The ants went marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah,
The ants went marching two by two, hurrah, hurrah,
The ants went marching three by three,
The little one stopped to grab some organic, nontoxic, ridiculously expensive ant killer I put down, on the ground, and laughed, in my face.
This is how the war started.
It was a relatively cool morning in the middle of June. My wife and I were doing weekend stuff like tending to the garden and pulling weeds.
The grandkids and our little dog were quietly playing and we were at peace. Little did we know an invasion was under way and we were defenseless to stop the onslaught.
The shriek that came from Scarlett's mouth stabbed my soul. She's 5, and she just experienced her first ant bite. Her little brother had been bitten already and the dog was literally attacked as she snoozed on the porch. All three are now terrified of ants.
Everybody went inside as I stood and stared at the acre of land, which is 90 percent desert with the weeds cut down for fire protection.
We improved our living environment with just two small flower gardens, a vegetable garden and a tiny lawn that takes me about five minutes to cut with a reel mower.
I slowly turned 360 degrees in the middle of the property and all I saw were ants. I don't know what kind, but we called them army ants when I was a kid in Texas.
I walked the entire yard, back and forth, side to side. I found nine active anthills and each time I spotted one, the shower scene music from "Psycho" blared in my ears.
Want some advice on killing ants that tunnel into your yard? Don't try anything natural. Don't try anything that's safe to use around children and pets. Don't try to be humane.
We were overrun and I had to rely on my extensive military background, which consists of being an Army brat and watching a whole lot of war movies.
To borrow a page from the playbook of Gulf War commander Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, it was time for shock and awe. But it was our bank account that experienced shock and awe. We tried every product, spray and granules, that "guaranteed" it would eviscerate the invading hordes.
Spray didn't work. Some granules seemed to work, but not for long. And so, after being laid siege to for 23 days, I did what I always do, but rarely should. I took it personally. I took it like it was a deliberate assault on my way of life. My freedom.
It was like the ants were children sent from Central America to give me diseases and eat food on my tax dime. Please recognize the sarcasm contained in the previous sentence.
I was obsessed like Capt. Ahab in his search for Moby Dick and my tactical blunders let me know how another famous general, George Armstrong Custer, must have felt about halfway through the battle at Little Big Horn.
I told the ants to bite me, and they obliged - 32 times.
But I am nothing if not tenacious. At the risk of incurring the wrath of local law enforcement, firefighters, the federal EPA and Chuck Norris, fire and flood did nothing to convince the ants they were even in a fight.
I lost my mind a week ago. It was in the morning at about 6:45 when I discovered another anthill, No. 12.
I ran into the house and grabbed the flyswatter. I wielded it like a mighty ax. In my mind they were the Taliban and I was going to slaughter every last one of them for what they helped do on 9/11.
Later that day, I went to a local hardware store in yet another desperate search for a "guaranteed" ant killer.
Dejected as I realized I already tried every product on the shelves, I looked heavenward for guidance, and there I saw my salvation.
The Amdro was on the top shelf, all alone, in the back, like someone hid it there. Use with extreme caution and as directed, because if Amdro can kill ants, it can kill anything.
Trust me on this.