It’s been WAY too long since I’ve written on my blog, but believe me–since then I’ve had enough ammunition in my life to fuel a MILLION novels. You know that childhood rhyme; “Sleep Tight, don’t let the…” ?
Yeah, bedbugs. Apparently it’s a national epidemic now. Didn’t you know? I didn’t . . . until it happened to me. If you want to be creeped out and NEVER feel comfortable in a hotel again, I suggest you google: “bedbugs.” They suck on you at night like little vampires and they are incredible at hiding–they multiply faster than rabbits and when you have them; no one…I mean no one wants you around for fear of catching them. At the risk of being dramatic, I’d probably compare it to a modern day leprosy. We haven’t had a friend over for months.
Pretty much, we knew we had to kill the little BB’s–and we did NOTHING right! We threw out our beds–that’s a no-no, apparently we needed to encase them in a mattress cover. We washed all of our clothes (eight hours of me running up and down three flights of stairs at our apartment complex by myself because my sister was out of town) and the community dryer wasn’t strong enough to dry everything and the clothes all mildewed. Oops–and then the bags later ripped (different story).
Meanwhile, we notified our landlords; they sent an exterminator who didn’t spray (I know because I left “lint” booby-traps to make sure he did, yeah, I’m weird and suspicious, but none of my traps got set off), so when our landlord refused to hire another exterminator, I had to write a discourse of epic proportions to get us out of our year-long contract we had just signed. As soon as the landlord was properly scared of possible legal recourse, we got the go-ahead to move. We were gone in three days–imagine us (two girls) finding another apartment in a day, scraping up the money for a first month’s rent and deposit, and THEN packing up all our belongings into a U-haul that we didn’t know how to drive. Um, head’s up–bedbugs just move with you, just so you know.
Next, we had to hire our own exterminators. Guess we should have asked what chemicals they sprayed, read their customer reviews, asked specifics on their licenses–we didn’t. They were incredibly nice guys, but despite that–I got covered in more and more bites. So when I looked into getting my own license to get rid of our BB’s, I saw these guys were using pesticides that just weren’t effective against our bedbugs.
That’s when we hit the internet. We found out about diatamaceous earth, and spread it all over the place–it’s like baby powder btw–ALL OVER OUR NEW APARTMENT!!! I made a rubbing alcohol/ dish soap concoction to spray all over the place until my head ached. We found out about thermal treatment to kill bedbugs and tried to turn off our air-conditioning on the hottest day of the year (105 degrees) and came home from work to a 78 degree apartment (apparently our neighbors’ systems are enough to keep us comfortable–good to know). We bought a new vacuum to suck up the diatamaceous earth and after turning on the vacuum ONE time, it EXPLODED!!! The Diatamaceous earth went EVERYWHERE!!! My hair was caked in it.
I bought two steamers and tried to steam down the whole place, scrubbing and scrubbing the carpet–the rubbing alcohol and dish soap concoction made a bubble bath in our kitchen. We bought nuvan strips and furniture bags and threw all of our furniture and belongings inside–BUT the furniture bags were too small, so then we had to duct tape it altogether–now our furniture is stuck in what we affectionately term “poison bags” and we’re actually a little afraid to take them out now (though it’s been over five weeks and they only have to be in there for two . . . so the internet says)–we imagine that the BBs will come flooding out like the bugs in the Mummy.
Even worse, after we had placed a fresh layer of diatamaceous earth over our place; our new landlords informed us of a surprise visit for the next day and I had to take our broken vacuum and coax all the diatamaceous earth into it–we hoped to pass off our plastic covered furniture as my EXTREME OCD. The new landlords didn’t say anything, so I guess they bought we were just weird. Maybe they’re right.
And then I found out about phantom and gentrol–apparently they work against the little BB’s, and since I’m a former mosquito control girl (yeah, I sprayed pesticides as my summer job in between my years at college), I bought the chemicals and began my big spray program: alternating phantom and gentrol, spraying with the rubbing alcohol/ dish soap applications every other week and steaming the life out of our apartment. We threw our bedding in the dryer every night, painted ourselves with diatamaceous earth–we were DESPERATE to get rid of these bedbugs that kept biting and biting and biting! And no, it didn’t help when my sister forwarded me info on my dream vacation to Ireland with the note that we could’ve gone there three times with the money we spent on the BB’s.
Now, get this–a few people get a histamine response to bedbug bites and a few people don’t–I’m one of those lucky people who do . . . and my sister happens to be one of those lucky people who don’t. So when it became too much to handle, my sister started questioning that it was all really happening. She was so insistent that I was beginning to believe that I was crazy, too–so I took a highlighter and marked all of my bites so I would know if there were new ones in the morning–the pen ran out of ink there were so many! Not a joke!!! Still, it proved there were new bites in the morning. It didn’t matter. I was still deemed crazy. Only after I found new dead BB bodies could I prove I was sane again!
AND you thought it couldn’t get worse? Get this; our family was coming to visit–they had planned this vacation for over a year!!! And we had to tell them one by one that we were UNCLEAN!!! YUP, they all had to bunk a city away at my brother’s house (25+ of them). This brother, we knew, would FREAK out at the very thought of bedbugs (he was already freaking out with 25+ people at his house). And just when we thought we could pull the wool over his eyes, we finally had to admit everything when his best friend ended up in a coma after a bike accident. Our brother was too overwhelmed to keep everyone at his house and he confronted us on why we weren’t sharing the load and sure enough–he FREAKED out when we told him!!!
We assured him that we were taking the same precautions in-home nurses take when we left the house (it’s called SLEEP): we showered, pulled our belongings out of the dryer, sprayed rubbing alcohol on our shoes and left the house completely sanitized. I don’t think he believed that we weren’t contagious and he had to leave the room to collect himself after a huge fight–luckily I didn’t disgrace myself by bursting into tears though I was super, super close. Everything just seemed so hard and unfair. We didn’t mean to be the bad guys, but we were!
And THAT’S why I’ve been AWOL these past three months. And have I written anything? No, except what I’m writing right now. I have loads of ideas of things I’d like to write and I can’t sit down to do it (though I did duct tape my chair to cover all the holes where BBs could possibly hide and then spread Diatamaceous earth around it like salt keeping back a demon).
BUT, guess who didn’t get a BB bite this week? That’s right. Uh huh. I didn’t get a BB bite the whole week before we left for Comic Con either. And just as an extra ‘we’re-gonna-kill-you-stupid-BB’s’ precaution, before we left for San Diego, I turned off the air-conditioning (in the hopes that by some miracle, it might get hot enough to kill something while we were gone) and I threw some nuvan strips into our empty rooms with the fans blowing (DON’T do this with people in the house btw). We stuffed the bedroom and bathroom doors with towels and left for a week.
And now we’re back. And I’m not sleeping with diatamaceous earth powdered all over me anymore and I’m not throwing my bedding in a dryer every night. I decided to be the human bait to see if the bedbugs are still here. AND it’s been another week with no bites. Of course, I’d be able to test this better if my skin was a clearer palette and I didn’t have the worst sunburn that I’ve ever gotten in the history of my life (just another tale of woe)!
But as soon as my skin peels off in another week, I’ll know. I’ll know…