the orkin man called me at 9:00 this morning. i asked for a morning appointment but unfortunately he was all booked up for the day. "tell you what. sometimes people cancel, if my schedule changes i'll call you back." that was probably the worst thing he could've said because the rest of the morning i was anxious, sitting next to my phone so i wouldn't miss his call. the morning passed with no word from him.

after my roommate left for work around 10:00, i cooked up some frozen biryani for breakfast before making my way to belmont, where the terminix agent would be arriving in the afternoon between 1-3. at 1:00 the agent called me, said he was in medford and would arrive soon. i called my father so he could take a break from work and come home. my sister was in charge of taking hailey out for a walk so she wouldn't bark at the stranger in the house. while waiting for the agent to show up, i got a chance to climb a ladder and see that the top of the bedroom window head jamb was already half eaten away.

"arrive soon" apparently meant almost an hour and a half later. we took the agent to the bedroom to show him the window where the termites had swarmed. he brought a flash light but mysteriously didn't have any other tools and even at one point asked to borrow a screwdriver so he could poke at the wood. next we took him to the basement, before showing him the garage, the location of the second swarm.

terminix solution to termite control is to drill 4ft holes into the ground every 12 inches all the way around the house (a process known as "trenching" in terminix lingo) and then pump in termidor, a lethal termite insecticide. in 3 days approximately 95% of all termites will be dead and the residual chemical will form a barrier from future termite attacks. termidor pumping is fast but it's the most expensive treatment. the other method is to use poisonous termite baits. this takes longer (our agent said months) but it's cheaper (our agent also reminded us it's not as effective since termites are blind and can miss the bait). terminix prefers using termidor and will only use baits for environmentally sensitive areas like ground water or in cases when drilling isn't an option (like an expensive tiled walkway).

after our agent took measurements of the house perimeter using a digital measuring wheel, he came back inside the house to talk prices. about $1300 for the treatment, and then an additional $225 annual charge beginning next year for maintenance. just from the fact that he did a rather cursory examination i knew he was more a salesperson than an actual exterminator. he was also doing a hard sell, saying stuff like, "you have to take care of this right away," and wanted us to sign a contract today. my father said he'd have to talk with my mother first. to make the deal sweeter, the agent knocked down the price to $1100, which made me even more suspicion as to how much it actual costs. i felt like we were haggling with a used cars salesman which completely turned me off. i was already strategizing about other exterminators i'd call.

my father returned to work. after i planted some more sugar snap peas in the garden, i biked back home.

i picked up some groceries from star market, including a case of root beer for the movie marathon tomorrow. coming back, i ran into my neighbor's adult-age son playing street soccer with a group of other slacker friends. the ball accidentally headed by way and i managed to weakly deflect it.

the orkin man called me again in the late afternoon. i'd already told him this morning that we were seeing a terminix agent, so the orkin man was on the defensive. like what the terminix agent said, orkin uses bait (spectracide) instead of pumping termidor underground. i did learn it only takes 40 days for the poison to kill the termites, not months like what the terminix agent told me. i scheduled a meeting for tuesday morning (since monday is supposed to be rainy).

with my orkin appointment secured, i called another exterminator, ultra safe pest management, based out of canton. they were a targeted google ad search recommendation; normally i'd ignore them but this place received a 2011 super service award from angie's list so they seemed legit. unfortunately i called too late and they seemed to be done for the day so i ended up just leaving a voicemail message.

i finished the rest of my red wine risotto while watching fringe.