Yeah, I’ve been out of commission the last week. I’m still alive and kicking, but it’s been one hell of a week.
For starters, last Saturday I discovered my son’s box spring and mattress were infested with bed bugs. Yeah, they’re real. They’re not just the subject of some fun bedtime tag line you tell your kids before bed. They’re real and they suck beyond belief. For the last six weeks we’ve been dealing with these strange red welts on arms and legs. For the first couple weeks we thought they were something the dog was bringing in from the outside and sharing with us. Poison Sumac or Oak, perhaps. So we started wiping his paws with baby wipes every time he came in. Then I bought a outside leash and hooked him up so he could only do his business in a designated area without roaming into the wasteland of blister-causing weeds. Still, even after all the precautions my wife and I were still dealing with itchy welts. Me, my upper left arm was so bad it began blistering. I thought maybe I was allergic to the crap outdoors. I was beginning to wonder if maybe nature wanted to kill me. My son began breaking out in little red spots, too. It was relegated to his arms and legs. It looked like eczema. We’d put ointment on it and it would go away. Pretty soon though it began to spread to the tops of his hands and his neck. My wife took him to the pediatrician, which diagnosed eczema and prescribed the same ointment we already had.
This had been going on since the first weekend in May. It would seem to improve, then it’d get worse. Last weekend was the big reveal. The mystery was solved. Id’ gone into my son’s room to hang some shelves when I noticed this bug on the floor. I thought it was a tick, as my wife had seen a couple over the last few weeks as well in our bedroom. My son said “That looks like the bug I saw behind my bed.” A feeling of dread came over me as I told him to step back as I carefully moved his mattress from the box spring. A simple inspection revealed his box spring was infested with egg sacs and bed bug feces. The need to get it out of my house was stronger than my need to throw up(and my need to take a flame thrower to the room.) We quickly removed the bed and took it outside. This then led to a mass exodus of years worth of toys, stuffed animals, comics, and clothes from his room. It was the Saturday from Hell last week. The day was spent emptying the room, spreading bed bug dust, and inspecting other rooms of the house. My daughter, whose room was next to my son’s tainted homebase, had one bug crawling on her bed frame(she herself had a few welts as well.) Her room seemed to be in the clear otherwise. Our room looked okay as well, but I spread the bed bug dust in there as well. Sunday was then spent pulling up all the carpet in my son’s bedroom. We didn’t know if the bugs had made their way under the carpet. Not knowing was not an option for me(or my wife.) My dad came over and we removed the carpet in less than an hour. No bugs in the carpet, thankfully. The carpet was 21 years old, so it’s not like it didn’t need to be replaced.
All seemed like it may be getting better.
Then I woke up Monday morning with new marks on me. I called my wife from work and told her we should have pest control come out to do a run-thru of the house. She said that would be a good idea. About an hour later she called me to tell me she took our bed out of the house and took the headboard apart to find bed bugs in it. On my side. I was being feasted upon by these horrible creatures that up until this point I thought were relegated to mattresses on the side of the road and $5 a night flophouses. I ended up leaving work early that morning to come home and figure out what the hell we were going to do. We came to the conclusion that pest control was needed immediately, as well as getting everything out of the house that we could get out. If it seemed tainted, it was gone. We rented a trash dumpster and filled it with furniture, bags of clothes, and years of memories that couldn’t be redeemed unfortunately. The pest control guy came and told us the amount of money it would cost for them to get our house bug-free(they heat the house up to 140 degrees, as well as using chemicals.)We agreed, and it’s going down on Tuesday. As the week went on we began removing all the carpet upstairs. Saturday morning my dad and I finished. The wife and I got our couch outside and it too is now in the dumpster.
We are in a shell of what used to be our home.
So how did this happen? Well a trip to Chicago back at the end of April is the culprit. We stayed at a $320 a night swanky Hyatt in downtown Chicago, a place you’d never guess would have bed bugs. I’ve stayed at some real dumps over the years, but never left with anything more than a sleepless night and sore back. This Hyatt was a beautiful spot to stay so my wife and daughters could enjoy Hamilton at an afternoon show. The room seemed clean, and the beds were reasonably comfortable. Turns out that wasn’t the case. At all.
Lesson here is this: check your mattresses kids.
So here I am at nearly 1:30 am typing about this last pathetic week. I’m in the basement with the kids, while my wife is upstairs sleeping in the recliner with the dog. All the room are bare and carpetless(new carpet will be installed next Friday.) Our clothes are bagged in airtight containers after being washed and dried in an industrial washer/dryer at a laundromat in town. I told my wife they looked like giant piles of freeze-dried jerky. We leave later today for Brown County where I’ll sleep in a bed for the first time in nearly a week. There will be woods, nature, and a hell of a view. I’m hoping nature doesn’t want to kill me down there. I’m hoping we can call a truce for the sake of sanity. I know things could be a whole lot worse. There was no house fire or cancer diagnosis. No car wrecks or job loss. The kids are healthy, as are the wife and myself. The house will once again look normal, and the bugs will be a distant, bad memory. A memory I wish could be tossed out with the family couch, but I’ll settle for a bug-free sleep.
I haven’t spun a record in over a week. It doesn’t feel natural.