We were both moving more slowly than would be optimal (it had been a busy weekend) and I had to get the garbage and recycling bins out before I could get even a sip of my much-needed morning coffee.
But, finally, I could sit down at the computer and begin an abbreviated version of my morning routine (checking the email, reading the comics). As the first cup of coffee began to take hold, and the will to live began to return, I remembered that my wife had found cheese coffeecake when were at the grocery on Saturday.
I am very partial to cheese coffeecake.
And now that Long Suffering Spouse and I are empty nesters, I can enjoy a little coffeecake all week long.
At least, I've done so recently.
Last week, admittedly, I didn't make it to Thursday.
But I'm sure you understand how these things work.
Anyway, I'd had a little piece on Sunday and, as Long Suffering Spouse had not yet begun actively packing up, it occurred to me that I might have time for a little piece now.
In a normal house, perhaps, the cake would have been on the kitchen counter. But ours, alas, is not a normal house.
It's been a wet spring and, for the most part, a cool one -- though we did have an unusual run of 90-degree days just around Memorial Day.
As near as I can tell, cool temperatures allow for the proliferation of little tiny ants who like to infest the counters of our kitchen. (Our kitchen sits atop a very old, gravel-lined, very shallow crawl space; we think that's probably where most of our invaders originate.)
In our house, ants also seem to proliferate when the weather is warm, wet, or dry. If it's below freezing, they mostly keep to themselves. But that's about it.
When this year's invasion began, Long Suffering Spouse went to the hardware store and bought a whole bunch of plastic ant traps. Now, I understand how these are supposed to work -- but, as near as I can tell, these traps merely discourage any lazy ants who get tired of detouring around these obstacles.
But, fine. If Long Suffering Spouse thinks the ant traps help, I think they help, too. And I don't put any food on the kitchen counter.
Still, stuff has to go somewhere.
We have a kitchen table in the room adjoining the kitchen. (If our kitchen were bigger, the table would be installed in our kitchen. So calling it a kitchen table seems appropriate to me.)
That's where my coffeecake was this morning.
I brought it into the kitchen, intending to set it temporarily on the counter while I fished out a knife to cut me a slice. I opened the box... pulled out the cake... and began brushing away ants.
It was the German chocolate cake fiasco all over again. Only I wasn't meeting a prospective daughter-in-law this morning. (Hey, she married Middle Son despite my issues with the carpet of ants on my Easter dessert -- so there.)
I made a disgusted noise -- which immediately got my wife's attention -- and I began knocking ants off my cake and dispatching them mercilessly. But there were too many. "Throw it out!" said my wife, as she ran into the kitchen, and, reluctantly, I complied, tossing my precious coffeecake into the new bag I'd just set up in the kitchen.
"Where was it?" Long Suffering Spouse demanded, and I told her, and she raced into the adjacent room to see the locus in quo for herself. "Get me the bleach!" she screamed a millisecond later.
Coming round the corner myself, I could see there were ants all over the table, and on the side of the tablecloth. I hadn't noticed these when I grabbed my cake. Perhaps my coffee hadn't taken hold as well as I thought.
"Take that bag out!" Long Suffering Spouse commanded, not bothering to look up -- and I quickly complied. My wife was in the grips of a killing frenzy at this point, and I did not want to be mistaken for an overlarge ant.
I'd barely gotten back in the house, though, when my wife issued another command: "Get the vacuum cleaner! The rug is moving!"
Apparently, ants are just about as fond of cheese coffeecake as I am; about a gazillion or so had come up looking for their own piece.
I wonder how I got away with having cheese coffeecake the last couple of weeks.
When she'd calmed down a little, after the vacuum was put away, and we were finally on the road to school (she drops me off en route, so I can catch the train), Long Suffering Spouse acknowledged that it was probably a good thing that I'd seen the ants now.
"Can you imagine what it would have been if we didn't see it until this evening?" she asked.
Well, tell the truth, I hadn't imagined it before she asked. But, thinking on it, now I think I have a bit of insight into how a lot of 1950s horror movies got their plots....