After trying to start the engine Saturday, and again on Sunday, and not having any success, Gene and I have come to the ugly conclusion that somehow we messed up the timing process. Maybe it’s the timing gears, maybe incorrect positioning of the flywheel, could very well be both, maybe something else. Consultations with the usual suspects are ongoing.
So, although by now I know your patience must be wearing thin (I know mine is), you’re just going to have to wait a little longer while Gene and I come up with a repair strategy and implement it. But Sunday night, I tell ya, I felt just like Charlie Brown does after Lucy pulls the football away. Argh!
After all this disappointment probably the only thing that will cheer you up is a good story, and even better, one where I’m the butt of the joke. Remember the post I did a while back called “Goldilocks Buys a bed.” There was even a follow-up, Goldilocks Buys a Bed, The ‘Rest’ of the Story.” Did any of you ask yourselves at the time, why does he need a new bed?” Well, to answer that question, here now is the “prequel” to that story. And by the way, this is one of those stories that is so painful (both literally and figuratively) to tell, that only this passage of time has made it possible.
Last spring The Princess and I took a trip out to the Midwest. It was 2000 miles roundtrip. This naturally involved overnight stays in motels, hotels and inns across half a dozen states. The Princess is a stickler when it comes to hotel rooms, so we’re always pretty darn careful to stay in above average places, and only after she has seen the room and given it The Princess Seal of Approval (PSOA). So, although The trip was grueling, we always had a nice place to lay our heads at night and mostly good meals.
When we returned home I began sleeping alone in the guest bedroom on a regular basis, because the bed in the master bedroom had been giving me back aches. A couple of weeks after the trip I woke up one morning with a cluster of what appeared to be insect bites on my leg. They burned, then itched and in general looked pretty nasty. I didn’t think too much of it that first morning, but when a few days later I got another cluster of stinging, itching bumps on the other leg, I quickly put two and two together and got six, hell maybe eight! This was the start of Phase 1, Fear. I thought, ok, something is biting me while I’m in bed. We’ve just been traveling and staying in all kinds of different beds from here to Timbuctoo. Oh my god, it’s BEDBUGS!
And so the saga began. The Princess was horrified, immediately laying the blame on the one historic inn we stayed at where the person showing us the room said, “We had a woman claim once that we had bed bugs, but that was baloney; we’ve never had ’em.” We flew into action, gritted our teeth and did a thorough search of my mattress, bedding, and everything else in that bed room. On one of my sweaters, sitting near the bed we found a tiny dead bug, which heightened our concern. Like an idiot though I flushed it down the toilet, and there went any forensic proof we might have had of what? Not taking anything to chance we emptied that entire room. The mattress and box spring went down to the garage, and all the bedding and clothing went into Hefty bags, also out into the garage. I vacuumed that room “six ways to Sunday.”
I don’t remember the exact timing, but after taking refuge in Cindy’s bed, one morning soon after the last batch of bites, I woke up with the now familiar stinging sensation, and sure enough a new cluster, this time on my thigh. This is where we entered what I’d call Phase 2, All Out BedBug Warfare. I had consults with my doctor, a phone conversation with a bug specialist at NC State University and a visit from a highly recommended exterminator. During this period, I moved out of the marital bed and began sleeping on the living room couch. But strangely, as days continued to go by Cindy never got any of the red clusters of bites. The Doctor and Scientist both waffled, saying you can’t tell by looking at red spots, what caused them. The exterminator examined the rooms and beds and came up with nothing definitive. He even had an explanation for why we could have bedbugs even though only one person was being bit. The answer? Bottom line, the buggers liked me better, great!
In terms of treatment, he explained that even though there are a bunch of “quack” remedies out there, the only thing that works is heat treatment. In the heat treatment you have to vacate the rooms, one at a time, raise the temperature very high for a fairly prolonged period and put loads of cash into his wallet. This will kill the offending critters and your budget. Making me feel worse, he did a lot of nodding of his head as I described my red spots. “Yeah, yeah sounds a lot like bedbugs.” Crap. He did offer one ray of light. He said that since his visual inspection was inconclusive, we should go the next step and bring in a K-9 unit that’s trained to sniff out bedbugs and bedbug feces. I know, yuck!
So that’s how we entered Phase 3, Scout the Wonder Dog. The exterminator got hold of Jeremiah Smith, head honcho at LogosK9. On his business card it said “NESDCA Certified Canine Bedbug Inspections.” My goodness, did you ever dream? When he showed up, holy Moses, The Princess practically swooned. Her words, “I thought he was a real nice piece of wool!” In advance we’d been given a full-page of does and don’ts for the inspection, stuff like don’t cook anything strong smelling the day of the inspection, don’t leave pet food out, and don’t interact with the dog while he is sleuthing. Right, “Hey Scout, you find bedbug feces, I’ll hit you hard with the heel of my shoe.”
The inspection began with “hot stuff” talking soothingly to the Princess, ostensibly to calm her down, while his partner brought Scout, a nervous little Jack Russel Terrier, into the house. They covered all three floors including the fourth floor attic. We could hear his little claws clicking on the hard wood floors, up, down, into the garage with the mattresses and Hefty bags full of bedding. Jeremiah said that the dog’s sense of smell is so acute that we didn’t even have to open the bags. If there were bedbugs in there, he’d smell them right through the bag. This went on for an excruciating amount of time. We heard the front door open and close a few times, more clicking paws, more time. Sheesh!
Jeremiah and his partner finally came back into the dining room where we’d been sequestered. “You don’t have bedbugs and you never did. Scout doesn’t make mistakes, but to be doubly sure we brought in our back-up dog and he didn’t find anything either. You guys are clear.” And with that Scout was out of our lives (and sadly for The Princess, Jeremiah too), and Phase 3 drew to a close.
But in Phase 4 we consider, What the Hell Was That All About. I came up with one more cluster of red, burning, itchy spots while sleeping on the couch, but just as mysteriously as it all began, it all just went away. A theory that appeals to me, which was suggested by my doctor and found plausible by the scientist, was that these things I was getting were a delayed reaction from the tick bites I’d gotten earlier, remember…while I was stealing the hub caps? They called it urticaria, saying it can take a lot of forms, but it’s essentially hives.
With nothing better to explain it, that’s the diagnosis we’re going with, and we move on to Phase 5, What Have we Learned Here. First, never throw-out the mattresses until Scout’s been out to see you. Second, sometimes two and two add up to nuthin. And third, never steal stuff, it’ll generally come back to haunt you.
Thanks for reading…jeez my ankle itches…what the….