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cricket test

It's seasonal advice time. Now that summer is almost over, those of you with cottages should make sure you take advantage of the limited amount of time left to sneer at all of us without cottages. We'll have fall and winter and spring to be thankful that we aren't responsible for another hunk of property taxes and leaks, but we'll be envious of docks and rafts and boats for the next month or so.

On a smaller scale and more practical note, here's what you do when a late summer cricket invades your residence. At least, this is what I did.

1) Identify. Yes, it is a cricket. And yes there is only one of them. Sometimes the noise seems too loud to be made by a little bug rubbing its legs together. I mean, when I rub my back legs together all I get is a rash. But it's a cricket, and you have to deal with it or it will drive your son crazy, and you'll have all that worry and those ridiculous medical costs.

2) Isolate. What room is the cricket in? It may seem like it's right beside you, but it is probably a hallway away. You'll know when you're getting close by the plaster dust. Can not for the life of me imagine how anyone in Victorian England would have wanted one on the hearth. Good luck? What's good about not sleeping for days?

3) Investigate. Exactly where is the noisy little sucker? It'll probably rub harder and get noisier at night. Do not use a light to spot it. It's unsportsmanlike, and also ineffective. The cricket will shut up when the light is on it. Oh, and focus your search attention below the waist. Crickets climb well, and adhere like limpets, but they are more likely to be low than high.

4) Indemnify. This is for after you have spotted the cricket and attacked it vigorously with a piece of two by four -- which you accidentally put through the common wall, bringing a section of your neighbor's kitchen or bedroom redecoration down around him. A smile and a cheque book will work well here.

The mnemonic is easy: IIII. Don't try to save time by skipping steps, or doing them out of sequence. You will confuse yourself, your cricket and your neighbor. Follow the steps, each and every one, in order. Maybe you'll get lucky, as I did, isolating the cricket in a closet, so that the hole in the common wall won't be too noticeable. Here's hoping.

Oh, and one last reminder. No matter how small your place (our closet is about three feet square), and how active you (and your son -- Sam and I were in there together, whacking away)are, you won't catch the cricket. Darn things are fast, flighted, and opinionated. They'll wait until you have gone back to bed, then start up again, driving your son to to wake you up, and force you to conduct another search. And so the cycle repeats. All you can do is go, Grrrr.

I think about October, and get this smile on my face. The cricket will be gone. (So will my son, for that matter.) And my friends' summer cottages will boarded up and mothballed. Yup, October is going to be my month.


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