Practical Joke: Plants & Ants & Crabs, oh my.

My parents have a house in Florida where they spend half the year. The other half they live about a block from me in Maryland. This is important information because in the middle of his Maryland stay last year, my father decided to fly to Florida because his neighbor told him he had ants on his back porch.

He bought a ticket, got on a plane and flew to Florida to see ants.

I never dreamed someone could be that bored. If the neighbor casually mentioned to him that he had unicorns milling around his patio, that might be a reason to fly to back to Florida. But ants? Call an exterminator and have the friendly neighbor open the gate.

That incident was the source of much amusement for me and my husband, Mike, and it became the inspiration for what greeted my parents when they came home to Maryland for the summer.

It started innocently enough. I went to their home when they were an hour away and left them gifts; a tee I had made for my dad and a plant for mom.


Sweet, right? I’m so sweet.

Then I got out the plastic ants and the crabs.

antpackage crabpackage

plantI knew it would be just like my parents to see ants in their kitchen next to a new plant and assume I gifted them a bug-choked rhododendron. (I have a history of bone-head things like that.) So the trail starts there…

And oh look! They have a sugar bowl! Ants love sugar!

Gross, huh? Here’s a close up just in case you didn’t just throw up in your mouth a little. Like kids in a sandbox, aren’t they?


You have to have them crawling up the cabinets, but that requires tape.

Not the smoothest look, but I was hoping the shock of seeing ants all over their kitchen would hit long before they noticed the buggers were taped there.

(Thanks for the tape, mom.)

cabinetants anttape


Here’s a better view of “sugar corner” of antmaggedon below.sugarcorner

Of course there had to be a trail from the door too, just in case they gave me the benefit of the doubt (never recommended) and didn’t believe they came from the plant.


So in the end, this is the full picture that greeted them after their fifteen hour drive.


realbugTime to start phase two… but as I rounded the corner to head to their bedroom, there was a REAL bug dead on the ground that startled me.

Damn karma.

When planning this fiasco the night before, my husband Mike suggested I use crabs, since it’s Maryland, and all…

And where would you find crabs? In underwear! Of course! I made sure to put them on mom and dad’s underwear so they knew they got them from each other. Didn’t want to start any drama about Becky with the good hair. Someone put plastic crabs on Jay-Z’s underwear only, and the next thing you know Beyonce’s got a whole angry album dedicated to it.

boxercrabs underwearcrabs

And finally, a couple crabbies around the bedroom sink and shower, since crabs like water.

sinkcrab showercrabs

Ta da! My parents are so lucky to have me.


In other news, Pineapple Port #3 – Pineapple Puzzles is nearly done! Yeah! I’ll have a new cover reveal soon! It’s a good one. I’m having a blast writing it.

Amy Vansant

8 Responses

  1. Dianna Slowey-Thomas

    Loved your tale! So glad to know I’m not the only nutcase daughter! Forwarded ( dianna’s dictionary pg. 702) to my mom who was also also pleased I wasn’t crazy! Thanks for the smile to start my day ?


  2. Barry Knister

    I am your father in spirit, and in our defense, as part-time Floridians, boredom is not what shoves people out the door and into a plane, to investigate someone’s report about ants on the back porch. It’s ants as they operate in the Sunshine State. Which is what they do pretty much everywhere, all the time.
    No, it’s the psychology of violation, invasion, MOVEMENT where it should not take place. My own mental frame for this issue was shaped, say, thirty-five years before I bought a place in Florida. It happened when I flew to Miami, and needed to spend the night in a motel at the airport. It was late, around midnight when I opened the door to my room. A nice Midwestern young man opening a door in a strange state. But wait. Why is the room in motion? Why is there a sense of sluggish retreat? Why are the sources the approximate size and shape of slot cars? “Oh, those are palmetto bugs,” says the night desk manager. “I’ll be up to spray as soon as my show is over.”
    I haven’t thought of this for a while, but ants and their fellow travelers are definitely, at least in part responsible for why I no longer own a house in FL.


    • Amy Vansant

      Aah! Palmetto bugs are SO GROSS. Enormous. But any nausea caused by your invoking their name was erased by the beautiful phrase “sense of sluggish retreat!” Love it!


      • Barry Knister

        Vanity, all is vanity. Your post triggered a story of my own, which, in my haste to tell it is why I failed to say how clever I think your post is. Assuming of course your father’s arrival home didn’t lead to a call to 911. I also like your husband’s tattoo of the Holy Ghost. Very tasteful. Here’s a recent one-liner from my wife. We were on a senior-citizens visit to the Detroit branch of the Federal Reserve. Of course everyone had to pass through an electronic security process. People kept setting off an alarm, and Barbara said, “This really is a heavy metal group.” Rim shot, please.


    • Amy Vansant

      Sadly my dad entered first so it wasn’t as screamy as I hoped. By the time mom saw it she thought it was “cute” *shakes fist at sky*


  3. Katherine

    Very funny! And I’m glad to know that all this ant stuff isn’t distracting you from writing your next book. We’re all waiting…. (no pressure, though)



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