Bugs, Boxes and beds on another island

Jana was last seen being attacked by a stack of boxes in Honolulu.
Jana was last seen being attacked by a stack of boxes in Honolulu.

Surprisingly, because of my move from Key Largo to Honolulu, I’ve discovered a monumental mystery that has plagued people for millions of years. I’ve figured out who Santa’s elves are and where they moonlight after they are finished with their normal Christmas holiday jobs. Don’t worry… I’m divulging their identities at the end of the article.

Cliffhanger? Yep, it’s my new style.

In the meantime, let’s tackle the bug portion of my article’s title. Hawaii bugs have reminded me – once again – that bugs essentially rule the world. In addition to exposing the big elf (isn’t that an oxymoron?) mystery, I’ve also uncovered a fresh new set of bugs here in Hawaii. I thought we were fairly “bug savvy” after living in the Keys for more than 25 years. I was wrong. Ants are my new nemeses. Not to sound like Dr. Seuss, but I’ve found tiny ants, big ants and even flying ants. Everywhere.

I decided to go rogue and do the Seuss thing after all:

“I do not like ants in a box. I do not like ants on my socks. I do not like ants on my blouse and I definitely do not like ants in my house. I do not like ants here and there… I DO NOT LIKE ANTS ANYWHERE!”

Did I mention they fly?

And Hawaiian bugs are smart. They join together in force to, well, to bug you. It only takes one ant to find a scrap of food and within minutes, the word is out. They are the Gladys Kravitz’s of the bug world. (For the younger crowd who never saw the show, “Bewitched”… bugs share information faster than a teen with a cell phone.)

To be honest, I do admire the fact that they are not selfish bugs. They work together to make their dreams (scraps of food) come true. This personality trait of theirs has reinforced the age-old saying, “there’s strength in numbers.”

This massive number of bugs in one place is far more powerful than the actual size of the individual bugs. For example, the occasional sighting of a giant palmetto bug in the Keys is gross and disturbing, but it is nothing compared to walking into my kitchen to find, what I assumed was, a crumpled paper towel my husband dropped on the countertop after eating a greasy pizza. Completely covered with ants, it somehow morphed into a black blob, moving quietly across the countertop like a stealth fighter. After screeching expletives at my husband, I picked it up to throw it away but those strategic ants divided and conquered, scurrying up my arm to distract or to attack or whatever their agenda was. All I know is that it worked. I dropped the stealth bomb and ran screaming for something more powerful.

No, not my husband. A can of Raid. Sadly, I’ve been reduced to chemical warfare – reminiscent of a female version of Trump. (Honestly, if I keep finding opened bags of chips on my countertop, I might be catching up to Trump’s number of marriages as well and forced to move on to a cleaner husband number three.)

Which brings me to beds. (Nice segue… right?) I made a conscious decision to leave my 10-year old bed in Key Largo and splurge on a new bed in Honolulu as a sort of gift to myself. This, again, was a major marriage dispute. My husband reminded me how much we paid for this bed and I reminded him how he can sleep on a rock (see my old article titled, “Sleeping Like A Baby Sometimes Requires A Rock” in one of my recent Facebook posts.) My hubby is getting smarter and realizes he needs me to be well-rested, so I won this battle. Without the can of Raid.

We’ve covered all of the items in the title but the boxes, which is where the mystery of Santa’s elves comes into play. We were fortunate enough to have “professional movers” help pack up our house and they brought in a level of expertise that was seriously magical. One minute I had a fully stocked kitchen, and “Poof”! Suddenly the entire kitchen was so empty, it echoed when my stomach gurgled from hunger (or anxiety over the move… that’s still undetermined.) At any rate, nothing was left but a stack of eight packed boxes in the corner. Every room was the same yet I never really saw them do anything. I just heard a lot of packing tape being pulled and ripped. Over and over and over.

It was like a fairytale and the only explanation I can think of is Santa’s elves moonlighting as movers after the holiday. Yes… they’ve finally been exposed.

Nobody but his elves could have wrapped and packed everything that quickly. At the time, I was so overwhelmed, I didn’t really look closely at the movers so I missed telling signs like pointed ears or plastic cups filled with egg nog. All I remember is walking around in a vague, dreamlike, denial sort of way. In hindsight, I’m sure it was all part of the elves’ magic. Or it was because of the tequila in my plastic cup… hard to say.

Now that we’ve arrived in our new place, where local Hawaiian elves, er, I mean “movers,” unloaded all of the boxes and set up the furniture here in less than three hours, I’ve had some time to think about it. Specifically after opening the first box to find hundreds of bundles wrapped and taped so securely, I figured they must be gold bars from Fort Knox.

Nope. After a good five minutes of peeling away paper and tape on the first bundle, I found one plastic spatula. Every spoon, knife and fork. The same thing. When did those guys have the time to wrap each piece so infuriatingly precise? It’s like Christmas on steroids (again, read my article on Facebook… same analogy, but with sheep. I must have a thing about steroids.) I think I figured out that the movers were actually overzealous, out-of-work Santa’s elves after digging through the one box for more than an hour.

No worries. Only 244 more boxes to go. Ho Ho Ho. It’s either time for some “juice” or more Dr. Seuss. Or both.

"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas. . . perhaps. . . means a little bit more!"

i.e. Keeping elves too busy to moonlight.

Jana Vandelaar has worked as a freelance writer in the Keys with a loving family, fun friends and smelly pups for more than 20 years. Check out her website at for more books available online or ‘Like’ her Facebook page at JanabananaINK for daily smiles about life as she sees and lives it. If you enjoy her articles, Jana has a book titled, “ONLY IN THE KEYS, Snort-Laughing Stories About Life In The Florida Keys.” This is a fun book full of Jana’s most popular articles written for The Reporter since 2008. It’s available at Randy’s Florida Keys Gifts, MM 102.4 or at Hooked On Books, MM 81.9.