Monday, May 28, 2012

Alrighty - I'm back! Whew.  And I have missed an entire week of writing and sharing and catching up with all of you since "the-week-from-you-know-where" struck our house.  Just coming off the heels of having the stomach flu over Mother's Day, both my girls and Josh caught horrible colds.  The kind of cold  that, even if you aren't sick with it, keeps you up all night because everyone is hacking away every hour anyway.  So, yeah, none of us were really getting any rest.

Well, when it rains, it pours...cats and dogs...with fleas.  (Can I get a collective groan from the audience, please? Thank you.)  Wednesday morning started like any other...the usual chaos over choosing toast or cereal, the manic pouring of coffee, the anxious scramble to find socks that match and more baby wipes and where did I put my glasses?  You know, the usual gig.  Until...Josh sends me a little text that changes the entire course of the week:  I just found two fleas.  Check the cats.

Oh. No.

Dutch...the lazy culprit.
Two nights prior, the culprit - er, I mean, our cat, Dutch, had escaped outside for about half an hour.  We didn't think anything of it really, besides his usual naughty/mischievous behavior.  He had escaped before, and for longer amounts of time, but he is such a lazy bones that whenever we would call him in for kitty food he would be swift to return to his life of luxury.  So, reluctantly and with much chagrin, I find the cat and search his belly, only to find...fleas.  Ugh of all UGHS.

Panic set in.  I grew up on a farm, so I wasn't entirely unfamiliar with fleas.  We had pets growing up, and suddenly I was having flashbacks of stinky fog bombs and sprays and pet baths and then the sinking realization of all the things Dutch and our other cat, Zuzu, could have come in contact with over the last 48 hours...and just how much laundry that entailed.  (I had JUST done 5 loads of laundry that were clean and sitting out...and I had caught both cats sleeping on the giant pile last night. Oh no!)

My worst memory of fleas came to mind as well.  I was 16, and had found a kitten sitting on top of my car in the garage.  I had swooned over this adorable little furball we quickly adopted and named Gizmo.  I snuggled her and bathed her and she became a new member of our family by the end of that week...but, not before she had given me fleas!  What's worse?  It was 3 weeks  before PROM.  Here I was, picking out shoes, hair accessories, perfectly matching nail polish...and flea treatment for a horrible rash that had ravaged my forearm!  Ugh to the nth degree!  I quickly decided that long satin gloves were going to be in fashion that year, and all crisis was averted.  (Still, if you can imagine yourself 16 again and think about the horror it brought on to even consider telling any one of your friends that you got fleas right before PROM...you can imagine the drama that created!)

I was thinking about all these memories as the crushing reality set in about how this day needed to already be over before it began.  What do I do?  Well, first things first, I did what any normal, grown woman does when a crisis arises and you feel like you might start hyperventilating before anything even gets decided about what to do first....I called my mother.

Mom!  What do I do????

Three phone calls later between my mother, my sister and again with Josh, we decided that we would just have to burn the place down and join witness protection.  Oh no...wait, that's what I wanted to do.  Sigh.  Instead, the daunting task of fog bombs, pet baths and laundry out the wazoo clearly became our only option in defeating these pesky bugs.  This meant not only washing things that potentially had fleas on them...but, then, once everything had been fogged and killed the pests, it would have been exposed to toxic fumes and needed to be washed as well.  Since I have a 10 month old who is apt to put anything and everything in her mouth, this meant that every little thing (plastic toys, books, remotes, anything fabric whatsoever, all things two feet off the ground and under) needed to be wiped down and cleaned after being bombed.  Ugh to infinity!

Folks, this is what emergency funds are for.  This is why you save back a little money here and there or at least have a credit card you are diligent to pay off.  Days like these are why you try and position yourself to be prepared.  All that to say - I couldn't take it anymore and as soon as I set the fog bombs off...I checked us into a nice hotel just a few miles away.  Hooray!  Clean carpet!  Cable television!  Little soaps!

Thought these tiny, minuscule, little buggers were quickly becoming the smallest-but-most-expensive-by-ratio item I had ever spent money on, it was worth every penny. The girls were enthralled by the novelty of the hotel.  New beds to jump on, fountains of fish in the lobby that Matilda got to feed, new nooks and crannies to investigate and potentially climb.  Since both girls were still snotty-nosed and coughing, I couldn't drop them off at any friend's home or daycare, so it was all I could do to just care for them and pray for help.

Asking for help is highly underrated.  I'm all for independence and self-motivated ambition...but, when you need help, don't hesitate, just ask for help.  So, I did.  I put out the white flag, and my dearest friends came to my rescue.  By that night, as my girls and I ate pizza and visited the lobby fish one  more time for the night...my husband and two of our most gracious friends were at our apartment, scrubbing flea bomb scum off baby toys, stripping beds and wiping off pillows, doing dishes and loading laundry.  I am still so grateful for their hearts of servanthood.  Good friends are salve to the flea-flustered soul (isn't that a Proverb? It should be.)

By morning, I had called in the big guns.  I've never hired a cleaning service before, so I took a chance on Molly Maids of Fullerton.  I'm telling you the name of the company so that you don't use them.  I hate to say it, but I would not recommend them.  While the girls and I were able to return to a flea-free home (can we get a PRAISE JESUS!?) we didn't exactly return to a clean home.  All I'm saying is, when I pay for a service, I expect the work to be up to par with at least the quality that I would do myself, right?  I talked to their manager, and the cleaners had to return the next morning to finish the job (which sort of got completed) but, whatever...the carpet was vacuumed and nothing wreaked of flea bomb and there were no fleas in sight....so it was fine.  At this point, as long as I didn't itch all over with the thought of just standing in my own home, I was going to be happy.

Deeeeep sigh of relief.  We survived.  The great flea fiasco of 2012 had passed.  Now, evidently, we have to keep spraying the carpet and vacuuming religiously to avoid potential flea eggs from hatching in the next two weeks...and we'll be treating our cats with Advantage flea treatment from now until forever...and I still have about three loads of laundry left to do and about eight more to fold and put away....but, we made it.  Good golly, what an ordeal.

Thanks for hanging with me, friends, we'll try to keep things interesting around here for you!

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