Monday, October 22, 2012
BEHIND THE SCENES of our BILLY THE EXTERMINATOR SHOOT
I don't know if it's possible to explain the number of insects that come with an abandoned house. Try to imagine what it's like to move into a home that hasn't been lived in for years, and you'll probably imagine spiders, scorpions, mosquitos, and the occasional bee. In my mind, I thought we'd be battling tiny creatures for a few months and then everything would be okay. And for a little while, I was right.
Summer hit with an intensity that took us by complete surprise. We imagined the high temperatures outside and inside of the house, and we welcomed the challenges of taming a little home in the middle of the wild woods. But good Lawdy, we couldn't have possibly imagined the number of red wasps that called THE HOUSE AT SUGAR CREEK home. By early May, the wasps had completely taken over the front porch. By June, we were going through a can of wasp spray a day. And by July, we couldn't so much as swing a hammer without irritating our unwelcomed houseguests and finding ourselves under the constant airstrike of miniature Kamikaze pilots. I used one four-letter word at least a zillion times this summer: OUCH. And when the wasps seemed to double, then triple and quadruple in numbers, I knew that it was time to call for professional help.
I guess this sets us up nicely to tell the story of one crazy day in July. The birds were singing, the sky was a crisp blue, and there were approximately eight hundred and one redheads in my house. (Me and eight hundred red wasps!) I had spoken with VEXCON and knew that BILLY THE EXTERMINATOR was on his way to THE HOUSE AT SUGAR CREEK, but I knew that my red wasps were going to give Billy a run for his money. Billy's a trained professional and all that jazz, but our red wasp infestation was no joke. We were being stung at least once a day, and I had the strange feeling that Billy wasn't going to be impressed with our wasp collection. In all honesty, I didn't know if he could actually kill them all. There were so many red wasps that I didn't think ANYBODY could accomplish such a feat.
The camera crew arrived first, and they were all grins right up until the moment that they stepped out of their cars. It only took a few minutes for the wasps to make their presence known--they pegged a few members of the crew and the hollering began. Our neighbor (JACK JACK) rushed to the aid of the surprised crew with kerosene and cotton balls, and that seemed to help. But within a few minutes, everyone on the set looked like this:
I have to admit that I giggled when I saw Billy walking up to our little dog-trot home. I was impressed with our local reality show superhero, of course, but I couldn't help myself--my twisted sense of humor took over when I saw his eyes grow wide as he started counting the number of wasp nests on the front porch.
You know it's bad when a trained professional is surprised by an infestation, and within a few minutes Billy said that we had the worst red wasp problem that he had ever seen.
I don't know how long Billy typically stays on a set when he's filming for BILLY THE EXTERMINATOR, but I can tell you that he and the crew were here all day and late into the evening. They arrived around 10:30 in the morning and didn't leave until the sun went down, and they were an absolute riot. We were literally sad when they left, because we loved the entire crew! And though I honestly didn't think it was possible before Billy arrived, by the time the crew packed up and left the wasps were dead! Billy did every bit of the work himself, too. The crew simply documented every step he took. In short, Billy is the real deal. We adored him. He's incredibly smart and quick-witted, and he packs a mean punch when it comes to wasp infestations. Shaun and I are definitely fans for life!
There were so many things that didn't go into the show. I can't imagine how much work it was to take the hours and hours and hours of video and compress it into an eight minute summary, but the crew did an amazing job. Our episode (# 75) is titled WASP WARFARE, and the title is no joke. We love the way it turned out, and we're so happy that we have such wonderful documentation of the unrestored sections of the home.
Here's Billy with the great-great-grandchildren of Mintie Robinson, the last Robinson to live in our dog-trot full time. Buzz and Kate were thrilled to meet Billy, and our kiddos are extremely jealous that they weren't here. (Miles and Preston were visiting their grandparents in Indiana when the wasp infestation got out of hand, thankfully!)
There were a few things that you didn't get to see, of course, so I'll share them with you now. For one, Billy is incredibly smart. He knew things about historic architecture that I never expected him to know. You've got to remember, y'all--I'm a history junkie. I love it. I live it, breath it, and write it down. Billy is the same way, too. He knew a lot about local historic sites and even told me a few things about THE HOUSE AT SUGAR CREEK that he couldn't have known in advance. He clued right in to the original builders and showed me the tell-tell signs of Masonic roots. The Taylors were Masons, but Billy didn't have any way of knowing such a thing. Like Billy, I was saying WHOOOOAAAA when we were talking about history.
So from the bottom of our hearts, we'd like to send out an enormous THANK YOU to the cast and crew of BILLY THE EXTERMINATOR. You guys rocked it out at Sugar Creek!