A story of love, lust, and pest control set against the changing seasons of San Francisco. When Dawn leaves her boyfriend of five years, she loses their home, their rose garden, and their life of couplehood. With her nine-year-old daughter, Jewel, in tow, Dawn struggles to forge a new life in the shadow of the old one. While her days are spent exterminating bugs and her evenings spent painting them, Dawn seeks to balance work, art, single motherhood, and love. The difficulty of starting over is leavened by Jewel, a charmingly morbid daredevil who dreams of having a pet rat and plants a scent garden in case they happen to go blind. The home Dawn and Jewel rent has a small apartment downstairs, and Dawn sets out to find a tenant. They soon hear from Harlan, a frustrated documentary film-maker whose world is quietly crashing down on him too. After years of domestic bliss, he and his wife, Macie, have become consumed by their quest to have a baby. He does not realise how far this mission has driven them apart until he meets Sophia, a birdcage dancer who lives in an ancient fire-house full of mirrors and candles, and whose post-modern views on life and love seduce Harlan into re-evaluating his own.