved just the thing. The gnats are swan diving to a premature death, and their bloated bodies are visible to me from the underside of the glass.

The problem is not completely cured, so I still welcome other “Old Wives” to share their recipe for gnat disaster.

Amy McVay Abbott is a freelance journalist and author of “The Luxury of Daydreams.” She can be reached at