One of the challenges of homeownership is that things always seem to break or go wrong. As soon as you fix one problem, it’s not long before another one comes along. There’s definitely a learning curve that comes with being homeowner. But nowadays, I can tackle some decently sized problems. I’m no Kit, but I can now proudly say that I can hold my own for most common household repairs. Which is important when you’re a homeowner. Because I’m pretty sure chicks dig that sort of thing. That’s right, baby. I can install a ceiling fan. Should we sex now or later?

But I wasn’t always impressing women with my ability to install ceiling fans. When I first bought a house, I had no clue what I was doing. HVAC units have filters? Do you really have to get your ducts cleaned? Failing to replace the toilet properly can allow dangerous sewer gasses to seep into your house all night? Why the hell did I buy a house again? I had no idea where to begin. Thankfully though, what I did have was access to a man with wisdom and experience. And that man was Dale.

I was actually very lucky to have Dale around while I was still getting the swing of things. As a caring and concerned father, he has always been the first to arrive during a time of crisis (or non-crisis, for that matter.)  And while there’s certainly no denying that Dale is helpful, but – though his heart is in the right place – his methods are rather unorthodox to say the least.

Such as the time he jimmied open my kitchen window and broke into my house to teach me a valuable lesson about security breaches. Or the time I arrived home to see that he had taken it upon himself to replace my garage door keypad (Yes, as a direct result of the recycling bin incident)… and programmed an entry combination that would be easy for him to remember (unlike the old garage door combination which he had difficulty remembering). He beamed with pride that he could now enter my home whenever he wanted. I guess I should just be thankful he’s not using the window anymore.

But the example that best demonstrates the brilliant lunacy of his methods, is the time he volunteered to rid my house of a bee infestation. That’s right, the first summer in my house, I was lucky enough to have a hole in our brick chimney that some damn bee found his way into and promptly decided to invite all his damn bee friends over for a hive-making party.

Before I continue the story, one thing you have to understand about Dale is that he’s very fiscally responsible. If you can do it yourself, there’s no need to pay a professional. This is a principal I generally agree with, but let me put this in perspective for you. Dale once decided to do his own plumbing because the plumber was going to charge nearly 100 dollars for a repair. Dale ended up busting a pipe and getting completely drenched by raw sewage.  And he regrets nothing and would make the same decision again. So to summarize: Dale would literally rather be covered in shit than spend 100 dollars. And not even his own shit. Other people’s shit. That’s dedication!

So for a man with this type of dedication to do-it-yourself solutions, these bees were sure to be no match. For you see, rather than call the exterminator, Dale came over to my house and cobbled together a contraption that would make MacGyver proud. Using a broken rake handle, duct tape, and a Shop-Vac, Dale manage to rig the system together so that the Shop-Vac’s nozzle was positioned right outside the primary bee point-of-entry/exit. Dale – after stepping back to admire his contraption – explained to me that the Shop-Vac “vaporized” the bees. I’m still trying to figure out what type of chemical reaction he thought occurred in industrial vacuums that would lead to the complete vaporization of the bees, but he was steadfast in this theory. Emboldened by this belief, it was now Dale’s mission to vaporize the entire hive.

Hey! Here’s a quick fun-fact for you that I wish I had known ahead of time: a single bee hive can contain up to 50,000 bees! So from 8:00am to 10:pm, the Shop-Vac ran and collected a seemingly infinite amount of bees. Bees upon bees upon bees coming out to see what the incessant hum outside the hive was, only to be sucked right into the vacuum. I have to admit it was actually strangely amusing. Take that, you damn bees!

But after running for 14 hours straight, we finally turned off the Shop-Vac. 14 hours. And we didn’t even make a dent in the bee population. If anything, we only succeeded in pissing them off. We gave into defeat and vowed to call the exterminator the following morning.

Now, had I been lucky, that would have been the end of the story. But I wasn’t lucky. Why not? Because what ensued next was an argument between Dale and myself about whether or not the Shop-Vac full of bees should be brought inside. Clearly the answer is “no.” Unless you’re Dale…

Concerned that the Shop-Vac would be ruined if it were to rain, Dale insisted that the Shop-Vac be brought inside for the night. Yes, in Dale’s mind, the Shop-Vac is technologically advanced enough to vaporize living organisms, but cannot withstand moisture. And remember, Dale is very frugal, so the threat of ruining that $120 Shop-Vac was very real to him. And since we’ve already established that Dale is literally willing to wear shit for $100, you can already see there’s no way I’m winning this argument.

Obviously, anybody who understands vacuums cannot actually vaporize bees would protest. Which I did, but Dale refuted my objections with the following arguments: ­

  1. The bees are vaporized.
  2. Even if some bees were able to survive the vaporization process (which they definitely did not), it is dark inside the vacuum and no bee would be able to find the way out.

And refusing to take “no” for an answer, Dale brought the Shop-Vac – as well as 14 hours’ worth of bees – inside. However, we were able to reach a compromise: the Shop-Vac would be locked safely in the glass sunroom. This provided the vacuum with enough shelter from the elements that Dale’s mind was at ease, and allowed me to go to bed without fearing the horrible stinging death of a bee army.

The next morning when I awoke I was shocked to discover that Dale was correct. There were no bees at all. Dale was right. The vacuum really did vaporize the bees!

Wait. No. Wouldn’t that have been awesome?

What I actually awoke to was what can only be described as a cloud of bees encased in a glass room.  To give you a sense of what I awoke to, imagine a slow globe. Replace all the fake snow with real bees. Now imagine that the snow globe is giant and is actually a room in your house. Good, that’s essentially what I was dealing with. A giant bee globe. (Well technically more like a bee box due to its shape, but you get the idea.)

Let’s do some quick math. The Shop-Vac was running for approximately 14 hours. Let’s say on average, the vacuum was able to collect three bees every five minutes or so. That’s right around 500 pissed off bees buzzing around my sunroom, give or take.

Of course, I called Dale.

“What’s going on?” Dale asked cheerfully. (One of his standard greetings).

“You’ll never guess what I found this morning…” I said.

“What!?” He wondered in genuine suspense. Seriously? How could he not know where this conversation was going?

“What do you mean ‘what’? There’s a ton of fucking bees in my sunroom! I told you the vacuum doesn’t vaporize them.”

“Oh. I figured it would…” He actually sounded puzzled. Like he was really trying to figure out what went wrong during the vaporization process. I swear, his mind was pondering the possibility that this vacuums inability to vaporize bees was a symptom of a faulty product.

“Okay, well for future reference, if you’re not sure, this is generally one of those situations where you don’t want to take the gamble.” I can’t believe I found myself giving this advice. Why am I having to explain to my father why it’s a bad idea to bring a container full of bees into my house?

“Comin’ over.” He said before promptly hanging up the phone. He pulls that move that a lot: say “Comin’ over.” then immediately hang up before you can offer any resistance.

And, as promised, Dale arrived, and upon inspecting the bees offered this gem:

“Oh, that’s no problem.”

“No problem!? Do you see the bees!?” I asked.

“Eh, just suck ‘em back up.” He replied nonchalantly.

“I’m not going in there!” I yelled.

“It’s just bees.” Dale responded. “I’ll take care of ‘em.”

It was definitely not just bees. It was a thick fog of pissed-off bees. Nay, this was a plague of bees. My sunroom looked like a scene from the Old Testament.

Dale pulled open the glass door and slid into the sunroom, and the bees got eerily quiet. Like that one scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds where all the birds just creepily stare all motionless and silent. You could actually hear the “click” as Dale switched on the Shop-Vac, but it was the loud whir of the vacuum’s motor that sent the bees into a frenzy.

I watched behind a pane of glass as Dale – wearing only khakis, a white t-shirt with holes in it, and a pair of fuzzy Crocs – shimmied around the room sucking up bees. And from a tactical standpoint, it was absolutely awe-inspiring. Dale managed to channel his inner Russell Crowe from Gladiator, and positioned his back in the corner of the room preventing the bees from flanking him. He started by sucking up those bees closest to him. Once he had given himself some room to work, he started gliding around the room like Muhammad Ali with a vacuum, picking off bees. I’ve never witnessed such an artful display of dexterity as he circled around the room taking out the outer bees first, and gradually working his way to the inner-most bees.

After about twenty minutes Dale had recaptured all the bees. It was amazing. This time we sprayed bee killer inside the vacuum and duct taped the end of the hose shut for good measure. We called the exterminator who was able to rid the chimney of all remaining bees (which is what I should have done in the first place). Finally I was bee free.

As for Dale, he did not escape unscathed. Throughout the ordeal he was stung twice on the arm. Let me repeat that. Dale locked himself in a room with nearly 500 bees wearing no protective gear whatsoever, managed to capture every single bee with a vacuum cleaner, and only got stung twice. The guy is fucking epic!

Dale vs The Bees. Dale releases a swarm of bees in my house.

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