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0814 Getting Rid of Bugs and Rodents

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Complete Transcript
Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 814: Getting Rid of Bugs and Rodents.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 814. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

This podcast has a website, eslpod.com. This podcast has a Learning Guide. You can download it at eslpod.com.

This episode is a dialogue between the beautiful Sherin and an apartment manager about some problems she’s having in her apartment. Let's get started.

[start of dialogue]

Apartment Manager: This is the one-bedroom apartment we have for rent. Let me show you around.

Sherin: Wait! Did you see that? It looked like a mouse or a rat.

Apartment Manager: There aren’t any rodents or any other vermin in this apartment complex. I make sure of that.

Sherin: Are you sure?

Apartment Manager: Sure, I’m sure. Only last month, I bought some mousetraps and rat poison and got rid of them all. This complex is rodent-free.

Sherin: Oh, I see.

Apartment Manager: And the month before that, we had roaches, ticks, and fleas, but I fumigated and they’re gone.

Sherin: You called a pest control company?

Apartment Manager: I didn’t need a pest control company to get rid of a few bugs. I did it myself.

Sherin: Oh, okay.

Apartment Manager: And six months ago, we had bedbugs, but thanks to my diligence, they’re gone, too. So you want to see this apartment or don’t you?

Sherin: I think I’ll pass. This conversation is making my skin crawl.

[end of dialogue]

Our dialogue begins with the apartment manager saying to Sherin, “This is the one-bedroom apartment we have for rent.” It's an apartment with one bedroom. You can find one-bedroom apartments, two-bedroom apartments, three-bedroom apartments, and so forth. The apartment manager says, “Let me show you around.” Let me show you the apartment.

Sherin stops and says, “Wait! Did you see that? It looked like a mouse or a rat.” It looked like a “mouse” (mouse) or a “rat” (rat). A mouse is a small animal. It could be white. It could be black. It could be gray. It has fur hair on it. It has a long tail and a pointed nose. If you’ve ever seen any Disney movies, you know who Mickey Mouse is. Well, Mickey Mouse doesn’t really look exactly like a real mouse, but you get the idea. That’s a mouse. By the way, there's a famous song about Mickey Mouse that was used for a television show back in the oh, ‘60s and ‘70s and ‘80s that spelled Mickey Mouse’s name: [singing]

M-I-C…See you later!

K-E-Y…Why? Because we love you

M-O-U-S-E, Mickey Mouse, Mickey Mouse…

and so on. Aren't you glad you know that now? Sherin sees a mouse and a rat. A rat is a little bigger than a mouse – a little longer tail on it.

The apartment manager says, “There aren’t any rodents or any other vermin in this apartment complex.” He says, “Oh, no, no. There aren't any rodents here!” A “rodent” (rodent) is a general category that would include mice (which is the plural of mouse) and rats. “Vermin” (vermin) is a general term describing any small animal or insect that people don’t like usually because they cause damage or they might be carrying some disease, so vermin is a general term for any little animal or insect you don’t like. You don’t hear that word a lot anymore. The “apartment complex” is the building or buildings where you find apartments. So the apartment manager says, “Oh no, we don’t have any rodents here.”

Sherin says, “Are you sure?” The apartment manager says, “Sure, I’m sure.” Yes, I am sure. “Only last month,” he says, “I bought some mousetraps and rat poison and got rid of them all.” So last month, he bought a mousetrap. A “mousetrap” (mousetrap), one word, is a little device, a little machine we use to catch a mouse and hold it so that we can kill it or get rid of it. Any sort of trap for an animal is intended to capture them, to get them, and hold them so you can get rid of them. “Rat poison” is a chemical substance that will kill rats. It’ll probably also kill humans, too! To “get rid of something” means to no longer have it, to eliminate it, to throw it away: “I'm going to get rid of all of my old Mickey Mouse comic books.” Actually, I don’t have any Mickey Mouse comic books, but it's just an example. I do have a Mickey Mouse song. Would you like to hear that? No? Okay.

So the apartment manager says, “This complex is rodent-free.” When we say something as rodent-free or drug-free or comedy-free, we mean it doesn’t have those things. “Rodent-free” means there's no animal here – there are no animals, no rodents. “Drug-free” means there are no drugs. “Comedy-free” would be – it's not very funny, kind of like this episode. Sherin says, “Oh, I see.” I understand.

The apartment manager then says, “And the month before that, we had roaches, ticks, and fleas, but I fumigated and they're gone.” So the apartment manager is saying no, we don’t have any of these problems here because I killed them all. I used to have these problems. Now, two months ago, he says, they had roaches, ticks, and fleas. A “roach” (roach) is also called a “cockroach” (cockroach), one word. A cockroach is a large insect that you will often find in warm, humid places. “Humid” means there's water in the air. They often are found in places that are dirty and have a lot of little pieces of food. That’s a cockroach or a roach.

A “tick” (tick), when we're talking about an insect, is a very small insect that typically bites your skin and kind of goes into your skin and starts to suck your blood out, kind of like a vampire but not exactly. A tick can be found in many different environments. We used to have ticks when I was back in Minnesota where there are a lot of trees, a lot of “wooded areas,” we would say, forests – you will find ticks that will fall onto your skin and then bite your skin and begin to suck your blood out - kind of like my old girlfriend.

So the apartment manager says, “We don’t have any roaches, ticks or fleas.” A “flea” (flea) is a small insect that can't fly, but it does live on the skin of animals and of people. Dogs often have fleas. The apartment manager says that he doesn’t have any of those things because he fumigated. To “fumigate” (fumigate) means to fill a room or an area with a dangerous gas that kills insects and kills little animals. Usually when you do this, you have to take the people out, too, and then fumigate.

Sherin says, “You called a pest control company?” A “pest” (pest) is another word for kind of like vermin, things that are small animals that bother you. “Pest control” would be a business that goes into a house or a building and kills the insects, kills the animals, the vermin we might say, that are there.

The apartment manager says, “I didn’t need a pest control company to get rid of a few bugs, a few insects. I did it myself.” Sherin says, “Oh, okay.” The apartment manager then says, “And six months ago, we had bedbugs.” “Bedbugs” (bedbugs), one word, are little insects that live on people’s bodies and are often found in mattresses, what you sleep on. They can be found in carpets and in clothing and, like a tick, they also suck the blood out of your body. So the manager says that they had bedbugs, but thanks to his diligence, they're gone, too. “Diligence” (diligence) is careful, thorough, persistent work. Being very careful with something, going back and checking it everyday – that would be diligence. The apartment manager says he was very diligent and now they don’t have any bedbugs. Then he asked Sherin, “So, you want to see this apartment or don’t you?”

He’s asking her if she still wants to see the apartment and she says perhaps wisely, intelligently, “I think I'll pass.” To “pass.” as a verb. means to choose not to do something or to have something. Someone says, “Oh, would you like a piece of apple pie or a piece of chocolate cake?” and you're on a diet, you're trying to lose weight. You say, “No, thank you, I'll pass.” I'll not have it. Sherin says, “This conversation is making my skin crawl.” To make your skin “crawl” (crawl) means to be nervous, to be frightened, to be anxious, perhaps even to be a little sick or disgusted by something, something that is very unpleasant and obviously talking about all these different bugs and rodents makes Sherin’s skin crawl.

Now let’s listen to the dialogue, this time at a normal speed.

[start of dialogue]

Apartment Manager: This is the one-bedroom apartment we have for rent. Let me show you around.

Sherin: Wait! Did you see that? It looked like a mouse or a rat.

Apartment Manager: There aren’t any rodents or any other vermin in this apartment complex. I make sure of that.

Sherin: Are you sure?

Apartment Manager: Sure, I’m sure. Only last month, I bought some mousetraps and rat poison and got rid of them all. This complex is rodent-free.

Sherin: Oh, I see.

Apartment Manager: And the month before that, we had roaches, ticks, and fleas, but I fumigated and they’re gone.

Sherin: You called a pest control company?

Apartment Manager: I didn’t need a pest control company to get rid of a few bugs. I did it myself.

Sherin: Oh, okay.

Apartment Manager: And six months ago, we had bedbugs, but thanks to my diligence, they’re gone, too. So you want to see this apartment or don’t you?

Sherin: I think I’ll pass. This conversation is making my skin crawl.

[end of dialogue]

She’s the most careful, diligent scriptwriter in Los Angeles, and her name is Dr. Lucy Tse. Thank you, Lucy, for writing our scripts.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to me again right here on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast is written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan, copyright 2012 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
mouse – a small brown, grey, white, or black animal with fur (hair), a long tail, and a pointed nose

* The cat likes to hunt mice.

rat – a small white or grey animal that is larger than a mouse, with a longer tail

* If the city doesn’t start picking up the garbage more often, we’re going to have a major problem with rats.

rodent – the general category of small animals with fur (hair), long teeth, and a tail, that includes mice, rats, squirrels, and others

* Normally, I don’t like rodents, but I think squirrels are cute.

vermin – a small animal or insect that people do not like because they carry disease or cause damage

* It’s amazing how much damage vermin can cause once they get underneath a house!

apartment complex – a large building with many apartments for people to live in

* This apartment complex has washers and dryers in the basement for all the tenants to use.

mousetrap – a device used to catch and hold a mouse so that it can be killed or removed

* Does this mousetrap work better with cheese or peanut butter?

rat poison – a chemical substance that, when eaten by rats, kills them

* Rat poison is very dangerous, so be sure to keep small children away from it.

to get rid of – to no longer have something; to eliminate or dispose of something; to throw something away

* How are we going to get rid of all the bees in the backyard?

-free – without something

* These fruits and vegetables grow chemical-free.

roach – cockroach; a large insect with a hard body that lives in warm, humid places that are dirty and have a lot of food crumbs (small pieces of food)

* Johannes’ apartment in Washington, DC was dirty and full of roaches.

tick – a very small insect that bites to enter the body of a person or animal and lives under the skin, sucking blood and often spreading disease

* After hiking, we always check our arms, legs, and neck for ticks.

flea – a small insect that cannot fly, but lives on the skin of animals or people, sucking blood and causing the skin to itch

* The dog brought fleas inside the house.

to fumigate – to fill a room or area with a dangerous or deadly gas, usually to kill insects or animals

* The landlord is fumigating our apartment, so we need to stay at a friend’s house until Monday.

pest control – the practice and business of killing unwanted animals and insects in homes and other buildings

* Adam had to call a pest control company, because there were a lot of ants in his kitchen.

bedbug – a small insect that lives on people’s bodies and in carpets, clothing, and mattresses, sucking the blood of people and animals and causing the skin to itch

* Once a mattress has bedbugs, it’s almost impossible to get rid of them.

diligence – careful, thorough, and persistent work; full commitment to doing something

* If this merger is a success, it will be due to the diligence of our finance and accounting team.

to pass – to forego; to choose not to have or do something; to decide not to participate or be involved in something

* It seems like a great investment opportunity, but I don’t have enough cash so I’m going to pass for now.

to make (one’s) skin crawl – to feel nervous, disgusted, frightened, or anxious when thinking about something that is scary or unpleasant

* The thought of speaking in public makes James’ skin crawl.

Comprehension Questions
1. How did the manager get rid of the insects?
a) He brought in birds to eat them.
b) He asked some professionals to kill them.
c) He filled the apartment with deadly gases.

2. What does Sherin mean when she says, “This conversation is making my skin crawl”?
a) She has a rash.
b) She feels nervous.
c) She has a sunburn.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
mouse

The word “mouse,” in this podcast, means a small brown, grey, white, or black animal with fur (hair), a long tail, and a pointed nose: “Samar is scared of mice, but her son keeps them as pets.” The word “mouse” is also the small plastic object with two or more buttons, moved with one’s hands to control the movement of a cursor (arrow or flashing line) on a computer screen: “Use your mouse to right-click on the ‘download’ button.” The phrase “as quiet as a mouse” means very quiet or silent, without saying anything: “When the presenter asked for volunteers, the audience members became as quiet as a mouse.” Finally, the phrase “to play a game of cat and mouse” means to pretend to let someone have what they want, but then take it away: “They’re negotiating as if they were playing a game of cat and mouse.”

-free

In this podcast, the suffix “-free” means without something: “Is this beef hormone-free?” Or, “Phosphate-free dishwashing detergents are best for the environment, but they don’t clean dishes very well.” Or, “I’d like a latte with fat-free milk, please.” “Duty-free goods” are items that are purchased in another country without paying taxes on them: “A lot of people like to buy duty-free cigarettes and liquor when they fly internationally.” The phrase “footloose and fancy-free” means carefree and without responsibilities or obligations: “Enjoy being footloose and fancy-free now, because once you get married and have children, everything will change.” Finally, the phrase “free-for-all” describes a situation where everything and anything can happen: “Two students got into a fight, and soon it became a free-for-all as other students joined in.”

Culture Note
Pest Control in Home Selling

An “inspection” is an important part of buying the home, because it lets buyers know about any “potential” (possible) problems with the home, such as a weak “foundation” (the bottom of the house, which touches the ground and holds up the building) or the presence of pests.

In some states, especially those with a warm and/or “humid” (with a lot of moisture or water vapor in the air) climates, the practice of “tenting” is a common way to “ensure” (make sure) that a home is pest-free. During tenting, the home is covered with a large plastic or rubber “tent” (a shelter made of cloth or a similar type of material that completely covers something). The tent is “sealed” (with all small holes covered so that nothing can escape) so that air does not pass through the plastic or rubber. Then the home is fumigated to kill all the vermin and insects that might be living in the home, under the building, or between the walls. The tent “concentrates” (makes something denser) the gas and “prevents” (does not allow) it from “escaping” (getting out) into the surrounding area.

The chemicals used during tenting can be very dangerous, so many states require “permits” (official permission) before the tenting can begin. The companies that provide tenting services must be “certified” (with a document showing one has the knowledge and experience to do something) to “handle” (work with) and “dispose of” (get rid of) the chemicals.

After tenting, people are not allowed to enter the home for a period of one or more days so that the house can “air out” (ventilate; change the air inside a building) and any remaining “poisonous” (dangerous or deadly) gas can “dissipate” (become less by going elsewhere).

Comprehension Answers
1 - c

2 - b