Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hello I am sure you are wondering why I have been neglecting you

and there are so so so many reasons for that!

First of all, We are STILL infested and STILL not living at our house.

Secondly, a few weeks ago I decided to take down all mention of fleas on my site while we figured out what to do because we were looking at new places to rent. I didn't want to have my name googled and some potential landlord turn us down because of my blog! But now we have a game plan and we don't need to worry about that anymore! (KNOCK ON WOOD!) So I put back up my previous flea-post... and I feel free to talk about it. We ARE going to fight this with our landlord but I am not writing anything on here that I don't want to tell them anyways. Heck, maybe if they read this they'll feel bad and help out without any fight. We will see!

Thirdly: the past month every bit of free time has been spent progressing towards resuming a normal life.. and here is what we have been up to:

- constantly struggling with the unknown-future: should we try to move back in? Should we have orkin come again? (they have come twice so far) should we move out completely? Should we keep this item of furniture/clothing/etc or could it have flea eggs in it? Well, we did try to move back in. We thought they were gone. We were wrong and it was another huge heartbreak. So back to the hotel we went.

-- cleaning, de-flea-ing our old house. I am systematically wiping down (with pine sol which apparently kills or at least detracts fleas) every single thing we own and then bagging them in these gigantic zip lock bags that you can find at Menards. They are big enough to fit Cy in them. You can't even imagine the process. Every single item of clothing was washed in hot water and then dried for at least 60 minutes on high and then bagged. If it got ruined, so be it. All stuffed animals, shoes, etc spend a week in a ziplocked bag in a freezer before they leave the house. We use bags, not boxes to pack up our entire home because we found fleas in boxes in the house AND in deliveries out on the porch. We wear white socks when we enter the home that come up over our pants so that we can see the fleas on us and we don't get bit. We change in the garage before we leave the house. The garage has nice little mountain of white socks built up in it now. Nothing can touch the floor or it is "contaminated" with potential flea eggs (and orkin sauce!) Yadda yadda yadda the insanity goes on forever. Once our items are bagged, we move them to a newly rented storage unit. That way there is no chance of contamination... You should see our unit - filled with billions of huge bags that represent our lives. Crazy.

- We spent the entire last month at the Staybridge Inn & Suites in Bloomington - close to Cy's preschool and within sight of the ski hill where he takes his lessons. I highly highly recommend them as a fantastic hotel if you are ever traveling. We had a 1 bedroom suite so Patrick and I had our own bedroom and the boys slept out in the living area. Cy slept on a pull out and Arlo in the pack-and-play. Jackson was there too. It had a tiny little kitchen too. Quite "cozy." I can't believe we did that for a whole month! But we became friends with the staff and I was actually a bit sad to say goodbye when we left there this past Sunday. Arlo learned to walk there! And that is where we were staying when we bought our first house (oh yes we did!) So big things happened at that hotel. And they gave us an extended-stay, tax exempt rate which still came out to quite a chunk of money but it could have been a lot worse. Oftentimes I would come back with the boys after school and Jackson would be "working" with Sam at the front desk. Her "furry employee."  Other staff members would sneak Arlo bananas at night, praise Cy on his school projects, give him a free ice cream, calculate numbers for me & lend us all sorts of things one needs for regular life like scissors and tape, etc. The boys also enjoyed the huge breakfasts that were free every morning, free dinners three nights a week and an evening dip in the pool. It was just like a long vacation! (yea right)

- And then yes, we bought a house! We close November 15th (knock on wood.) Basically this whole fiasco forced us to show our hand. We knew we couldn't move back in. (I was just at our old house TODAY and had to wear bug spray because the fleas were eating me alive.) And it was time for Cy to be living in a good school district so buying a home was more appealing than renting. He will start kindergarten in the fall and I am excited to say that he gets to go to the same school that most of his preschool classmates will go to! And so with Nana as our realtor we began to look for a house and within a week we had made an offer. It's a 50's Edina rambler. Nothing sexy. But spacious, near a big park, with a big yard, lots of storage, a 2 car garage and three bedrooms upstairs (the master has it's own bathroom!!) and a guest bedroom with bath downstairs. Just right for us.

- So once we knew where we were going and when, we looked into temporary furnished apts. Because we knew we needed a place for one month. We found a three bedroom in Uptown - right near our old condo! Oh boy is it fun to be back!! I do wish we could just live here... but we would need to be millionares to afford a decent sized house and private school. Someday maybe, right?

So that's my quick little summary.

Emotionally it's been hard. The boys seem to be doing fine. Cy occasionally says he wishes he could go home which breaks my heart but then we dangle the new-house carrot in front of him and he is ok. My brain is still sort of frantic. The first month of this ordeal was surreal. One of the hardest things we have ever been through. (The risky pregnancy and preceeding loss were much much harder though - which actually is giving us some perspective through all this.) And now I am just dealing mostly with logistics, which is still overwhelming in so many aspects (time & money.)  Sadly we had to throw out ALL of our mattresses, box springs and upholstered furniture... (can you believe we had to PAY the garbage men almost $300 to haul our stuff away? money is just flying out of our hands thanks to those darn fleas!!!) Anyways,  I am daunted and excited to be planning new furnishings. I found a nice used (wood-frame-only) bed for Cy off Craigslist - it's lofted with a fort under it... But there is NO WAY I will be buying him his mattress or any of our upholstered items off Craigslist after all this. You can imagine why. So when I am not caring for the boys or cleaning & packing, the rest of my time is spent looking for new couches, chair and mattresses. Ikea here I come! (that part is fun!)

Anyways, It was cathertic to write on here again. It forces me to take a step back & try to explain our situation... and when I look at it from a distance I am in disbelief that this is happening to us! Thank you all for your kind words and prayers and if you are free on or after November 15th, please come paint or move some furniture! :) Beer is on us!


a SOB Story: reposted!

Hi. Let me tell you a little story.
After a whopping twenty four nights away, we made the long drive home last Sunday from Brookfield to our house in Edina. It went well and Patrick & I scrambled to get the majority of unpacking done right away when we got home so that we'd be all ready to start our really big week the next day. Patrick was swamped with work after his trade show the following week. Lots of new leads to follow up on. Lots of companies to get back to after being gone for a week. Cy, Arlo and I had a big week of starting all sorts of new activities. Last week marked the beginning of Cy's 3 day/week preschool, swim lessons, hockey lessons and Arlo's swim lessons and once/week two hour "school." So last Sunday, after working really hard to get unpacked and the house and boys settled, we finally flopped down into our comfy bed, totally exhausted. I remember saying "Ah finally back in my own bed!" after 24 nights away!

That's when we noticed the SOB's. Little black bugs were jumping all over the bed. We killed about 5-10 of them. We caught two of them and saved them. And then we said screw it (because, at that point, we had no idea just how bad it was) and we went to sleep! I remember laying on my side researching "Fleas" and "bed bugs" on my smart phone after we turned off the light and one of those dang SOB's jumped up and landed right on my screen. Literally landed right next to a picture of the same sized, same looking critter. That's when I was pretty sure we had FLEAS!

In hindsight, there were signs that we had fleas for a long time, maybe even the whole summer. Cy had some occasional bites on his back and legs that were itchy and always in a cluster. A few times I vacuumed all around his bed thinking he might have a spider nearby. But the kid is always outside, always covered in dirt. I figured he got the bites outside. Jackson has been an absolutely terrible sleeper this summer. Panting and pacing all night long. We finally got Arlo to sleep through the night and Jackson started keeping us up. Never scratching though. Just a ton of panting. Which I thought was caused by old age, a pretty bad gas problem and his constantly-infected ears (from swimming!)

As is usually the case with situations like this: at first we didn't realize just how bad it was. We thought it was just the dog. Just our room. Then little by little we realized that we are the victims of a full-blown infestation. Monday morning the boys were playing in their beloved playroom (after 24 days away!) I noticed a flea on Arlo's cheek! Then one on Cy's leg. Then I saw tons of them crawling on my socks. I grabbed the boys and a few things a left the house. I don't think the boys have been home since!

I am writing this while I sit in a hotel room in some suburb far north of where we live. This is our 4th hotel in one week. Like I said, you never know how bad it is at first. We keep reserving hotels in 1-2 night stints thinking we are going back home... We loved the last hotel but it was full this weekend.
Jackson has been treated with Frontline, Capstar and bath and groom. The groomer said he was one of the worst cases that she has ever seen. The "flea dirt" changed the color of his bath to a very deep brown-red (from blood!) and the said they bathed him and bathed him til the water ran clear. He is flea-free and back with the family. He is sleeping so peacefully now. I feel so bad for him.

Patrick & I have spent the past week treating our house ourselves. It has been an enormous and overwhelming undertaking. And we aren't even close to being done yet. If we aren't successful the pest guy is coming on Monday. He has a 6 day wait list so we figured we'd try all other NON_TOXIC methods ourselves in the meantime.

Patrick's parents have been incredibly helpful in taking care of the boys during a few days (last minute notice too!) so I could clean the house.

After talking to many people, including the vet, the groomer, the pediatrican even! And some pest-control guys. We decided to give this method a go:
Some guys say there's no way to get rid of them without pesticides. Some say just vaccuuming. Everyone says something different.

But it was just too heartbreaking to let the pest guys come in and cover all of our kids' toys, beds, furniture, etc with poison. We will do it if we have to but we had to give a try to way that seems much better for our kids.

So that's where we stand. Sob story: We are stiff, sore and tired from spending hours bent over vacuuming, moving furniture and breathing in (we wear masks) the fine powder we are using. We are sad to be spending our hard-earned money on hotels and flea-treatments. (Goodbye vacation fund!) I haven't run in ages. I am heartbroken to say I think I am going to have to pull out of the Twin Cities 10 Miler that I have been training for all summer. It is next week and I am too out of shape. After our long vacation and then this - my jeans are tight, I have a new tummy peeking out over my waistband and I am not in shape to run, much less race, 10 miles. Cy started his first week of preschool this week. It was sorta sad to wake up in a hotel room on his first day of school. But he did great and he loves it. The boys schedules are all off. Staying up way too late. Arlo has a huge molar breaking through. He's been waking up at night (I'm sure the people in the hotel love this.) But the boys LOVE the hotel. It is exciting and fun to them! And they swim every night which is a total treat for them!

So we are spending the weekend taking turns working on our house while the other parent stays with the kids. We do have a cleaning-girl helping us. She has been there two days for 4 hours and then is coming tomorrow for 4 more hours. Wish us luck!

I have so many great pictures and stories to share from our trip. We saw lots of family and old friends! Cy was a ringbearer at Lauren and Steve's wedding. We went to Madison. We went to Chicago! Someday I'll find a window of time to share them!

In the meantime, we are kissing and hugging our kids extra hard. Just happy to be healthy & together.

And, home is where the heart is, right!?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

a brief update

Just a little update:
Arlo started walking! He doesn't exclusively walk. He still chooses to crawl over walk but I saw him walk about 15 feet without stopping yesterday so I'd say he has officially become a walker! Yay Arlo. And he is almost the exact same age Cy was when Cy started walking which is funny because Arlo start crawling super early... but just ended up crawling longer.
As far as our situation goes -- I can't go in to a lot of details right now because things haven't changed much but we are looking for a house! I have been very busy trying to find our family a new place to live. I will definitely post any details on here when we figure out what we are doing!

Lots of love!
(ps: Cy got a haircut a day after these pics! His hair is crazy long here -- you can tell mommy has had a lot on her plate lately!)