Peep Costumes, Babies Get Snot on You, and 40th Birthday Laser Tag Parties

Just yesterday I was wondering, “Hmmm.  I wonder what I should do for my 40th birthday?”  And after today, I know.

Laser tag party.

Laser tag party!  

I played laser tag for the first time today.  I took my sons to a kid’s birthday party today.  Anyone who wanted to pay extra could play laser tag.  And yes, of course I wanted to play laser tag, are you kidding?!

I am so glad that I have boys and I am so glad that they’re not babies anymore.  Here’s why:

Baby/toddler:  Mommy, take me to the park so I can get sand in my eyes and cry and eat a bug and you can push me on the swing in the boiling sun for half an hour, then I’ll get a runny nose and smear it on your shoulder while I scream in your ear because I don’t want to leave and then I’ll pee in my car seat on the way home.

Seven/Nine year old:  Mom, take us out to laser tag where you can skulk around with us shooting everything that moves and pretend you’re G.I. Joe for half an hour, but without the real guns and bullets and death and drill sergeants.

Sweating from pushing a kid on a swing: pure misery.

Sweating from skulking around shooing a bunch of kids with a blaster: pure delight.

Who knew that you could get so sweaty just skulking around?

I’m not sure who to invite to my 40th Birthday Laser Tag party.  Will any of my friends even want to come?   I may end up having to invite a bunch of ten year olds to come play with me on my special day. Let me know if you are interested and I’ll get an invitation out to you.  It’s in December, so you have time to get in shape and practice your aim.

Laser tag party, anyone?

————-

But before there was laser tag, there was Photo Club.

We are such photography nerds at Photo Club.  Photo Club is held every other Saturday morning at the church.  On Saturday morning there are usually other things going on at the church.

We were sitting around our table, when a woman who was part of another event came up to us with a little camera.  She found the camera in the used car she recently bought.  The car had been a rental car before she bought it, so she had no idea who the camera might have belonged to.  She had hoped to look at the pictures on the camera to figure out who the camera belonged to and return it to them.  But she couldn’t figure out how to turn on the camera and see the pictures.  She asked if we could help.

Immediately at least two of us said, “It probably needs batteries.”

I said, “I’ve got extras!” and leapt from my seat to get my batteries in my bag at the next table over.

Kevin was even better.  He also said, “I’ve got extras!” but he didn’t have to leap from his seat to reach his batteries.  He was able to lean back and reach for his bag to get the batteries.

But Gerhard won.  He also said, “I’ve got extras…and they’re right here in my pocket!”

It’s so nice when you finally find your nerd niche. What a sense of belonging.

Photography humor: Kevin set Scott's camera to 'automatic' when he wasn't looking.

Becky and Kendra are the newest people at photo club, and are still learning about photography.  Somehow the two of them got roped into taking pictures for some upcoming weddings. Immediately Gerhard and Scott launched into gruesome tales of Wedding Photography Disasters.  It was like when people tell horrible stories about birth to pregnant women. “Oh, I was in labor for two years and the baby was born sideways and I had to have a total brain transfusion and I almost died and the baby almost died and my husband almost died and the nurse almost died, too.”

Becky and Kendra looked a little pale by the end of the Wedding Photography Disaster stories.

After Photo club I dropped off my picture for the Peep Show. Darling Husband took the shot.  I told the man I wanted a shot of me handing the picture over to him, and he said, “Let’s shake hands like you’ve won a prize.”  See, men really enjoy doing goofy poses for pictures.  A woman would have cringed and said, “Is there any way you can crop me out of the shot?”

It’s very annoying when women do that and I’m not doing that ever again.  I promise.

This man had one heck of a firm handshake. My poor crushed fingers.

The woman that signed in my picture said, “Oh look!  You even dressed like a Peep today!”  Uh…that wasn’t intentional.

Love, love, love Chipotle tacos.

And by then, we were hungry so we went to Chipotle.  Mmmmmmm!  Chipooootle!  The kids won’t eat there, so we got them McDonald’s chicken nuggets.  We didn’t want to bring the nuggets into Chipotle, so we ate in the car.  It was a debacle for Darling Husband.  Messy Chipotle burrito + limited space to maneuver =  messy Chipotle burrito on Darling Husband’s pants.

This happens All The Time.

While we were there I told Darling Husband about the time we were on a Photo Club field trip and went to Chipotle.  While there, Kevin went on at great length, and with great drooling, about what toppings he has them put in his burrito bowl.  He has carefully crafted a burrito bowl with juuust the right combination of ingredients to maximize the Chipotle dining experience.  We told him that his burrito bowl should be called a “Kevin.”

Darling Husband loved the idea of the “Kevin” and said that if he ever opened a restaurant like Chipotle he would give people cards and they could enter different combinations of food on them.  Then, at the restaurant, the person preparing your food could swipe the card and see all the different combinations you’d entered on the card.  Then, you could say, “I’d like a ‘Kevin’ today,” and Kevin’s perfectly crafted burrito bowl could be recreated for you right there, without you having to jot down his choices and lose the paper in your wallet somewhere.

Brilliant, yes?

Advertisements

The Horror Of Having Bed Bugs

Bed bug bag

Eighteen months ago, I wrote this in today’s (March 30, 2012) block on the calendar:  “Bed bugs-18 mos Leather fm attic”

Yes, my friends.  Eighteen months ago, I had bed bugs.  Today was the day that it’s been a year and a half since the bedbugs and I can finally open the bags with the leather jackets and stuff that I couldn’t wash and dry at the Laundromat in 120 degree heat to kill the bugs.  Keep reading to understand what I mean by bagging up the stuff and 120 degree heat.

I was going to blog tonight about what it was like to get bedbugs, but I have soooo much to say about it that I’d be writing for hours.  Then I remembered that I already wrote about it on the homeschool forum.  And better still, I wrote about it while it was happening, so it was all fresh and my horror is palpable and you almost feel it as you read.

It’s a lot.  When I wrote about it on the homeschool forum lots and lots of people replied with cries of dismay, words of comfort and a lot of questions.  Below are all the entries I wrote, some in response to questions.  This blog entry is over 5,300 words, so it’s a long one, but it gives me a free evening, since I don’t have to compose anything new tonight.

(Edited to Add:  Here’s Ninja Bug Guy’s website.  If you’re in the area and need an exterminator, I can’t recommend him highly enough. )

Have fun being horrified:

——————–

9/27/10 12:48 p.m.

Post Title:  I have bedbugs

It has been a fear of mine for years. And today it came true. I have bedbugs. The bug guy just left the house. I’m pretty bummed.

(Incidentally, my bug guy looks and talks EXACTLY like this ninja guy. It was hard to keep a straight face throughout the inspection.)

He’s going to send me info on how to prepare the house for treatment (lots of washing everything washable and cleaning out stuff from all the closets/drawers), and then he’ll come in and treat.

He’ll come back every 2 weeks to make sure they’re gone. He said that it will take up to 2 months because he’ll use some sort of chemical that messes up their life cycle (so you have to wait for them to die), but he’ll keep inspecting every 2 weeks until they’re gone.

He quoted $680 for all the care–from the first session until the last 2 months later. I have heard that’s it’s pricey to get rid of them and veeeery difficult.

The bug guy has a degree in bugs (entomology?), so he wasn’t just some tech guy they sent out. He runs the business for himself and seems to actually love the little bugs he treats and came across as very knowledgeable about all things bugs related.

Please be aware that bedbugs have nothing to do with cleanliness, so we’re not living in dirt over here–I’m afraid if I tell people about the bedbugs, they’ll think I’m a dirt ball. I’ve heard of a library a couple of counties over that had to shut down because they had bed bugs in the books. I wonder if that’s how mine got in my house–library books?

Anyone else ever have bed bugs? How did it go for you to get rid of them?

———————-

9/27/10 1:20 p.m.

In response to a post about how apartment complexes are riddled with bed bugs.

My bug guy said they’re really hard to get out of apartment complexes because people are coming and going and bringing them in and out and you have to try to treat the whole place…

But he said he has pretty good success with single homes, so here’s hoping. He was a very nice guy. Even when my son (for some UNKNOWN reason) wrapped a “present” for the guy with paper. It was a sock. Why would my 8 year old son wrap up a sock in a sheet of printer paper and give it to the bug guy?????? I have no idea.

The kids followed him all around the house “searching” for bugs, too. The guy was VERY nice to them, and said, “They’re just curious. Some guy comes in with a flashlight looking for bugs…they’re gonna want to look, too.”

—————————

9/27/10 1:52 p.m.

In response to someone who wanted reassurance that there were no bedbugs in the libraries in the western half of the United States, and who wanted to know how I knew I had bedbugs: 

I’m in Pennsylvania–out east! You’re in luck.

I had heard that a county south of me had closed for the bedbug problem. The bug guy said that libraries and stores in New York City were closed for the problem, too. The bugs were coming home in people’s books and purchases. He said that he’d recently treated a 93 year old man’s house (with his 90 year old wife) because the bugs came in on a hospital bed they’d rented.

I found the bug on my PILLOW last night before I got into bed. I looked at bed bugs online and it looked EXACTLY like the ones I found online. I showed my dh. And he STILL slept in the bed last night! Men are so weird.

I slept on the couch.

—————————

9/27/10 9:07 p.m.

Ok, I’m the OP–to answer a couple of questions:

1. I live near Gettysburg, but as you can see from the map someone provided, they’re everywhere.

2. How did I know they were there??! HOW DID I KNOW??? When I was about to get into bed and turned over my pillow to fluff it last night and ONE WAS SITTING RIGHT ON MY PILLOW!!! ON MY PIIIILLLLOOOOWWWWW!

Didn’t you all hear me shrieking last night??

It was the size of a watermelon seed and looked just like the pictures online when you google images of bedbugs. DH was in total denial and went to bed anyway. As soon as my Ninja Bug Guy saw it, he just looked at me with pity and said, “Aw man. It’s a bedbug.” And shook his head in sympathy.

The bugs HAVE BEEN BITING US, but we DID NOT KNOW IT!!!!!! I guess that’s a slight blessing??? Yes??? We didn’t get any itchy sores or anything. I told my Ninja Bug Guy that, but he lifted the mattress and right there, on the top of the box spring were little black spots. See, they drink your blood and then poop it out, and dried blood is black. Ninja Bug Guy said, “They’ve been biting you–you can see the dried blood.” Yuuuuuuck.

He went on to say that they will bite your head because it’s the warmest place on your body. AHHH! Thank goodness my husband snores and I’ve been wearing earplugs every night. Or I would wonder if they’d been in my EARS. (Yes, I am YELLING through this whole post!!! AHHH!!)

But even though there are no itchy bites, I’m feeling very itchy right now!!!!

And who was that horrible WTMer who posted that if you move from your bed the bugs will follow you and be all over your house? Now I have to debate if I’ll just stay in my bed tonight and let them bite me so that they don’t get into my whole house, looking for me. I really can’t afford to buy a new bed and new couch and new whatever else I’d need to buy.

My Ninja Bug Guy mentioned the heat treatment. He says it’s crazy-expensive and he doesn’t have the equipment yet. He was cautiously hopeful that my problem is just in my bedroom, even though he’ll treat the entire first floor in an effort to eradicate them.

What does everyone else in the rest of the world do? Just live with them? What do you English/Aussies do?

——–

9/28/10 2:22 p.m.

In response to someone who wrote:  DH is convinced that they can’t live in our sleep number mattress but I’m not sure if that’s right since they can live anywhere I thought.

Your dh is in denial like mine was! They can live in picture frames, in the wall sockets…anywhere.

And I ACTUALLY SLEPT IN MY BUGGY BED LAST NIGHT. Talk about getting a bad night’s sleep.

My Ninja Bug Guy confirmed that if I move my sleeping place to somewhere else in the house, the bugs might move, too, to find me. And then I might have to get rid of my brand new couch, or the Ninja Bug Guy won’t be able to track them down and it’ll take much more money/effort to get rid of them. Right now, he’s pretty sure they’re just in the bedroom.

Since I don’t have raised bumps from the bugs, I just went ahead and slept there and let them bite me. I felt rather like Ma Ingalls–very brave.

My Ninja Bug Guy is coming on Thursday. I have to spend another $200 (besides Ninja Bug Guy’s fees) on a bed bug proof bag for my mattress and box spring. Plus hours upon hours of work to clear out the bedroom and adjoining closet and living room.

And OF COURSE, dh is having migraines right now and can’t help. Why does he always get migraines when I need the most help? I mean, honestly. He always gets headaches or knee trouble or whatever when I need the most help. Maybe it’s psychosomatic? Well-he really is in pain, so I won’t complain about him…too much.

———————-

9/29/10 4:56 p.m.

Well, I posted earlier how I found out (an actually full-sized bug on my pillow). But I’ve had bugs for about 2 months and didn’t know it (according to my Ninja Bug Guy.)

Look on the sides of the mattress and between the mattress and box spring for little black dots. Those are their droppings. It’s actually your dried blood that they’ve pooped out.

My dh and I have had no bites that we can tell. The Ninja Bug Guy said that some people get bites so bad that it scars them, and other people don’t notice their bites at all.

———————–

9/29/10 5:03 p.m.

In response to someone who was going on vacation in a hotel and is afraid she’ll bring home bedbugs, but her husband is making fun of her about it:

My dh went on a trip to New York in July.   Now it’s September and we have the bed bugs. We’ve had them for about 2 months (per the Ninja Bug Guy.) Sounds like DH picked them up in his hotel.

At the hotel, my dh’s roommate had bug bites on him. They weren’t sure if it was spiders or bed bugs or what, but they asked to move to a new room.

I very loudly and very vocally told my DH all about the problems with bed bugs. I told him and told him that he needed to check that room. I went on and on about it.

He just poo-poo’d everything I said.

Lo and behold—here we are with bed bugs.

I did leave all his stuff in the trunk of his car (so it got above 120), I visually inspected the suitcase and all his clothes along each seam. I did pretty much EVERYTHING I could to his stuff before he brought it into the house…but here we are with the bed bugs.

My Ninja Bug Guy is GOLDEN and is only charging us half of his normal amount (because he’s pretty sure it’s localized into just one room), but it still is costing $700 for him, plus $200 for the mattress bags we need to buy.

We’re out $900.

And I really just want my dh to say to me, “Honey, you were SO RIGHT about bed bugs! I really shouldn’t have made light of it in July when you were warning me.”

Seriously. I’m pretty upset about the bed bugs, but if he said that I would feel soooooo vindicated.

So, tell your DH that you’re GOING to check the room. You’re GOING to use the hot pad and he can just GO to the pool while you do so if it upsets him too much.

Don’t let him talk you out of checking for these bed bugs.

And I’m lucky (so far) because the bug guy is pretty sure they’re not in my couch. If they were, I’d be out another $700 for a new couch.

I already have to wash ALL of our clothes in hot water and dry everything in the dryer at at least 120 degrees. Do you KNOW how many of my clothes will now be shrunk? I don’t know yet, either (haven’t done it all yet), but there’s a good chance that I’ll have to go out and spend more money on clothes because mine will be ruined.

I’m having a REALLY BAD DAY today, as we prepare for the exterminator.

And I just want DH to tell me what a wise woman I was for trying to stop this from happening.

————————–

9/29/10 7:53 p.m.

In response to requests for updates about the bed bugs:

OP here.

I’d just like to say that I’m normally a pretty cheery person, but preparing for the exterminator has put me in a seriously bad mood. I have to wash every single article of clothing in our house (except the stored stuff in the attic.) Do you have any idea how much that is? Oh, and don’t forget ALL the bedding (even the stuff in the closets.)

And all the fabric (clothes, bedding, curtains) has to be heated up to 120 degrees for 20 minutes in a dryer. So, I have to take it all to the laundromat–our local laundromat shows the temperature and can get up to 160. I’m not sure ours at home gets that hot. I can’t even begin to tell you how many bags full of stuff I’ll have to wash tomorrow (about 20 big black trash bags or so). I don’t even want to think about how much that will cost. You guys are absolutely right–it costs too much for many people to handle. Fortunately we have had the ability to save money just for things like this.

Since we don’t know where the bugs are or where their eggs might be, anything that we don’t absolutely need or love has to be tossed. It’s been a painful day.  Some things have too much sentimental value and we’ll bag it up and store for a year and a half, waiting for the bugs to die, since bedbugs can live w/o eating for a year.

By tomorrow night, I’ll probably have time to write in a let everyone know the details on what it takes to get rid of bed bugs. Trust me, you DON’T want these things!!!!

I just needed to vent a little bit. Am feeling pretty low right now. We’ve been working non-stop to prepare the rooms that need treatment since 10 this morning and still have a couple hours of work, so I really need to go–dh is working alone right now. My body is shaking a little bit from all the lifting and hauling and working for so long. And I’m just feeling…low.

———————-

9/29/10 10:34 p.m.

In response for a “look on the bright side, at least you’re decluttering…” post:

Yeah–we had to call the trash people and tell them that there are 15 big black trash bags to pick up. (They’re a local company and we live in a small town.) The guy sounded really annoyed. “Well…we might not have room on the truck. We probably won’t. We’ll have to make a special trip…”

My dh was sympathetic to the guy, but said, “Sir, we did NOT plan on this. We would rather have NOT had to throw all our stuff away.”

I don’t think the trash guy really understood. So, we’ll probably have those big black trash bags sitting on our curb in the morning and have to arrange a special pickup sometime later this week.

But, yeah–it was nice to get rid of some of the stuff. Dh is finally inspired and said, “We should go through the rest of the rooms and get rid of things, too!” I told him to give me a couple of days to recover from this. He’s usually the one who doesn’t want to declutter, so after I recover, I’ll jump on it and we’ll get rid of more stuff.

And to the poster who said it’s like having to move NOW, she’s right. It’s sort of like that. You try to organize it somewhat, but at the end of the day, you’re just throwing things away or putting them in bags willy-nilly.

Just to creep everyone out–did you know that bed bugs can be in movie theaters? They climb aboard and ride home on you…or in your purse. Basically bed bugs can be ANYWHERE. There’s simply no way to protect yourself from them.

I really hope that I never get them again. This is something you only want to do once in a lifetime! (Well, really you don’t ever want to…)

——————-

9/29/10 11:12 p.m.

In response to someone wondering exactly how much stuff would have to be thrown away in her own house if this happened to her.  She wanted to know what we were getting rid of.

We use the bedroom to store a lot of things. The bedroom is on the main floor, and is one of the few closets, so it’s where LOTS of things get stored. It isn’t a walk in (by any stretch of the imagination), but it has some really nice shelving, so we store a lot of things in it. Our clothing is in the bathroom closet (which we also had to clean out, because it’s adjacent to the bedroom closet). The bedroom closet is also used as our coat closet because it has access from both the bedroom and the hallway. (There’s a really high bar that the coats go on, with shelves underneath.)

Here are things I got rid of:

A bunch of VHS tapes. We store the DVDs and VHS tapes in our room because it’s right next to the living room and the living room has NO storage. This included a series of 20 VHS tapes with math lectures on them.

A bunch of cassette tapes. DH almost cried over those (he had many of them from before we were married and felt they were a part of who is was/is.)

A bunch of picture frames. For DH’s 40th b-day we had a big party at the church hall and put framed pictures of DH on all the tables. The frames were being stored under the bed, and bedbugs like to hide in frames, so….out they went.

Some kid coats and suits that the kids have outgrown. I could have washed it all and sold it at consignment (my original plan), but frankly, I have so much laundry that it’s bringing me to tears thinking about it, so we just tossed the kid clothes.  Besides, I’d hate to pass the bugs on to anyone else.

I had a box that used to hold diapers (from Walmart) stuffed full of gift bags (christmas, birthday, etc.). Tossed them all.

I had a big box of wrapping paper and things to decorate the boxes with under the bed. Tossed it all. (Bows, paper, bells, fake flowers, blank cards for notes, etc.)

A foot warmer for the winter.

Some prizes I’d collected to give to the kids in my Sunday School class (little rubber toys, or tiny stuffed animals, etc.)

A bunch of smocks (my old shirts I’ve saved over the years) that I used for the Sunday School kids. We rarely used them and I still have all that laundry…out they went.

2 big bags of bird food. We didn’t really want to scatter the entire bags in the yard (it’s not that big…) and I don’t know if bedbugs like to live in the middle of bags of bird seed…so out it went.

A roll of leftover carpet that DH was wanting to use somewhere (you know how DHs can get ideas in their heads about rolls of carpet–or is it just my dh?)

And then we bagged the rest. All the contents of our medicine closet had to be bagged–including things like extra boxes of tissues and about 10 rolls of paper towels (a year’s supply for me.) I don’t know if I can keep that stuff or not. I have to ask the Ninja Bug Guy. I don’t know if I can keep the stuff like bandaids, and ace bandages, and boxes of lightbulbs. But I bagged it up (like I was told) and I’ll ask him tomorrow. I can’t really wash a box of bandaids, so he might say I have to toss stuff like that.

We had a picnic basket that we used as a filing box for our papers. I don’t know if we can keep the papers or not (all our bills, etc.) How do you clean papers?

The stuff he’s going to use tomorrow messes up their reproductive cycle (or something like that.) So, maybe I’ll be told to unpack this stuff and even if there are bugs on it, they’ll come out and walk through the poison and die in a couple of weeks? I dunno.

There was probably more, but it’s late and I’m tired! I needed to calm down by reading a few threads, but I’m going to sleep in my buggy bed. I usually like a lot of room when I sleep, but last night I slept curled up tightly close to dh. I just knew that bugs were crawling all over me (even though I couldn’t feel them), and I seriously needed someone to cling to for comfort.

If I don’t sleep in the bed, it will just encourage the bugs to come looking for me and set up roost in another room of the house.

My mother-in-law gets a prize today. She came to my house, took the kids to her house, fed them lunch and dinner and then asked if I wanted them to stay overnight at her house. YES! I can’t imagine what I would have done if I’d had to clean out the bedroom, living room, my clothes closet and medicine closet…all with the kids vying for attention.

——————–

9/30/10  10:56 a.m.

In response to someone giving me sympathy about how miserable I was in the last post.  She said that if she lived nearby she would help me

Thank you for the offer.

I’m feeling better today even though I just realized I’ll have to throw away the $80 heated mattress pad–can’t put it in the dryer or it’ll mess up the wiring and we’ll get electrocuted or burned to death…

The Ninja Bug Guy is here and is pretty convinced that the bugs are all in the mattress or right next to it. He’s going to keep coming back every 2 weeks for about 2 months to inspect and retreat as necessary.

I already have a bunch of loads in the washing machines at the laundromat. We’ll get thru it. Last night I was just upset. My cheeriness is starting to come back!

And the trash people even took all of those big black bags for me, even though it’s pouring down rain today. They’ll probably charge me an extra $20, but at least those bags are off my curbside.

AND! Best news: my favorite black jeans that I had to wash and dry in hot water and the hottest dryer setting did NOT shrink! YES!! I’m wearing them right now.

————————

9/30/10 10:30 p.m.

Ok–it’s late. I just spent over $100 at the laundromat today washing EVERYTHING. At one point I had 13 of the dryers going with my stuff in it (there was another lady carefully guarding the 14th dryer for her own stuff.) Bottom line, I’m tired, but tomorrow I’ll write a nice post about what happened today while Ninja Bug Guy was here.

About the books; for my case, Ninja Bug Guy said that we caught the infestation early and it was localized near the bed. The books are probably ok. He flipped through a number of them looking for evidence. However, if bugs were in the books, he liked the idea I gave him. I asked him if I could just keep them tightly bagged for a year and a half. Bedbugs can live up to a year without eating (Ninja Bug Guy said that it’s rare they live that long…but they could). So, bag them up and 1.5 years later–they’re all dead.

Ninja Bug Guy also said that if I want to know if they’re in something (like books) I could put the stuff in a plastic bin with a lid. Then, you coat the inner rim with a thick layer of Vaseline or Petroleum Jelly (I can’t remember which…). When the bugs try to get out, they get all gummed up in the Vaseline and then you can see if they’re there or not.

 In response to this woman’s comment which read:  “I told DH I think we should get those mattress protectors.. be proactive.. he just laughed at me…”

I’m sure everyone’s DH is laughing except mine. My poor guy only got 4.5 hours of sleep last night because we were up late clearing out all our clutter and then he had to prepare to teach an 8:00 class at the college this morning.

After going through this, I would cautiously recommend the mattress covers. You’d need one for the box spring and one for the mattress and they’re $90 each, so it’s a lot of money. But it’s better than having to throw out a mattress. Of course, if you never get the bugs, you’re out a lot of money for no reason. It’s a tough call.

————–

10/01/10 12:27 a.m.

I started a new thread.  The old one was getting too long.

Post Title:  Oh, dang it all! The bedbugs are gonna get me…

I am SOOOO tired. But I’m afraid to go to bed because the bedbugs are gonna get me.

Part of the treatment that Ninja Bug Guy did, is that he sprays some sort of hormone around. This makes the female bedbugs want to come out and FEED. When they come out to FEED (I really hate that word), they’ll walk through the poison. Eventually they’ll die.

WHY DID HE TELL ME THIS??!??!?!?!

It’s been bad enough on Mon, Tues and Wed night sleeping in my buggy bed. But now I know that they’ll be coming out to FEED on me more than ever tonight.

I’m so tired. I have to go to bed and I just don’t want to. Maybe I can just stay up all night?? Don’t doctors stay up for like 400 hours in a row??? If they can do it, so can I!

If I don’t sleep on the bed, they’ll follow me to another area of the house and infest a new room, so I have to sleep on the bed. Ninja Bug Guy shook his head sorrowfully and told me it’s best if we just tough it out and stay in the bed. UGH!!!!

——————

10/1/10 10:24 a.m.

In response to people saying how they’d be completely freaking out if this happened to them:

Well, I made it through the night! Yesterday dh found a couple of red spots on his feet and thinks they might be bug bites. I haven’t found a single bump on me. Either they’re not biting me, or I’m not having any reaction to them. If I was getting spots, I don’t think I could do this.

I feel like the woman in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom when she had to stick her hand in the hole covered with bugs and pull the lever that would stop the spiked ceiling from coming down to impale Indiana Jones.

If this wasn’t happening to me, I’d be more grossed out. The idea of bedbugs has always been so horrible I normally would have thought I’d run screaming from my house if I had them. But now that it’s actually happening, I’m feeling very pragmatic and stoic and practical about it. I’m not sure why. Good thing one of my friends is a psychologist who has special training in helping people through trauma. Maybe when this is all done, I’ll have some sort of breakdown and she can counsel me!   But for now, I’m able to keep my heebie jeebies under control.

————————-

10/01/10 11:26 a.m.

The Ninja Bug Guy came to the house at 10:00 and left at 1:30 yesterday. I think he could have left at 11:00, but he talks nonstop. I would MUCH rather have a person come out who actually talks, instead of the ones who come out and barely answer your questions and grunt at you. Fortunately Ninja Bug Guy owns his own business, so he can talk as long as he likes and doesn’t have a boss telling him to hurry up.

Here are the different things that Ninja Bug Guy talked about:

Bamboo taking over the swamps of New Jersey

Greedy veterinarians telling you to overtreat a dying animal

Putting his dog to sleep and bawling about it

Helping a friend put a dog to sleep (but only after the friend listened to a vet and overtreated the poor dying dog.)

Mousetraps and how to set them

Having to teach his kid math because Everyday Math was messing her up

How funny it was that my son wrapped up a dirty sock to give to him as a gift

Every single job he’s had since 1992 and why he left them, and how long he worked there.

The little old couple who had bedbugs but were in their nineties and couldn’t clean their house so he did it for them.

How stinky the dead mouse in my dryer was

How people in Gettysburg had to use nosegays because of all the decaying bodies: human, farm animals, warhorses

How there are only 2 local exterminators in all of south central PA–the rest are big companies.

Homeschooling

When he got married and how his wife has stood by him through all his moves and jobs–including when he had to commute for a few years to NJ and was only home 36 house a week.

The band that he’s in and how his bandmates make him pay for things up front and he doesn’t get paid back unless they get good gigs.

How sweaty he gets playing the drums

How times are hard for exterminators because a lot of his work had something to do with Real Estate and we all know that Real Estate is tanking

Some people that he treated for spiders who had thousands of shoes

General comments about bedbugs

Answers to all my bedbug questions

…and…

The fact that he has ADHD (no! Really?!)

————–

10/14/10 4:04 p.m.

Update on my Bed Bugs

Ninja Bug Guy came to re-inspect for bed bugs. (He’ll inspect every two weeks for two months.)

He said that it was the best re-inspection he’d ever seen! Only one little spot that indicated a bug (probably from the first night after the chemicals were put down, before it died.) This means they’re almost certainly GONE! He said it was because we did such a good job of cleaning everything out of the room and preparing it for the treatments.

Next step: start putting the stuff back into the bedroom (it’s all currently in big black trash bags.) If the bugs show up again, it means they were hiding in my stuff (eww!)

I’m hopeful that this is all over. It’s been hard to sleep, since I keep scratching and batting at myself thinking there are bugs on me.

——————–

Ok blog readers.  That’s all I wrote a year and a half ago.  Now it’s March 30th, and I am finally opening all those bags that have been in my attic waiting for the bugs to die.  I’m so glad to close this chapter of Bed Bug Horror.

Peep Show Picture Revealed

Last year some friends invited my family to The Peep Show.

The Peep Show is an art exhibition where all of the art is made out of marshmallow peeps.  Here’s a link to it with examples of the art.   We had a great time looking at the displays, eating peeps on the way home, and entertaining ourselves by coming up with ideas for entries of our own for next year.

Sadly, I think I’m the only one who actually followed through with a Peep Work of Art and I doubt I’d have created one if I hadn’t discovered photography.  I positively detest arts and crafts.  Photography doesn’t count.  It’s in its own league.  A league that doesn’t involve picking up tiny little things and arranging them in painstaking detail.  Only crazy people enjoy doing stuff like that.

The boys helped me come up with my peep idea while we were grocery shopping.  I had a general idea, and asked them for help brainstorming.  They immediately came up with a blood-thirsty and somewhat cannibalistic idea.

And it was great!  I loved it!  I could totally pull it off!  We went looking for frying pan props right there in the store.

I told Darling Husband the idea with great enthusiasm and waited for his equally enthusiastic reaction.  Didn’t get it.  He gave me a frowny face and said, “Uh…I thought the show was supposed to be family friendly?”

My parade officially rained on, I had to go back to the drawing board and tone down the idea.  Nix on the blood-thirsty, cannibalistic peep.

The frustrating thing about my photographic entry is that people will probably look at my picture and think, “Oh, she just took a picture.  That’s easy.  Anyone can snap a picture.”

Grrrrrr.

What they don’t know is that I had to hit up my friends for toy trucks, bumped my head in the attic getting out the toy animals, bought two frying pans, had to wait for a day with appropriate cloud cover, but it wasn’t happening, took the pictures outside in the burning sun, got completely sweaty, started getting a sunburn, and scraped my knuckles.

Then I had to use all my shaky knowledge of photography to get my camera settings correct, tweak the settings to create different looks, and take pictures from above, below, level, from the right, from the left, and so forth.

The first round of pictures took an hour, and my peep kept falling over in the wind and the money almost blew away, and I got marshmallow all over everything.

After I took the pictures, I sent them to two different people: One who would give me honest feedback about the content of the picture, and one who would give me honest feedback about the photographic execution of the picture.  They gave me their honest opinions, which meant I had to head back outside for another grueling hour of work in the hot sun to fix the problems with the original shots.

Oh, and I scared the neighbors too, by soldier crawling around the yard with the camera, picking up tiny little things and arranging them in painstaking detail and having general hissy fits whenever the peeps fell over and the money blew away and my camera settings weren’t right.

In the end, one of the pictures turned out perfect.

Well, except for how it now needed editing and a border and a caption that I didn’t know how to do.  More hours of work on the computer by myself, playing with the colors and cloning away the big wad of marshmallow that shouldn’t have been in the shot, and hours with friends helping with the borders and caption.

Then, the whole printing and framing.

But finally!  After countless hours of work, money spent on frying pans and printing and frames, the picture for the Peep Show is done.

So, here it is:

Work of Peep Art, Framed

 

No, I’m not going to show it to you before the show!  I may never show it on here at all.

If you live in the area and want to have a chance to actually see it, you’ll have to come to the show and look for it.  I’m pretty confident that once you get there, you’ll be able to pick mine out.  It’s very “me.”

And if you do come to the show, buy some tokens and vote for my picture.  The entry guidelines for the Peep Show vaguely mention an award.  Apparently, they don’t want to paint themselves in a corner by announcing what the actual awards are, but I’m sure they’re Major Awards.   Hopefully not private arts and crafts lessons.

The Bugs Muscled Their Way into my Picture, Two Presents (!), and It’s a Small World

Today is grocery shopping day and wouldn’t you know, as soon as we left the house there was a tremendous downpour.  I told you so!  But at least Darling Husband wasn’t with us, so, shew!, sigh of relief.  I won’t have to cry in the grocery store bathroom.

I shook my fist at the sky and made the rain go away.  But when the sun came out I realized I didn’t have my sunglasses with me, so I had to squint for the rest of the day.

Before the grocery store, the kids and I stopped by Vince’s house to give him a CD of the pictures that I took when we were visiting on Friday. Remember, he told me yesterday that he wants to be a guest blogger and write what “really” happened when we visited.  I don’t know what he’s talking with all this “what really happened” nonsense.  I’m a trustworthy narrator and never, ever exaggerate or make anything up.  Really.  As if.

Vince's Street

This house and barn are on the road that Vince and Gail and their 41 children live on.  Gorgeous!  Had to stop and take pictures.

Then, on to the pediatrician to pick up a prescription.  This house is across the street from the pediatrician.  I have a particular fascination for Dogwood trees against red brick houses; it’s such a pleasing combination.

Dogwood and bricks

Got home after Darling Husband did.  I’d told him to reheat leftovers, but when we got home, he was sadly wandering around the house with a frowny face.  “Why are you looking so sad?”  “I’m not.  I’m trying to remember the last time we ate out.”  Bing!

I called Gerhard and Janet to see if they wanted to go with us, but Gerhard had just finished washing his hands in preparation to try out a new recipe for tortilla soup in his brand new blue Dutch Oven, so they didn’t come with us.

On our way to Li’s Buffet, we saw some lovely clouds.  If you recall, I’m collecting cloud pictures.  But look at these goofy little bugs getting in my shot!  Dumb bugs.  Another day I’ll write about the monster bugs around here.  They live in my basement and work out on the weight bench down there.   There are so many I have to put my name on the sign-up sheet to get a turn on the weight bench.

Dumb bugs

While at Li’s Buffet, Jin pointed out that I was using the chopsticks wrong.  Apparently, it’s a matter of etiquette as to where you hold the chopsticks.  Darling Husband was doing it right so here’s a picture of where you’re supposed to hold the chopsticks. (High—not close to the food.)

Chopsticks. Oyster Sauce. White shirt. Doomed.

Not sure it really worked for Darling Husband, though.  The poor man can’t eat a meal without spilling food all over himself and that goes double for when he’s wearing white.  His first bite of shrimp went winging out of the chopsticks and flew through the air and landed on his shirt.  Same thing happened later with a mushroom.  I couldn’t bear to watch.

While paying the bill I admired some earrings for sale at the counter.  I asked how much they are and Jin said, “For you, they’re free.”  “No, no…I couldn’t.”  “Yes!  Take them.”  “No…really?”  “Yes!”  I think he felt bad for pointing out my bad etiquette with the chopsticks.  Either way; a present!  I love presents!

Aside:  Jin said that the recipes will be completely different at the new restaurant and they hope to open in about a month.  Boy9 told Jin about how he put the cigarette in the Dragon’s mouth at the new restaurant.  Jin said, “I wondered who did that!!”  Here’s the picture again.

Who did that to our dragon???

Then we stopped by the Gettysburg library.  I tried taking pictures of it in the dark, but it was a tricky shot.  I wanted both the well-lit sign and the dark columns.  It was either bright or too dark.  So I used spot metering on the sign and upped the exposure for the columns, and this was the best I got.  It’s so-so.  Not the best, but not horribly bad, and I couldn’t have gotten it at all if I didn’t know about spot metering.    I really should pay Scott in something besides lemon bars.  I can’t believe all the photography stuff I’m learning from him for free.  I wonder if he likes earrings?

Tricky shot.

While we were in the children’s section, we heard the librarian talking on the phone:

“Hello, Gettysburg library.

Sweetie, you’ll have to slow down, I can’t understand you.

No, no…wait.  First, what’s your name?

Can you repeat that slower?
You are Leia Doe.

Yes.  Yes, we have it right here.

No, we’re about to close, but we’ll be open tomorrow at 9:00.”

While we were at the checkout I saw a red lightsaber behind the librarians’ desk.  I thought, “Poor kid who forgot their lightsaber.  I hope they realize they left it at the library and come back for it.”

When we got in the car, Boy9 said, “I wonder if the Leia Doe who called the library was the Leia Doe that we know?”

This made sense.  The Leia Doe that we know talks pretty fast.  And how many kids named Leia Doe are there around here?  I got home and sent her mom a message on Facebook, “Did your Leia call the library this evening?”  Sure enough, it was her!  She’d called because she left her lightsaber there.  Small world.  No, not small world: small town.  You can’t help but know everybody’s business in a small town.

(I wrote about Leia Doe in this post.  You can see her picture—with lightsaber.  She loves that lightsaber.)

Dutch oven, resting in a warm sudsy bath after an evening of hard work.

Got home just in time for Gerhard to call and say the soup was ready and there was a container of it for us if I would come and get it.  Walked down the street to get my soup, and the recipe, and took a picture of the new Dutch oven.  Gerhard also gave me a Cadbury egg.  Two presents in one day!  And of two of my favorite things: earrings and Cadbury eggs.

You Got That at the Dump? Lucky!

Wistfully looking at the knife

Vince and three of his 41 children stopped by for a visit with Darling Husband today.  No, it wasn’t a drop in.   Vince burst in the door and said that he wants to be a guest blogger on my blog and tell the truth about our last visit together.  I have no idea what he’ll say, but I told him it was a great idea.  Guest bloggers are always welcome!

While here, Boy9 showed Vince’s kids The Knife from the Dump.  They were suitably impressed.  My boys kept telling his boys over and over, “It’s from Japan.  It says it right here on the blade.”  That was a big selling point.  None of them have ever seen anything made anywhere besides China.  I’m not sure they know that anyone makes anything besides China.  I’m not sure I know that anyone makes anything besides China.

Except this head.  This was my mother’s day present last year, both to my own mother and to myself.  I got her one and loved it so much that I went back for another one for me and told Darling Husband, “You got me this for Mother’s Day.”  I like to buy my own presents.  And I like it when other people buy me presents, too.  I’m easy to please.

Still got all her marbles

I kept the sticker on the head because it reads Made in Spain.  Spain!  I’m pretty sure that hollow glass heads are the only export out of Spain.

Anyway.  The boys were gathered around the Japanese knife and Boy9 was telling them the story of how he got it.  He might even have hitched up his jeans and spat some tobacco out of the side of his mouth when he told the story:

“So, me and my dad were at the dump….”

“The dump?  There’s a dump around here?  Where?”

“I dunno.  It’s…somewhere.  Anyway, we were at the dump and I saw this knife on the ground….”

“They have knives just lying around on the ground?”

“Sure do.  And I picked it up and said, ‘Can I have this?’ and the guy who worked there said, ‘Sure, kid.’”

“Really?  So your family just goes to the dump to get your stuff?”

That was where I cut in, “No!  We don’t go to the dump to get our stuff!! The stuff at the dump is all picked over.  You have to go to dumpsters to get the good stuff.”

The boys were properly awed and jealous.

————————

Red Shirt death toll: 2.  They were beamed onto a planet that wasn’t there.  Ooo.  Nasty way to go.

Creepy Chanting Children, overcome by the ‘evil within’, due to the influence of an alien angel:  5

———————–

Song in my head today.  It’s in a key I can sing in.  And that’s as rare as something made in Spain.

Geographic Tongue and Cat Scratch Fever

Yummy Salmon

I’m a picky eater.  I’m sure there were many factors that led to my picky eating, but for simplicity’s sake, let’s just blame my parents.

First of all, my mother was a really bad cook.  When she was a child, someone told her she had a disease called “geographic tongue.”  A person with geographic tongue will get red and white patches on their tongue.  The patches move around during the day.  Seriously.  Google it if you don’t believe me.  They should avoid eating spicy foods, as this can exacerbate the problem.

My mother mistook the “avoid eating spicy foods” part to mean “avoid eating food with any spices.”  So, we didn’t have any spices in my house growing up.  No basil, no thyme, certainly no garlic!  Nuthin’.  When she made homemade fried chicken, the breading was made out of flour.  Just…flour.  The day I dissected a frog at school, she served fried chicken legs, only she used green food coloring in the flour and called them Frog Legs.  They were just as flavorless as the regular fried chicken, but now we had to suffer the indignity of having green mouths.

The first time one of my high school boyfriends came to dinner, my mother had bought some cheap breaded chicken discs from the freezer section in the store.  The breading was bright orange and the “chicken” inside was grey  and grisly.  I’m pretty sure it was alligator.  I’ve had alligator, and it was grey and grisly, too.  She served the orange chicken discs to my guest.   After that, all our dates were at Taco Bell.

I’m not entirely convinced she really has geographic tongue, but if anyone’s going to have it, my mother will.  My dad had Cat Scratch Fever, so why not a mother with geographic tongue?

No, Cat Scratch Fever isn’t just a song.  It’s a real medical condition.  My parents took in a stray cat that scratched my dad’s hand and he had nerve damage in his hand from it.  The doctor had never had a case of Cat Scratch Fever before.  Sure, he’d seen bad cases of Loving You, but not Cat Scratch Fever.  (I know.  I apologetize for the lame joke.)  The doctor was thrilled to see a case of Cat Scratch Fever and wrote about it for a medical journal.

My dad also super glued his eye shut once, too, but I suppose that’s a story for another day.

While my mom was serving her flavorless dinners, my Dad found it hilarious to show us seafood every meal.  Only it was see food, as in, “Hey!  Look!” and he’d show us the food he was chewing.

Oh, my parents are strange, strange ducks.  It was like being raised by a pesky older brother and sister.  No, no, they weren’t mean spirited.  The bills were always paid and everyone was fed and clothed and loved.  They just never completely grew up.  ‘Course I’m not sure I have either.  I remember when I first moved up here and didn’t have any friends yet and was feeling trapped in a house with small children, I told the pastor of my church, “I just want friends so I have someone to play with!”  As soon as the words flew across the room, I realized how immature they sounded.

But it was true.  And it still is.  I want friends so I have someone to play with.

Ok, pull this back in.  I’m supposed to be talking about being a picky eater:

Part of being a picky eater is that you get bored with your limited palate and don’t bother cooking.  Sometimes I would post on Facebook about my horrible little meals that I would eat to avoid making dinner.  Like the time I made those ghastly hotdogs, fried in butter, without a bun or toppings.  Hot dogs are not meant to be eaten plain with butter.  They need to be smothered with ketchup and onions and relish or at least the bun.  A plain hotdog staked on a fork, dripping with butter, is just asking for a disgusted stomach.  (If disgusted stomachs could talk, they’d have East London accents.)

I have a friend on Facebook named Victor who loves to cook.  After posting about the hateful hotdogs, he sent me a private message and gently asked, “Hon (he’s from Baltimore and they call everyone ‘hon’), do you know how to cook?”

Sort of.  I started learning when I turned thirty.  And that was only because we put a tv in the kitchen.  I use “I have to cook dinner” as an excuse to catch up on my shows, and not from any love of cooking.  We chatted back and forth and Victor offered to teach me to cook.  The first recipe was for salmon.

This conversation was in December, and now it’s the end of March, and I still hadn’t made the salmon.  Every now and then Victor would ask about it.  Last week when I went to the movies with mom and ate the movie theater popcorn and a flat sprite for dinner and posted about it, Victor commented back simply, “salmon?”

So, this week I was determinted to finally (!) cook the salmon no matter what.

Today was Salmon Day.

I followed the recipe faithfully, used my baking stone to bake it and holy moley!  That fish was sooo good!  I’ve never had such delicious salmon!  Vic is the best cook ever!  I didn’t even get a decent picture of it because I was too busy devouring it with a fork right out of the pan.  By the time I got Clarisse out to take the picture, half of the fish was gone.  Didn’t use a plate.  Ate it standing in front of the stove.

I wonder if Vic has a decent recipe for fried chicken?

——————–

Star Trek quote of the day:  “I am Keer-rock! I am Keer-rock!”

Number of Vulcan Mind Melds: 1

—————–

Songs of the day:  Cat Scratch Fever and Bad Case of Loving You.

My Life of Crime Continues, Mustard is Yummy, and Pocket Knives Are Essential

Oooo. Artsy picture. The candle was on the other side of the glass.

I’ve been craving the Beefy Mustardy Cabbage Casserole that Claude makes ever since he served it to us on New Years’ Eve.  Oh wait, you guys don’t know about that because I didn’t start The Blog until New Year’s Day.  Before The Blog, I would post a picture each day on Facebook and write a very short (well, short for me) paragraph about it.  Here was part of the paragraph on the day that Claude made the Mustard Casserole:

“We finally made it to Claude and Kendra’s house for lunch. Claude made a dish for us that his grandfather brought home from Indo-China during the Secret War in Laos. (Yeah, I’ve never heard of it either. That’s why they call it the Secret war.) Cabbage, rice, ground beef, onion, and …. mustard.

It sounded gross. Claude says that everyone thinks it sounds gross, but when they try it they love it.

To Claude’s delight, the cabbage dish is undefeated. We tried it, and I loved it! I had thirds.”

Yup.  I did love it.  And have been thinking about it ever since.  They finally brought us some more today.  I took pictures.

A tables set for dinner with a candle is such a soothing thing, don't you agree?

I provided the desserts:  Dump Cake and Chocolate Bolacha.

Incidentally, this is the second dump cake I’ve made this week.  We took the first one to Vince and Gail’s house on Friday.  Dump cake, chocolate bolacha and minestrone soup are some of Vince’s favorite things that we make for them.  Vince pointed out that our food often comes across as weird or gross but turns out to be really good.  For example, with the dump cake, one of Vince’s 41 kids asked, “What is that?” Vince told him it was dump cake.  This was met with much snickering.  Eleven year old boys tend to see the potty humor in everything.  Dump cake.

And the Chocolate Bolacha sounds a little goofy.  It’s just melted butter, sugar and vanilla, baked over saltine crackers and then topped with melted chocolate chips.  Really?  You’re serving your guests saltine crackers and chocolate chips?  Is this 1965?  Are you going to serve a TV dinner with that?  Sounds bland, but it’s actually pure evil.  Pure evil.  It has an entire stick of butter in it and an entire bag of chocolate chips on it, but it never lasts longer than 12 hours in my house.  No, it’s not Darling Husband or the kids eating it and that’s all I have to say on the subject.

Below are pictures of Vince and the Dump Cake.  In the first one, Vince has given us our generous portions and is planning on keeping the rest of the pan for himself.

This is for you, and you, and you. THIS is for ME!

But Gail only let him have a little bit.  Cholesterol, you know.

Here’s an old picture of the bolacha:

Chocolate Bolacha

It’s not really called Chocolate Bolacha.  We made up that name.  Have I already told you that story?  It’s only March and I’m starting to forget what I’ve already written.  Eh.  I’ll tell that story another day if I haven’t already.

Back to today:

As soon as Claude, Kendra and Baby walked in the door, Baby took one look at us and started wailing again.  This time she only cried for about five minutes.  This is because we’ve begun an aggressive campaign to win back her love.  First of all, we hired a babysitter.  He is very good with children.  He sings songs to them and tells them stories.  His name is Juan.  Here is the baby, mesmerized by Juan.

Juan is sleek and handsome. Even the babies love to look at Juan.

And then, we fed her good wholesome food.  The sort of food her parents don’t give her at home.  Nutritious cheese.  Wholesome grains.  Dayglo orange coloring.  All the good stuff.

I can't believe they're letting me have this stuff!

See, baby, when you come to our house, we feed you Doritos and let you watch at much TV as you want.  You love us.  We’re your favorite people.

See these beautiful flowers?  They were on some trees in my neighborhood.  I was coming home today from an emergency run to the store for chocolate chips and thought, “Huh.  My stolen daffodils are all dead now.  Wouldn’t these blossoms look so lovely in my home?  Too bad I don’t have scissors…”

More stolen flowers.

And ladies, this is where you really need to start carrying a pocket knife with you everywhere you go.  Because I just so happen to carry a pocket knife and I was able to pull over and cut off these little branches from the trees.

The other time pocket knives come in handy is when your kids are trying on cheap sandals at Walmart, but the shoes are stuck together with elastic bands.  When the kid tries on shoes, the elastic stretches while they walk and then snaps back, and the kid topples over.  This is entertaining for a time or two, but after a while it gets old.  My pocket knife comes with some little scissors that’ll take care of that elastic problem for you.

I’ll finish up with another picture of the flowers.  I took 59 shots of the dumb things.  After 59 attempts, I’m posting them whether you want to see them or not.  No, I’m not addicted to taking pictures.  I can stop anytime I want to.

No, actually, I can’t.  The idea of not being able to take pictures leaves me a little shaky.  It’s bad.  I’m already thinking about what I can sell so that I can get another camera next Christmas.  The kids don’t need all those toys, do they?

Fluffy apple blossoms