Ha! Thought this would be a post about sex, ey? Well, it's not.
It's a post about fleas.
Our damn cats got one from the windowsill again or someone came into our home with a straggler and the damn thing leaped off his leg and multiplied like crazy.
For the past two weeks life has been a hellish marathon of vacuuming, laundry and extreme paranoia: “What’s that? Oh, God, it is one? IS IT????”
I am a woman consumed. I have nightmares about fleas. I Google flea-related issues obsessively. It’s all I talk and think about. I’ve retained so much information I could teach a godamn panel about fleas.
And when I say life has been a hellish marathon, I mean life has been a hellish marathon:
• I’ve sprinkled our rugs and furniture with baking soda and salt (which dehydrates the fleas), then Fleabusters. Chuck and I have vacuumed every surface twice a day. We’ve put baking soda, salt, Fleabusters and flea collars in our vacuum bags then thrown them away.
• Our cats have been treated multiple times and banished to the outdoor porch.
• Chuck bombed the basement twice. Then he sprayed. Then I Fleabustered the rugs and vacuumed.
• I’ve washed all our linens, cushions, clothes, stuffed animals and towels in hot water. Then I washed them again.
• I’ve bathed Junior in lemon-scented Dawn (Dawn is known to kill fleas on contact), then sprayed his ankles with bug spray. I’ve put white socks on the two kids so we can see if any fleas jump onto their feet.
• I’ve put shallow pans of water and dish soap on top of sheets of white paper and under desk lamps (fleas are naturally attracted to the light and the color white and will jump into the bowl of soapy water).
Still...they have lingered.
Adding to the craptasticness of the situation is the steady stream of company we’ve had. My mother visited from Assachusetts. She slept on the couch before we realized it was a flea motel. She went back to Assachusetts—with my grandmother. Then my mother found two fleas in her bathroom. My grandmother has a bee-hive hairdo that’s shellacked to her head. Do you know how many fleas can hang out in a beehive hairdo if one penetrated the wall of hairspray?
She may very well have brought enough fleas home to infest the entire senior center.
Chuck’s mother and step-father came for dinner. They swore their scratching was psychosomatic, but pizza just wasn’t the same.
My friend Sandy came down for the weekend. Here she is spraying Off onto the bottoms of her shoes.
She kept her clothes in the car. She showered with Dawn. She held Diddlydoo and played cars with Junior while I vacuumed. We sacrificed Chuck to the couch so she could sleep flea free in our bed.
We spent a good portion of our visit—which was supposed to be luxurious girl time—staring at each other’s ankles and crying, “Was that just one? Was it? Oh, God, no!”
My mother returned for Tour de Flea part deux. I read her diary (I am not overbearing!). She called me at work all day:
“I think I saw one. Nope. Just a mole on Junior’s leg. No, wait. There’s one. Oh, nope. Just lint. Oh wait! There’s one right there. Oops, no, it’s a grain of sand. I can’t stop itching! I haven’t seen one but I keep scratching. Oh wait! What’s that by the door?”
So we vacuumed again. I bought a family-size tub of Dawn. My mother kept her clothes in the car in a plastic bag.
Finally—FINALLY—we couldn’t take it anymore. Chuck and I called an exterminator. Mike from Petrin’s Pest Control. Dear Mike. Bless his heart, he talked to me about fleas for half an hour. He empathized. He listened. He said he’d be there the next day.
Before he could come, however, Chuck and I needed to get everything up off the floor. As for the basement, where the problem was the worst, he suggested I go to Home Depot and buy Tyvek suits—
"No need for the headgear, heh, heh..."
—so Chuck and I could get to work without getting attacked.
Ladies, you want a hot steamy night with your hubby? After you put the kiddies to bed, don some Tyvek suits and move furniture for a few hours in an airless basement while watching fleas snap at your ankles.
How the sex industry hasn’t made a porno out of that is a mystery.
Now it’s been a few days since the exterminator came. Things were quiet over the weekend, but there’s been a resurgence. Apparently the adults have died but the next generation have hatched and need to die. For the next two weeks (eggs hatch out in two week intervals) we’ll still need to vacuum daily, to wash everything in hot water, to send our guests home with a party favor of Dawn and to examine our children and clothing with paranoid diligence:
“What’s that? Is it one? IS IT????”
As for the basement, where the problem is the worst, Mike the exterminator recommended that Chuck and I put on our Tyvek suits again, go down there and make some noise so the damn things hatch from their impenetrable eggs, drop onto the floor and die.
We may need to do that for as long as three months to finally be rid of the problem.
I can just see it now: “Oh Chuck...I’m not wearing anything under my Tyvek suit...yoohoo....Chuck...”
Just shoot me, ok? Wouldja?
About me: I'm a 40-something mother to a pickle party of a family. My husband Chuck, our tween Junior, our 6-year-old Everett, our toddler Cam, and I live in a town in Connecticut I affectionately call Mulletville Lite (aka my childhood hometown). My friends call me Nutjob, and they're right. In my husband's spare time he dresses up as a Viking and chases ghosts (and I'm the nutjob?). I'm a freelance graphic designer and writer.