Oh the fun of taking family vacations.
So, this year, as usual, I sent my wife and daughter up to Colorado to spend time with her family for a few weeks.
Then I was to head up and pick them up and then go and visit my mom in Nebraska.
I should have known the day before, that it was going to be one of those vacations.
Friday July 6th - the day I had planned on leaving, I took my car in for an oil change and tire rotation. Just before pulling into the garage, my check engine light pops on. Crap. My vehicle also needs its yearly inspection, and I know that they won't pass it when that light is on.
So I ask them to diagnose it and let me know. A bit later they call, and tell me that my crankshaft sensor is out. WTF? This is pretty important as it deals with the timing of the engine and stuff. Sigh. So I have them replace it and that sets me back a nice $550.
It also pushes back my departure by a day. Oh well. I take off the next day and get to Nebraska. At my mom's house, we discover that my dog may have fleas. I buy some frontline crap and no longer thought anything about it, since it appeared to work.
A Few days later, I head out to Colorado to pick up my family. On the way, I drive through one of the areas that had been hit by one of the fires there. Talk about devastation. 1,000 of acres are wiped out. Everything is black.
I pick up my wife and child, and proceed back to Nebraska and enjoy listening to the horror story of how her family's reunion went. (I thankfully decided not to attend... on purpose).
Back in Nebraska the visit with the family goes fairly well, with the exception of my sister's (Not Devon) new step-son who is a complete jack-ass and spoiled brat. If they would only have let me make him cut his own switch and then administer some well deserved discipline. Oh well.
Sunday July 16th: - Finally, it's time to go home. After a nice 10 hour drive. After driving 2,500 miles (entire trip), we get home to Dallas around 8pm on Sunday evening. I've gotta work the next day, so I'm ready to hit the bed.
We walk into the house. As soon as I step on the carpet, my legs are immediately assaulted by FLEAS. Not one, not two, but possibly hundreds... The tops of my socks turn black from how many have jumped on. My daughter and wife promptly freak out (I don't blame them) and I walk through the entire house to discover that every room has been infested.
The theory: The dog is the only animal in the house that goes outside. She brought one or a few in before I left, and when I left, I turned the temperature on the AC up to 78. Fleas love it nice and warm. They also enjoy feeding off of hosts, which our three cats provided them with. So, for 10 days, our poor cats were fed upon, and the fleas multiplied exponentially.
I put the family up in a Hotel, and begin cleaning the house. Drop powder on all the carpets and vacuum. Basically up until 3am cleaning and stuff. Call into work to tell them I won't be in on Monday. Can tell that my boss is pissed. Oh well, family first.
Monday - I get an exterminator out as fast as possible. He treats the yard and the house. We also begin to wash all our clothes, sheets, towels, pillows, etc... BUT.... Our dryer decides to break down.... Seriously???
Thankfully, our neighbors are great and allow us to bring over our clothes that have been washed and dry them in their dryer. Again, I'm up until 2am cleaning the house.
Tuesday - Whatever the exterminator used, didn't work. Ugh. Cleaning begins in earnest. We bomb the house for the first time. My boss calls me into work and dresses me down for not coming in on Monday and half of Tuesday. Thinks that a flea infestation is something I should be able to get a handle on pretty quickly. WRONG. Apparently he's never had a flea infestation. They're as bad as Bed Bugs. I'd rather have lice then fleas. Anyways, he revokes my work from home privaleges. Money is getting tight... the new dryer won't arrive until Thursday and cost us another $650. The exterminator cost $250. The hotel my family is staying is costing almost $100 a night. We've spent about another $400 for sprays, powders, fogs, and bags and containers to put our clean clothes and stuff in. We are also eating out every day since we haven't had time to get any groceries, nor would we cook anything in the house anyways. Shit is adding up fast and wiping out our meager savings.
I finish out the day, go home, and promptly have a nice panic attack.... Stress level is super high. My hands are tingling, which I know is a sign of high blood pressure. So I take my BP... 160/105. HOLY SHIT! Call my on-call doctor and ask for some Xanax or Klonopin... She won't give me any (isn't my regular doc) because she's afraid it maybe heart related. Whatever, I've had panic attacks before, I know what they are. She wants me to go to the ER. Fuck that. I'm not paying for an ER visit, nor am I going to wait 6-8 hours in the ER just to get some medicine. Instead, I promptly down 3-4 shots of tequila, which helps relax me, and I finally get my BP down into a safer range.
Wednesday - Wife is now having panic attacks since she is the only one home to do any cleaning, since I have to work. Her heart rate is constantly around 120. Oh joy. She calls her family, and gets her father to fly down. Thank God.
Thursday - Thorough cleaning begins in earnest. And I mean thoruogh. We go through room-by-room. Everything is moved and vacuumed under. Beds, chairs, etc... are sprayed above and under. Floorboards are sprayed to create a "boundry" and anywhere where carpet ends or edges up against something gets sprayed. Anywhere the cats could get to has to be wiped down. Top of counters, shelves, cupboards, etc... (due to the excessive amount of flea shit laying around... Flea shit will turn red when it gets wet because fleas shit blood. Who knew?)
The animals all get very thorough flea baths... and my arms promptly get shredded thanks to the cats.
Friday - House is fogged for the 2nd time. I go to the Vet. I get a pill for the dog. Comfortis is it's name I think. She eats it, and within 15 minutes, any flea that may bite her will die. Good for a month. (And so far it appears to be working very well! We comb the animals out every day to check flea status, and we've only found one on her since she took the pill).
I take all three cats to the vet. All three get a pill that will kill any fleas on them for 24 hours. They also get a good dosing for Frontline. Hopefully this double-punch will be a knock-out punch for the fleas. Since it's a new vet for them, they also get examined for worms and what not, which means they get a probe stuck up their ass. Needless to say they were very unhappy when we got home. Overall Vet bill - $300+
Saturday - Cleaning continues. About half the house is done. All day is spent cleaning.
Sunday - We take a bit of a break and go see Batman. Get back and fog the house for a 3rd time.
Monday - Thursday - Clean, clean, clean, spray, spray, clean some more. Still finding live fleas here and there. I have swept, mopped, and vacuumed the entire house every day since the Monday after getting home.
My Father-in-Law and daughter fly back to Colorado. Daughter was still wary of staying in the house even though it was now 99.5% flea free. Hotel cost for the past however many days - $500. Plane ticket to Colorado - $150
Friday - Thursday - Clean all the dishes, vacuum, sweep, rinse, repeat. Clean, clean, clean... Treated back yard for the 3rd time.
Friday (Jul 27th) - Present - Still sweepting and vacuuming the entire house every day. Still finding an occasional flea. House is 99.9% flea free, and will be fogging the house again for the 4th time this weekend. The house is clean enough to sell. Will also shampoo the carpets this weekend and hopefully start moving in clean clothes, furniture, and everything else that was kept outside in the garage for the past 3 weeks. (and yes, the garage was bombed as well).
I need a vacation from my vacation.