Sunday, June 21, 2009

operation bleach

with my step-mom out of town and my kids gone (i am apparently less interesting than their new nintendo wii), i have started operation bleach.

this involves washing everything i own that is made of cloth in hot water and chlorine bleah. the high-efficiency washing machine we have has a bleach cup that allows me to pour chlorine bleach in, and then it sufficiently dilutes it before going into the clothes that it doesn't cause bleach stains on my clothing, yet i get the disinfectant benefits of the bleach.

once that's done, everything is going into a garbage bag and sitting in the back room, which has a tile floor. step-mom will love that.

we're now up to six bed bugs caught in the plastic bag, with at least two more that i was unable to catch. tomorrow the office chair goes outside, never to return.

step-mom is due home from her trip tomorrow. i'm sooooo not looking forward to the conversation when i pick her up, because i have to tell her about all this.

i do have an exterminator coming out on wednesday to give us an estimate. we'll see what he says.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

creepie crawlies

back in december, i spent a week in a motel room paid for by a trucking company while attending their orientation and training. while in the room, i'd seen a creepie crawlie and casually flicked it away off the bed. i'm a big boy -- most buildings, especially older ones -- have a certain amount of critterage in them.

when i got home i broke out in an incredible number of bites, on the order of hundreds, all over my body. some googling for bug bites and pictures of what was affecting me produced a horrifying possibility: bed bugs.

as i read about them, i read that they're very hard to get rid of. they're tenacious, hide anywhere, and are not phased by the usual assortment of traps, fogs, and sprays. i myself am living proof that they can cause pretty bad allergic reactions; i have a body chemistry that has always attracted insect bites, and i get large welts from them.

but exactly what are they? some people i talked to thought that they're not real, that "don't let the bed bugs bite" is something to say to children. i learned that they're very real parasites that feed on sleeping humans. they dislike light, and are attracted to body heat and carbon dioxide (respiration). you can read more about them as you wish.

in any event, when i came back and realized what had happened, i turned my bed upside down and washed all my clothing that had gone to the motel; washed all the bed clothes that had been in my room; and then did it all again, and then i hoped for the best.

i stayed home for two and a half weeks and then packed off to live on the truck for a while. literally a few minutes before i left ... i found a bed bug in my bed. i showed it to my step-mom and she rewashed everything. all well and good, and she hoped for the best. despite my concern that it wouldn't get rid of them, she was content.

when i came back in late january, i started getting bites in very strange places. i do not normally mosquito get bites on, for example, my knuckles. as time has worn on, however, i've started getting them there, on the tops and soles of my feet, and so on. i get long streams of them -- 8 and 10 at a time -- down my sides, sometimes while sitting in a plush chair in front of my desk.

in the past couple of weeks, i've started to see blood smears on my sheets. these come from the wound when i'm bitten, of course, but if you don't realize what you're looking at, it could be anything from the blood of a popped zit to a scratch you didn't know you had.

earlier this week i thought i sighed a couple bugs, but i was unable to actually catch them. it turns out they can move pretty fast, and since they don't like the light, they make a beeline for dark spaces pretty quickly.

today, however, i managed to catch one. it was sitting on my pillow as i crawled into bed ... i was able to get back out of bed without disturbing it, and i managed to catch it in a zip lock bag. (because this first bag had a hole in it, i put it into another one, so the bug wouldn't escape through the hole.)

now the joy is telling my step-mom. she has an irrational reaction to vermin; she believes that if only things were clean enough, they wouldn't be a problem. which is fine for most kinds of critters, but bed bugs don't respond to cleaning, because they don't feed on cracker crumbs, cheese bits, and pieces of dropped hamburger. they feed on sleeping people. getting rid of the bed bugs requires getting rid of the sleeping people, which, in a bedroom, isn't particularly feasable.

so i've been holding off telling her my suspicions until i could actually verify them with direct evidence, like a bug in a bag. now i have one.

and oh how i'm not looking forward to her reaction.

i'm actually looking forward to her reaction less than i'm looking forward to turning my room upside down to treat them.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

RSS feeds

i added the rss feed thingie for those of you who want it.

new beginnings

as the one of you who actually follows my blog actually knows, over the past year i've been separated from my wife pending finalization of our divorce. i have refrained from writing here for a number of reasons.

first, i was, and remain, pretty depressed, and honestly not much good has happened to me. for a while my writing sounded like nothing more than whining, and really, how much of that can anybody stand to read, much less write?

second, when i pretty well stopped writing, my marriage was disintegrating and i was trying to hold it together. since she knew where this blog was, and could presumably read it, i felt constrained in what i could say about my frustrations with the situation, so i chose, in part, to say nothing.

however, as of june 3, that is over. we went to trial and came to an agreed settlement. i'm waiting on the final text of the order, but the divorce is final, and i am single, and what she thinks of the blog matters much, much less, assuming she even bothers to check it anymore, and i doubt she does.

i must confess i'm a little sad about it. whatever my failings as a husband (and they were legion -- some of her complaints really did have merit) i liked being married, i wanted to stay married, and i wanted to reconcile. i didn't get married lightly, and i wanted to be one of those people who only did it once.

of course, it's pretty hard to stay married to someone who doesn't want to stay married, and she didn't want to. she did, it seems, everything within her power to drive me away. after (at the time) 14 years in aa, it was pretty obvious to anybody who knew me even casually that i don't smoke pot and i don't drink alcohol, and it's a reasonable leap from there to believe i don't want them in my home. sue made a show of smoking pot (that she got from her lover, whom she didn't really bother to hide) in front of me, and of course refused to moderate or conform her behavior to anything like what an adult might expect.

our relationship since then has been tense and uneasy. she periodically calls me by my dad's name, in essence saying i'm just like him. so i usually respond by calling her by her brother's name, who killed himself with alcohol (literally). that has happened less commonly recently, although i expect it to pick back up again for a while now that she's angry the way the property settlement happened. this weekend would have ordinarily been my weekend with the kids, but she's gone uncommunicative again, so when i asked about arrangements for getting them, her response was, we already have plans, you should have asked sooner.

i was really sad, honestly, seeing her in court. she looked like hell, angry and disheveled, with heavy circles under her eyes. i wore a suit with a tie, since we were going to be in court; she wore her slut outfit, something i'd have asked her to wear to a titty bar or rock concert. it was some kind of baggy dress, with a v-neck so low you could almost see her nipples (which is saying something), backless, sleeveless, and cut to about the knee. she wore no bra, no panties that i could see, open sandals, and no makeup. it's like she really has turned into trailer trash. the only thing missing was the cigarette, which of course was in her purse.

so now we restart. maybe next post, some plans, things i want to do now that i'm (relatively) free. at least i don't have to get her approval or support anymore, because some people might think what i want to do is kind of outlandish.