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.

21 thoughts on “Nature Wants To Kill Me

    1. Thanks Aaron! We’re currently at an undisclosed location in the hills of southern Indiana getting some much needed R&R. When we get home the house will be a shell, but bug-free.

      Nothing cures the soul more than a wooded vacation and maybe even some record buying!

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  1. Hay brother’ is pestilence infestation covered upon your home insurance?

    ‘From what I have heard, you have to hose down the family with a fire hose, and shave the wife. And to rid the Bed Bugs you have to either burn down the home or open all doors and windows in the dead of winter and bring down the home’s interior temperature to minus 370 degrees Fahrenheit.

    ‘Ain’t no bugs on me’ Ain’t no bugs on me’ might be bugs on some of you mugs, but there ain’t no bugs on me.

    I can’t even handle an platoon of ant scouts marching across the kitchen counter without freaking out, but that’s because I once stepped upon and stood there on a black ants nest when I was three years old, it left me seriously messed up. And watching the Outer limit’s Episode the ‘Zanti – Misfits’ didn’t help ease my Ant Phobia.

    ‘(The only Sci Fi stories that come close to a Bed Bug infestation, would be a story first posted in OMNI Magazine – 1979. ‘Sand-kings a short story by ‘George R.R. Martin. Scared the hell out of me when I first read that one – (You don’t see those (Bed Bugs’ Building fortified Sand Castles in the closet or corner of the room, or worse they haven’t built a Sand statue in your likeness have they???

    ‘(Outer Limits did a Episode on Sand –Kings as well’ but reading the story’ left me messed up’. ‘ Let me know how ridding of the Bed Bugs turns out for you’ But do know the only sure way is to ‘Nuke it From Orbit’! 🙂

    ‘Good Luck there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I checked on the homeowner’s thing and it doesn’t cover bug infestation, sadly.

      As for the Outer Limits, this last week has felt like an Outer Limits episode, for sure.

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      1. I forgot to mention to Clean your cars as there have been a few cases where they have hitch on to clothing and gotten into the floor carpet and seats in a car. Vacuum your cars at the town car wash.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh brother do I feel your pain, in this Bed Bug infestation. And there are a lot of these infestations going around. They are not just in the mattress, they come out in the nighttime in the dark like do the Cockroaches, big name Hotels are infesting the guests, it really back on the east coast and Chicago.

        ‘If You Smell Almonds it 99 percent Bed Bug farts, and move on, your best bet brother is to rent out rooms in Bed and Breakfasts – because those are homes and mansions where the owners live so they are far less likely to be infested with any bugs. Most money, but we’ve stayed in some really cool places and they make ‘breakfasts, and have complementary wine.

        ‘We honeymooned in a huge mansion in Calistoga in Napa Valley when we got married. People are going to hotels and unpacking their suit cases putting their clothing into the dresser drawers as happened to you. There is a ‘tell – ‘tell sign’ to detect them, in sniffing around the bedding, the dresser drawers curtains for the scent of Almonds.

        ‘The little bastards like to lay eggs and hang out behind wall mounted pictures and art. Even inside the Stereo Speakers. As well as infest and lay eggs into the seams of window curtains.
        And in the pages of books. You pretty much have to nuke it from Orbit. Yah I have a friend that travels to different citied for her work, and gets Hotel rooms.

        ‘She brings in her non fabric suit case, and in it she has all of her clothing stored within plastic vacuum sealed bags, takes out what she need, and nothing gets put in a drawer outside of the plastic burp bags. People are getting cash busted over having to rip their homes apart of this. And the Hotels are getting away with it. Many hotels have a annual Pesticide contract, because they get called in a lot to spray for Bed Bugs and Roaches. I don’t even travel these days after learning of how many people are getting infested by them.

        ‘Guy you’re going to have to double check everything you do not toss, like open every Record LP and inspect the inside and sleeve. I hear Bug Fog Bombs work well, as calling in an exterminator can run in the many hundreds. You have to vacuum a lot, even if you lay new Carpets. Get a paperless canister vacuum and then you can empty the dust out into a gallon zip – loc freezer bag. If you bag and take clothing and bedding to the laundry mat, you need to use very hot water in the wash. You really want to habitually redundantly clean and inspect so you don’t get re – infested. Enjoy your time away, and sleeping in a real bed. Take care brother.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Argh! That’s just a bit of an inconvenience, eh? Lordy. Well, I’m glad everything is in place to ensure that normal business will be resumed from tomorrow. Proper rest awaits you. As do records. Ales and tortilla chips, too. You deserve it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sorry you’re going through this nightmare! If anything, it’s a good reminder to check for these pests when going to hotels. I haven’t heard much about them up here, but maybe because they are so common, news about them is boring? Anyways, hope you guys hit the ground running very soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, until now I never thought much of it. Seemed like something you’d find in $25 a night “no tell motels”. Definitely not the case.

      The house is pretty much gutted, so we’re starting from scratch in that respect. I’ll just sleep in my car on trips from now on.

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