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: http://www.richsoil.com/flea-control.jsp
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!?