For roughly the past six months, we have been struggling with a compounding problem: pests. Namely, rodentia and fleas. On any given night, we have observed in horror, the sounds of scurrying little roof-rat feet in the rafters above, only to watch them flit back and forth across the power line running across our back porch into a large bush. At first we were content to sit back and let them be. I’ve read Watership Down. I get it. They were here first. It would be a crime against nature to obliterate these poor creatures who are just foraging for bedding material in our attic insulation. Since they were only in the attic crawl space and not entering our living quarters, I felt it appropriate: live and let live. We could abide the scurrying nocturnal feet so long as it stopped there.
And for a while, it did.
Then the fleas came. Insignificant at first. Tolerable. Surely they were coming from elsewhere and we were just lax in treating the dog. Like our furry friends above, I was content to coexist with an occasional parasite. But they had to throw down the microscopic gauntlet. I wish I had photo-documented the evidence of my child, covered in dozens of flea bites…I had underestimated these voracious vermin. Fleas are the oft-overlooked 11th plague, as it turns out. No amount of flea-bathing, diatomaceous-earth sprinkling (that’s a story in and of itself), advantage lathering and vacuuming could solve our problem. Perhaps this is all because we were overlooking the source of the fleas.
According to my mother-in-law, the fleas in Long Beach are extremely difficult to kill. We’re talking Bruce Willis fleas, here. So we did what any sensible people at the end of their ropes would do. After realizing the majority of the buggers were coming from the backyard, we quarantined it and called in professionals. Nearly $200 and many sleepless nights later (from fleas in the bed, both real and imagined) we are flea-free. For now. I suspect they will mount a comeback if we are not vigilant. And there’s still the problem of our neighbors above.
Again, happily coexisting, even in spite of the fleas, until yesterday when the smell(s) inside our house became unbearable. The two odors in question are:
- Raw sewage
- Burnt Flesh & Hair/Nair Scent
We immediately turned to google for our answers. Nine out of ten results pointed to: “dead animal.” I’m sure you can imagine what happens next:
It’s good to be the man. I get to crawl up into the attic in search of dead rodents! Of course. In my mind I’m expecting the worst, like some kind of tragic ending ala Stephen King’s Night Shift. And as if one good turn shouldn’t lead to another, while I didn’t come out with any dead animals, look what I found instead!
Yes, sir, yes sir, 3 bags full! Of baby girl clothing, partially devoured because our greedy ass guests upstairs couldn’t be content with insulation. So wifey and I spent some quality time and some cash at target to purchase slightly more chew-resistant storage solutions. Then began the sorting and salvaging of what remained of our chomped children’s clothing.
So now for the good news. After a week or so of coexisting, Vivi has opted to sleep in the big girl bed. I decided it was too much of a hassle to dismantle and remove the crib temporarily just to force her into the change. Now we all win: she gets to ease into the new bed, I don’t have to spend hours breaking down and setting up the crib again in a few months, and…that’s all I can think of for now.
Her sleeping companion, much to her mother’s chargin, is a large, sand filled serpent named “snakey”. I think this is thematically appropriate not only because it’s a departure from her usual Disney/Ariel obsession, but also because there is some subtext here in that snakes are one step above rats and mice on the food chain. Of course I’m not genuinely concerned about some roof rats crawling into bed to snuggle/infest my child with fleas, but that’s beside the point.
Speaking of Ariel/Disney obsession, did I mention what kind of sheets my daughter picked out when she went bedding shopping with my wife? I’ll give you three…no, wait. nevermind. It’s Ariel/PRINCESS SHEETS. As if that wasn’t bad enough, they’re made of…wait for it…velour! Sigh.
Up next – solo parenting: a dad’s perspective.