spooky music note 10.30.11

bird in the hand

spider web














 A Scary Story:    Bedbugs


What saved me:   Country Music

                                                                                                                                                 another true story by Val






    Once Upon a Time...  
.. there was a mom named Val. She has two boys in college. One night she was at a birthday party - a fun girls' night out  - drinking wine and dancing to music and laughing.  When suddenly her phone rang.  An angry young voice shouted out the scariest words she's ever heard:  "Mom, I have bedbugs."  In Val's head she heard the needle on the record scratch zzzzz.  The party ended right then and there.

You see, Val was very happy that her kids never had lice, her dog never had fleas, and her basement never had mold. Those are the scary things a mom never wants to deal with. The hugeness of those scary monsters puts a nice mom over the edge. She will, in fact become a wicked witch overnight. Everyone else in the house goes ahead with daily life...  but the killing and disposing of these monsters depends on the magic potions and brews only a mom can concoct.  Her anger and frustration are the secret ingredients - for anything that interrupts a mom's fun girls' night out will be the target of her rage.

My son John didn't see any bugs.  But he had a  weird rash - that turned into three bites in a row the next day - a telltale sign it's bedbug bites.  The University checked the room.  No sign.  The roommate wasn't getting bitten. They weren't convinced. Maybe John had a food allergy? Hives?  I'm 800 miles away texting and leaving voicemails for John who would text me back,  "mom, chillax!"  Okay, here's a typical (male) college student who thinks if he ignores it, all will go away.  Meantime, more bites. AGH!  I google everything I can get my hands on - and become a specialist in bedbuggery.  Parents' weekend is in a week - I wait and figure I'll scope out the room myself when I get there. That's when my nightmare begins.

We find out that his roommate now has bites all over his back. John has more. The school finally reveals that the girls two rooms down brought the bugs. They opened a bin from summer storage and the bugs came out. They travel fast.  Now the boys must move out so they can treat the room.  And because bedbugs travel on clutter (they're called hitchhikers) we must be uber careful not to bring one bug to the new room. The roommate's parents are hardly speaking to their son because he hadn't told them a thing about any of this (why get them riled up he thought). The boys are miserable. They admit they haven't slept in weeks, they're sleeping in friends' rooms, they sleep with one eye open - it becomes a head trip - you think the bugs are everywhere.  And midterms are coming up.  

So I volunteer to extend my trip and help them move.  I had no idea what I'd signed up for. But soon found out. I first had to explain/brainwash the boys what a big deal this is. They didn't get it. They were exhausted and this was such an interruption of their fun (tell me about it.)  Every single thing they own must be put in a hot dryer for 30 minutes.  Bedbugs can't tolerate heat and this is 100% effective. Ironically (I think a gift from above) I had a laundry room down the hall from my hotel room. I never see laundry rooms in hotels - why this one?  I was grateful. I instructed the boys to put every article of clothing and cloth (including wall banners, computer bags, shoes, blazers, bedding) in plastic trash bags and tie them tight.  I sprayed the trunk of my rental car with bedbug spray and transported the bags back and forth to hot dry everything. It took 4 days to do it all. I'm sure I looked so suspicious in the hotel parking lot cameras. Every day I called to extend my stay for one more day.  Every day I took big trash bags out of my trunk. I know, scary. But we got the job done and the boys moved into a new room, nestled into their bug-free beds and went to sleep. A Rumpelstiltskin sleep. 

The experience was exhausting. By day three I was slaphappy, and half crazy - mainly because you're doing all this work and you're not completely convinced the bugs won't come back. But one thing saved me - totally saved me - the country music on the radio.  Okay, I'm not a huge fan of country. But every time I jumped into that damned rental car the DJ shouted "K95 all country all the time!!"  The lyrics and story telling sass that shouted from that dashboard were mesmerizing - and hilarious - and uplifting. They got in my blood. To the point where I couldn't wait to run another errand - just to listen to the radio - my new B.F.F.  I howled and screamed and sang along,  "I traded her in for a fishing boat,"    "I want you to love me like my dog loves me,"   "Tell your daddy..."     "Crazy women aren't born like this - they're made by crazy men,"   "And I don't even know his last name..."   John and I had a blast in that car and decided to start talking with a country twang. Guess you had to be there.  I'm sharing some country lovin' in my playlist below.  You'll twang too.



(Owner/Founder Valslist.com)



More Creepy Crawly Bedbug Facts:       


(from my other new B.F.F. - an exterminator who specializes in bedbugs)

  • Bedbugs come out at dawn - between 4-6 am - and feed for 2 minutes then run and hide
  • Bedbugs are small but not invisible. Some telltale signs that bugs were present are tiny drops of blood on pillow or sheets, molted skin shells, they are size of poppy seed to apple seed.
  • They have an analgesic in their saliva so you don't feel when they bit you. 
  • They prefer human over animal to feed on
  • They are attracted to the carbon dioxide we exhale
  • Bedbug bites usually appear first like a rash - might take 5 days to appear
  • Later the rash turns into bites that present in 3's - often called breakfast, lunch and dinner 
  • Bedbugs do not carry disease - it's more dangerous to be in a room with mosquitoes
  • When traveling, best place for your suitcase is in the hotel bathtub
  • In a hotel, instead of checking the mattress for bedbugs, check behind the headboard
  • Bedbugs can't tolerate heat - put your clothes in a hot dryer for 30 min - problem solved
  • They travel on clutter - luggage, computer bag, shoes, pant cuffs
  • They reproduce very fast - eggs hatch in 6 days then you're in trouble
  • If you SEE bugs in the room, you have a serious case of infestation
  • Bedbugs will travel 20 feet to feed.  If your roommate's not there, they'll find you next
  • Bedbugs have a fear pheromone - if you spray, they can alert the other bugs to run or play dead
  • They can go into "dormant" state for up to a year - where they don't need to eat
  • They love to hide in cracks & crevices (most dorm beds are wood crate) and in welting of mattresses
  • Rubbing Alcohol kills bugs/eggs on contact
  • If you must use chemical sprays, these products are safer: Gentrol, Bedlam, Suspend.  Chemical treatments usually require a few visits a week apart - to make sure they get the eggs. 
  • Best method for treating infested rooms is heat treatment (but it's 3 x's cost) - they heat room to 140 degrees - this method is best for dorms, hospitals, retirement homes because you don't need to move out. They call heat treatment  "One and Done."
  • There's also a freeze method called InstantFreeze.
  • Bedbugs do not fly or jump.  But they can run fast.   Damn.
  • Vapona strips are effective when put in bins with items - lid closed - bugs will die within a week
  • Products with Chrysanthemum flowers ingredient are effective (maybe Ortho Home Defense?)
  • "Bombing" treatment only aggravates the bugs - not recommended







A Country Potion  (a collection from Val's car radio)


listen/download here 







One more trick. This one's a treat. 


The Goat Rodeo Sessions - Teaser Three
The Goat Rodeo Sessions - Teaser Three






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