Friday, July 16, 2010

Flea Wars - An Attack of Obsessive Proportions

So, I took a few days off from posting.

Why, you ask?

Is it because I had a Psych exam I needed to study for? (Of course not - I often blog when I should be studying. I'm responsible and mature like that.) 
Is it, then, perhaps, because I've developed some kind of social life outside of my computer? (Stop laughing. It isn't THAT unreasonable.)
Maybe I just ran out of things to say. (I'll wait while you pick yourselves up off the floor. ROFL isn't really supposed to be literal, you know.)

No. My sabbatical had nothing to do with any rational reason. My sabbatical was due to something so evil, so nasty, so disastrous that I haven't wanted to be in my house, let alone to sit still in it long enough to type anything.

Fleas. Dirty, stinking, rotten FLEAS.

Now, many of you might point out that fleas don't typically bite humans. That really, the fleas are harmless, if annoying. That a good dose of flea medication and a new vacuum bag will fix the problem lickety-split. And that might have been the case, for any normal, rational, human being. But me? Heh. Heheheh.

Let me explain to you how this all played out.

It all started on Tuesday morning, with Kelly. (See? It's always Kelly's fault.) I awoke to an instant message from Kelly that went something like this:

My mother-in-law needs to take her cat to the vet, so you're watching my children this afternoon.

Okay, fine. It wasn't quite like that. She even said "please." She's usually pretty good like that. She'll say please even when she and I both know that her request isn't optional. 

So off I went to deal with children. Lovely children. Lovely, children who, for all intents and purposes, were attempting to drive me to the insane asylum quickly. The little munch awoke screaming, and remained screaming for quite a long time. And about the time that she went to sleep, Monkey Boy Chaos came out of his room protesting that he didn't WANT to nap because he needed to burn off some energy and that, by the way, did I know my phone had rung? All of this woke up the little munch again, and she promptly returned to screaming. It was glorious.

But, I digress.

I called Kelly back. I believe it went something like this:

What do you want, you horrible toad, and how dare you call me when your children (whom you can't see) are driving me crazy!

My mother-in-law's cat has fleas.

You called me to tell me about FLEAS? FLEAS?!? I don't care about FLEAS! And the phone rang, and your son came out to tell me, and that woke your daughter up, and now she's mad again, and this is all your fault, and you need to come home now so that I can hang you by your toes and beat you. Also, your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries.


You don't believe that was exactly how that conversation went either. Okay. FINE. I'm just trying to be entertaining here. I did not call her a horrible toad. Nor did I taunt her with insults from Monty Python.  Or threaten to hang her by her toes and beat her. 

The rest of it is true, though. I told her to bugger off, not to call me about fleas that were on a cat I didn't know, and hung up the phone.

And then, I started obsessing about fleas. I thought about fleas all night. (Though I'd have denied it at the time.) I came home, stared at The Super Duper Cooper Pooper Puppy and thought, what if he has fleas? He can't have fleas. Where would he have picked up fleas? And then I tried to read by Psychology book. 

Sometime around two in the morning, I gave in and checked him for fleas.

I found them. 

And promptly went off the Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder deep end. Usually, my symptoms are manageable these days. Usually, I stop short of doing anything completely crazy in the name of OCD. Usually, I just come across as anal with a side of persnickety thrown in. But fleas? that wasn't going to work for me.

Within two minutes, I had dragged my dog to the bathroom, turned on the shower, and shoveled him into it. And then, fully clothed, I jumped in behind him.

Yes, you did read that right. I took a shower, in my jeans, shirt, bra, and panties, with my dog, using a non-flea specific shampoo that I knew perfectly well would do absolutely no good. I wasn't stupid. I've been a dog owner for years. I know that you can't just wash fleas away. But in the shower we went, because it was either that, or run out of my house screaming.

By the end of the shower, I was kind of wishing I had run from my house screaming.

As I got wetter and wetter, covered in sopping sticky labrador hair, these thoughts ran through my mind at the rate of about 200 times per second.

He's been on my carpet. If they're on him, they must be on the carpet. And the couch. And in the car. Damn it, he's been in the car. That means the car is infested. And he sheds. The hair goes everywhere. It's on my walls. It's under my furniture. The fleas are everywhere and they're going to all hatch and then I'm never going to be able to get rid of them and my house will be filled up with fleas and people will think that I'm filthy and...

This dog sleeps in my bed. He's been in my BED. On my blankets. And my sheets. And he has fleas. Which means there must be fleas on my blankets. And my sheets. So they're dirty and I can't sleep on them. 

Oh FRACK. I'm out of laundry detergent. I can't wash my bedding if I have no laundry detergent. And my grocery store closed two hours ago. And anyway, my dog is sopping wet, so I can't leave him loose in the house while I go to the other grocery store.


I'll have to vacuum tomo.... ARGH! The vacuum isn't working either! Why did my vacuum have to stop working just before we got fleas?

MY HOUSE IS INFESTED! It isn't clean! It'll never be clean! And I'm covered in wet dog hair. And the fleas aren't dying. And how did I let him get fleas in the first place? I have an exam on Thursday morning, I don't have time to disinfect my house tomorrow. I still need to read 250 pages of textbook.

I can't have fleas. This is unacceptable. I quit.

And then I went and jumped off a bridge. 

Or not. But I kind of wanted to. Because, irrational though my actions were, my thoughts were actually quite accurate. I had fleas. They were probably everywhere. I had no laundry detergent and my vacuum wasn't working. 

An hour after climbing into the shower in my clothes, my soaking wet Labrador and I emerged. I stripped myself of the jeans (because wet denim is miserable) and, without bothering to put on pants (as it was now three in the morning), I hauled Cooper to the patio.

Where I ran into my neighbor, Jenny.

Let me repeat that for those of you who missed it. I went outside, wearing only a wet shirt, wet bra, and wet polka dotted underwear, with my dripping wet labrador, at three in the morning - and ran into my neighbor.

Luckily, I'm not shy and she isn't easily offended. After exchanging some general information on fleas, I went back inside and took my SECOND shower of the night. That is, after I used drain cleaner to unclog the massive amounts of flea-infested labrador hair from my shower drain.

My second shower lasted almost an hour too. It took me that long to rid myself of the wet fur coat of labrador hair that was covering me.

Of course, I didn't really want to go to sleep in my bed. Or on my couch. Or on my floor. It was nearly four-thirty in the morning by now anyway. The couch did finally win my sleep for a couple of hours, but as soon as I woke up, I put on clothes and left the house. I didn't want to EAT here with the fleas, after all.

And, when I returned, I went to the patio. I read nearly all 250 pages of my textbook sitting on the patio, because I didn't want to go inside. I did, of course, eventually sleep, with the aid of some pharmaceuticals I have just for obsessive-meltdown occasions such as these. (Did I mention that I REALLY don't deal well with contamination?)

Today, the dog got a bath with flea and tick shampoo. And he got combed, twice, with a flea comb. And he got medicine put on him. The floor was vacuumed, sprayed, and vacuumed again. Ditto the couch. The bed is in the washing machine as we speak. Every square inch of this living room has been sprayed for fleas. Tomorrow morning, I will do it again.

Maybe I'll bomb when I go to Lockhart this weekend.

I'm at war here, people. It's me or the fleas, and last time I checked, they don't pay rent. Nasty, interloping free riders. Just ask the ants I did battle with last November how I feel about nasty, interloping free riders in my apartment? Oh, wait. You can't. They're all DEAD.

The Super Duper Cooper Pooper Puppy deserves a medal for tolerating obsessive scrubbing, brushing, grooming, and medicating for two days running.

As for me, I think I may have created a new definition of insanity. Nothing says nuts quite like showering with your clothes on to kill fleas that you know you can't kill with what you have on hand. Don't worry, though. Soon, the men in white coats will come to take me away (ha ha, ho ho, he he). Or, you know. I'll suck it up and deal with it. And vacuum. Frequently. 

Because, well, it's just what I do.

And you can never vacuum too much anyway, right?

I hate fleas. *cries*

*Bobs, Destroyer of Fleas

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