I was all set last week to pour my soul out through my fingertips, ready to explore a theme I had been turning over in my head for a few days, and then something came up that trumped pretty much everything in my life except work. Sounds important, right? I wish it was something that warranted happy smiles and maybe a shout or two of glee, but it’s mostly caused grimaces and groans on my part.
So what is this all-consuming issue?
It is the crowning glory to a lovely group of three… blood sucking parasites. Literally, blood sucking parasites. First came the lice from out of the blue a little over a year ago. Frenzied shampooing and the kindness of my brother in spending hours going through my hair strand by strand thankfully took care of those little creeps. Then there was the tick I picked up while on a hike in Australia, which my sister-in-law bravely took care of while I winced and looked away. And now, NOW, I have been hit by a plague of fleas. FLEAS!!!
The previous tenant in my new place of abode didn’t seem to think that her two indoor/outdoor cats needed much in the way of flea treatment, because there those creepy little guys are, jumping around my carpeted floor. The first week, I didn’t notice them, as I don’t think there were many. And then I saw one on my sleeve one day when I was stretching on the floor. That’s about when they started to explode in numbers. Oh goody.
My housemate thought we should try natural remedies first, so we strewed eucalyptus branches about (apparently repels them). A couple nights later, since they didn’t seem to be going away, we put a lit tea light in the middle of a bowl of soapy water, in hopes that the fleas would be attracted to the light, fall in the water, and not be able to get out. In the morning, as the dead candle listed sadly to one side in the water (which was completely corpse free), and the eucalyptus shed its dry seed pods everywhere, I moaned in disappointment at the fleas I continued to find making their home on my feet. The middle of my carpet looked like a crazy shrine to some fickle spirit that had a thing for branches and candles, and those crafty fleas were still sticking around.
Well, so much for those passive methods of flea control! The next day I happened to have the afternoon off when a coworker asked to switch shifts, so after taking care of guests at the inn in the morning, I came home to do battle. I washed every piece of bedding, throwing pillows and un-washable things in the drier to fry any flea that dared to hide on them. I took everything out of my room that I could, vacuumed every inch of carpet that I could reach (and threw away the vacuum bag!), and covered every bit of the ground in baking soda, which is supposed to kill them and destroy their eggs over a few days.
The fight isn’t over yet. I still find a couple desperate characters every day trying to escape death by poisoning by attaching themselves to my feet as I go about my daily business. Today, we’re going to vacuum again, with a chunk of flea collar in the vacuum bag to kill any and all that get sucked up, and when I go home this weekend for my grandma’s wedding, my housemate is going to treat the carpet with some stronger chemicals.
In the mean time, I find myself scratching at phantom itches and thinking every speck of dirt is a flea coming to claim my life’s blood as its own. I’ve also been avoiding my room. Sad, I know.
Basically, I can’t wait until this is all over, and I can go back to a state of unconcerned barefootedness, the constellations of red spots all over my ankles quietly fading into distant memory.