Saturday, January 7, 2012

Tiny Home Intruders

You'd think it would be the itching that would drive you crazy, but it isn't. The itching can be overcome with will power. If you don't scratch, then eventually it won't itch—problem solved.

It's the sneakiness. The jumping. The unexpected appearances.

Some of you may have already guessed where I'm going with this. If you have guessed, then you can probably share my annoyance at these uninvited house guests I'm currently sheltering.

Last month, I took a shower and put on clean clothing. I looked in the mirror, and there was already one sitting on my shoulder. I didn't even get to be free of them for longer than a minute.

I picked up Danny to put him down for a nap. There was one on his head that I removed and killed. We go upstairs and get comfy in the rocking chair. I close my eyes for a few minutes and then I feel him falling asleep. I look down, and there is a new one on his forehead this time. I remove it and kill it quickly before it crawls somewhere really undesirable.

Before the bombings, I was killing so many that my fingertips were actually sore from the pressure of trying to crush their little bodies completely.

I took clothes out of the dryer and put them on the couch to fold. I get to a pair of Jill's pajamas. I see one on them already. I crush it. Nothing is really clean right now for long.

Jeff and I were sitting at the kitchen table addressing and stamping our yearly family letter, which I mail out to those whom live far away. Jeff feels one on his leg. He looks, and it jumps off and begins to crawl across the kitchen floor toward me.

Yes, toward me.

To date, Jill, Jeff, and Danny have no bites on their bodies. At one point, I counted 63 on my entire body. Then as the problem escalated, I counted 54 on one leg and just stopped counting.

I apparently am very delicious.

And I am going a little crazy.

This morning, I was eating pancakes. Jeff makes pancakes for us every Saturday morning, and we have the local church missionaries over. I felt one crawl out of my hair and land on my face. I tried to get it, but it jumped. Jeff saw it land on my arm, and he casually reached over and killed it. The elders watch the scene and ask, "so you have fleas?"

Yes. And I am so tired of having them.

And it's all my fault.

Months ago, I was petting my cat Chloe. I noticed black specks of something on her nose/face that flecked off when I was petting her. Then one day I went to read a book on the bed that she likes to sleep on and something jumped up at me. Then I started to get bites whenever I would nap in that bed. And then I caught one and knew that there were fleas in my house. There weren't many, and it didn't seem like a big problem. I had never treated our cats, because they had only been indoor cats, but then we started letting them out, and I didn't think about it.

A while after noticing them (and they were still contained only to Chloe—not even on Cosmo), I went to the vet and mentioned it. The vet gave me the treatment. It took me a while to get around to doing it, because I had to do it when the kids were not around and when Jeff was around to help me, and we put it on Chloe and Cosmo.

A few days later, I kept finding lots of dead flea bodies in all of Chloe's favorite resting places.

I thought that I was done, but I felt slightly concerned about part of the warning on the treatment label. It said something about how it might be necessary to retreat after six weeks due to eggs hatching. That thought was always in the back of my brain, nagging me, worrying me.

Then we gave the cats away, because they have been on edge since Danny was born and really stressed out since he started crawling and that made them do less-than-delightful things to our house, and I was not willing to go through that again with every new baby.

And then the eggs must have hatched. And the massive invasion began. They were no longer isolated to Chloe or to her favorite sleeping spots, and my body became an all-you-can-eat, 24-hour-a-day-and-night buffet for their perpetual enjoyment.

We bombed.

Many died. I went from finding seven in half an hour to finding seven a day.

We bombed again.

They still remain.

It has been over two months now, and I am really reaching my breaking point. Tonight we are going to put powder in all the carpets and spend the night at our in-laws' house. I hope that does it. Because not only is it a hassle to have fleas but also it is a hassle to keep putting pesticides in my house that can contaminate food and make us sick. I am tired of washing everything. I am tired of needing to vacuum all the time. I am tired of worrying about spreading them wherever I go. And I am tired of worrying about spreading them to anyone who comes over. (I know for a fact that we've shared a few with two different houses, but neither of them saw more than two at their house and no bites.)

And yet, even as I am considering wrapping flea collars around my ankles, wrists, and neck, I keep thinking of another flea story and telling myself to stop feeling sorry for myself, because my life truly is so good.

Have any of you read the book The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom?

Well, Corrie's family helped hide Jews in their home during the Nazi occupation of Holland. Her family was caught, and Corrie and her sister Betsie (along with other family members) were arrested. Corrie and Betsie ended up in a concentration camp. The Hiding Place is a book that Corrie wrote about their experiences. While unbelievably sad and horrible, it is also amazingly inspiring. At one point, Betsie, in a prayer, thanks God for the fleas. Corrie can't believe that her sister would be grateful for the horrible pests. Later, Corrie learns that the reason why the Nazi soldiers never entered their sleeping area was how horrible the fleas were, so they really did have a reason to be grateful for the fleas.

Whenever I feel like I am going to go crazy because of my fleas, I remember their fleas and then feel ridiculous for complaining so much like I have this whole blog post.

I am really blessed. I live in a free country with a man who loves me and two great kids. I have an education, and I have food on my table. I have a roof over my head, and I am physically safe.

And eventually I will kill every single flea in my home.


  1. OK, so somehow in my own craziness, I added a comment, and then didn't! :) Anyhoo, don't feel bad about fleas, they are horrendous this year! We had them here from just one kitty as well! But, like you, I couldn't stand the thought of using pesticides, so I read and read, and just created my own stuff. I just used a spray bottle, dawn dish soap, some laundry detergent, and some lemon juice, and some windex. Great combo, I know! :) I sprayed it to soaking the carpets, one room at a time, and then let it soak. I vacuumed it up after, ummm... half an hour, (maybe more!!). Then the vanished! Just thought I would share. So, as I said, no reason to feel bad, they are just ALL over!

  2. I love Corrie Ten Boom. She's one of my biggest heroes.

    Won't it be an unusually glorious day when you've killed the last flea in your home?! :) I'm not sure, but I think if you listen closely you may hear angels singing on that day.

  3. I remember having fleas in my house once when I was growing up. It was awful and took forever to get rid of them! We had to bomb the house three times, I think. Good luck getting rid of them!

  4. Oh fleas. I'm sure if you talked to my mom you could swap some horrible flea stories. We had them so bad one year when we lived in Springfield, VA. I remember having to spend the night in a hotel while our house was bombed. Good luck! We had ants really bad in Vegas right before we moved so I can totally relate to the exasperated feeling of having small, sneaky insects everywhere. Yuck.

    p.s. It was awesome to see you! Thanks for coming all that way. I think it is definitely our turn to travel long distances to see you next!

  5. Every one? WOW !!! We live in a pretty big world. It's difficult to imagine a world without a single flea.

    Grandma had a problem with mosquitoes. They really liked the flavor of her blood. She became upset sometimes when we came in from the garden, and I didn't have a single bite. Maybe there is some value in being mean and ornery, you don't taste as good. Anyway, good luck with your campaign. Love, grandpa H.

  6. Oh Mimi I'm so sorry. I can't believe I didn't know about all this until just a couple days ago. How did that last bombing go? Are they gone now?? Time for an update!!
    Good luck if the problem isn't solved already :)
    I'm praying for you.


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