Friday, October 31, 2014

Night of the Infestation: Part Two

Just another day on the ranch.

Afternoon Readers,

A Note From the Staff: When I left you yesterday, the Kellermans were being eaten alive. Please feel free to revisit those horrifying details here. Today's exciting (depending on who you ask) conclusion will be told in stills from various teen horror films. Mainly because the early 2000's happened and also because it's Halloween.

Things had reached astronomically bad proportions. The night before, I'd also found insects in our bed.

Our bed.

Where we sleep.

The next morning, I rolled out of bed and headed to the bathroom, determined we'd never sell the house and that, somewhere along the line, I must've wandered drunkenly into a mirror shop and burned it to the ground. I sat down and stared blankly.

Suddenly, something bit me. Oh no they didn't. Please Lord, no. 
"Why are you in my pooping space?"
Hundreds of biting dots had infiltrated my only semi-quiet spot in the house. It was time to go to war.
I quickly got to work researching how to get rid of a house filled with bugs:

Wash everything you own every day.
Clean the house every day.
Spray the house every day.
Burn house to the ground.

Husband, having exited stage left for work, called to check in. "How's the situation today?"

"They said I have to wash the sheets every day."

Husband was quiet for a minute, proceeding carefully, before he answered. "I think you should bomb the house and take the kids out for the day."

I choked back tears. "Wait, what does that mean?"

"Well, you'll have to take everyone to the hardware store, buy a few cases of insecticide, put them in every room, strap the kids in the car, go back in, set everything off, run back out, keep the kids busy for two hours somewhere else, come back, open all the windows to air it out, leave for another hour, come back, and everything should be fine.

I was a woman on the edge. Sure, that plan sounded about as solid as jello, but, desperate times. The baby was covered in bites. Fleas poured from every crack and crevice. We had a showing at five. Earlier, I'd wandered into the laundry room and my legs had been covered with insects who didn't care if I made it to the fabric softener or not. I put the plan into action. 

Three hours later...

"Hello, fleas? How'd the irradiation go?"
But there were no fleas. Peace had settled back over the house, and the constant biting subsided. Husband and I relaxed knowing all we had to do now was wash everything we owned. For those of you who've never had the pleasure, it's not just the full grown biting fleas you have to worry about. They lay eggs in everything, carpet, sheets, and....

"They're in the kids hair. They. Are. In. The. Children's. Hair."

Something had gone terribly wrong with operation "Bomb all the things." I pushed back tears as I combed through Doc's curls and realized there was a whole colony of disgusting insects taking up residence on his scalp. Oh, and on the other children too.

No one would ever invite us anywhere. "The Kellermans? No, sweetie. Light that birthday invitation on fire. Their kids have fleas."

Husband tried to talk me down. "It'll be ok. I promise."

"It'll be ok after I regulate."

"What does that mean?"

"I have to go."

My plan was simple; Wash everything, sweep twice a day, mop twice a day, vacuum twice a day, and, after 8pm, drink until I couldn't form thoughts anymore. This was a great plan, right up until....

"And that main drain will be six thousand dollars and no water for a week."

At which point, I had a talk with God, and I was rational as always.

"What do you want from me? Huh?"
But my kids had fleas and something needed to be done. I swept, mopped, took laundry elsewhere. I'm also not ashamed to say I cried... a lot. Every day, I woke up and stuck my head out the window, waiting for the locusts and turned on the news to check the forecast. "Today will cloudy, cold, and a pillar of fire is headed towards Kansas.

By the end of last week, I looked like this.

The good news is I kept up the insane cleaning, found a magic combination chemicals that may or may not cause hallucinations, and I destroyed every, last flea. I'm feeling a little more like this.

But we still have to sell this house. Sweet saints in Heaven, please sell this house.

Happy Halloween, Readers!

Like what you read here? Buy the book!
And now that I've awkwardly made you my friend, come hang out with me on:

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Night of the Infestation: Part One

"Do you ever just wish you could stand on the porch in some high-wasted pants and be left alone?"

Morning Readers,

I haven't been very honest with you these past few weeks.

Sure, I made it sound like a barrel of laughs around here. Raining ceilings, rotten plumbing, making sure there were decorative hand towels in the bathroom for strangers, how could you not think we'd been permanently anchored in the lap of luxury? But, silently, a battle was being waged, a battle so disturbing, I couldn't even write about it. Are you ready for this week's tale of terror?

Are you ready for me to recount it with stills from Halloween because that's the most recent horror movie I watched?

What's that?

True, I love The Birds as well, but Tippi Hedren doesn't apply distinctly to this situation, and for that, I'm grateful.

It began on a dark and stormy night....

Actually, it was a really early morning because the baby thinks 5am is an acceptable time to start living.  He's trying to kill me. He also needs toast. Be right back.

Now then, unsuspecting, I'd started the coffee, plopped down on the couch, and prepared myself for an hour of the Wiggles, when I felt the first bite.

"Did anyone feel that? No? Probably just those gosh dern hallucinations again."
Drawing on my power to ignore almost everything, I shrugged it off... until, it happened again. And again. My feet were en fuego as I looked down to see ankles entirely engulfed with black, seething ocean of insects. I tried not to panic.

"What is it? Someone sedate me. Sedate me, now."

We were stranded on the couch. Beneath us, the floor hopped and rolled with the tide of black dots, hundreds, maybe thousands, moving in an erratic and terrifying storm. Horrified, I realized they'd started to climb the Forest Green couch cover. You know what shows up on Forest Green?


Slowly, they began to cover the area, biting, pinching, threatening to swallow us into some sort of no man's land of welts and staged decor. Like always, I stayed calm while I called Husband. "Hey, babe. How's it going?"

 "We're all gonna die."

"What do you mean?"

I whacked three dots off my arm. "There's a veritable sea of death trying to eat me and the children. Just called to tell you goodbye and also that I left you three pairs of clean underwear in the top of the closet."

"Hmm, sounds like the dog left us fleas. Hello? Hey, are you there? Paige?" 

"Sorry, I got distracted by being eaten alive. Please call back later."

The scale of the problem? I wasn't quite sure, but I suddenly had flashbacks about the good people at Frontline expounding on the importance of putting flea collars on your pet in a timely manor. Fools, all of us. Slowly I moved through the house, throwing open doors, kicking over furniture, and, most importantly, staying cool and collected.

Maybe they were just downstairs. Perhaps they hadn't infiltrated the upstairs. Surely there couldn't be so many they'd be in every crack and crevice and....

From the corner of my eye, I saw movement. I dropped to the floor of my room to get a better look.

I dropped to the floor of the twin's room.

I dropped to the floor of the baby's room.

Every, square inch undulated with the fear I'd been hoping was just another trophy in my collection of paranoia.

"Not my babies."

Doc had woken up with strange bites all over him and now I knew why. Infestation. Why had we named the dog Flea? Why had we tempted fate in such an egregious way? Everywhere I turned, black dots hopped off everything, the nagging feeling of being bitten every five point five seconds threatening to drive me insane just in time for Halloween. At least I wouldn't need a costume.

How would we sell the house?

How did one get rid of a full-scale invasion?

Had one just made it's way into the waistband of my shorts? Ouch. Yes, it had.

I stood in the middle of the living room, being bitten and weeping softly. One thing was for sure...

"Three cases of beer, please."

Are the bugs here to stay?

Is there enough liquor in the world?

Will Paige go on an eradication spree so fierce she'll have to change her last name to Killerman? 

Tune in tomorrow for the exciting conclusion....

Until Next Time, Readers!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

To Show A House

"Let me in. I forgot to put up the decorative towels!"

Morning Readers,

OK, that's a lie. I'm actually typing this in the dead of night because daytime around here has been closer to insanity than I'm comfortable with.

That's saying a lot. We wade so deeply into that grey area, most of you are probably just saying, "Mmmhmm."

*Insert knowing nod here*

Last week was a rough one. I could sugar coat it and expound on the glories of not having running water, but I smelled bad and the dishwasher smelled bad, and the kids started smelling really bad, so I had to take them to their Grandma's to bathe, and I'm pretty sure if I'd been born a pioneer, a deer would've eaten me out of spite for my poor survival skills. 

The good news is the main drain is working. Praise Jesus. Seriously, I owe the Lord a Lemon Poppy Seed cake or something. But it'll have to be boxed because He gave me skills, but that comes down to being able to juggle and not bake.

Moving on.

Although the Split level may have been out of commission in the waterworks area, it didn't stop the Kellermans from showing the house and explaining that, yes, the toilets don't work, but that buyers could still buy this house for the low low price of my tears and a stick of gum. Thankfully, we've had quite a few interested parties. Unfortunately, they're parties who want to throw a party without us and not buy the house.

"Keep your strong face. Never let them see you cry." I whispered to the four donuts I ate of frustration on Saturday. 

Not unlike my experience with various leg waxes, this process of hope and rejection is a little harder to bear than I thought. Do you know how difficult it is to keep a house perfectly clean all the time, when you have kids living there? Do you know how hard it is to keep a house perfectly clean when I'm living there?

Fortunately,  I've managed to skim a few notes off the top of this whole fiasco.

How To Show A House So You Almost Sell It

1.) Don't let your baby pull the keys off your laptop. This makes emergency emails to your agent look like, "Hlp! Drain brok n' toilt wonT floosh! Not so gr8t."

2.) Make sure everything is staged appropriately. Broken blinds rolled up. Barbeque grill positioned as if you use it. Couch angled in a jaunty way that doesn't advertise a toddler used it for base jumping at noon. 


Did you remember to laugh hysterically while organizing the coats by size and color?

3.) Wipe everything down. No, really wipe it. That half-assed thing you do where you chip half that piece of macaroni off the table and call it good won't work. Get out the Clorox wipes and earn your keep. 

4.) Start throwing everything on your counter into the cabinets. Lettuce with the wine glasses, coffee pot next to the trash bags, cats on top of dogs. Really, this part is madness. The people coming to view the house will also view you as someone who keeps that screw-off bottle of wine in the medicine cabinet, but at least it looks tidy.

5.) Shout at the kids to help you.

6.) Suddenly remember your kids are at an age where they still think artfully placing a Pillow Pet on the porch will draw in potential buyers. Run around screaming, "Who hid the dust pan?" instead.

7.) Make the beds, wash the windows, scrub the toilets, mop the floors, and vacuum like your life depends on it. Didn't Disney promise you birds at this point in your life? Where are the squirrels who are supposed to be sandblasting the tub with Scrubbing Bubbles?

8.) Re-examine everything that's wrong with your house. Is thirty minutes enough to renovate the kitchen?

9.) Turn all the lights on. Turn them on again after the kids walk behind you turning them off. Repeat this step three times.

10.) Pack all the kids in the van and hope for the best. Receive following text message from spouse:

"Did you know you left one of the toilet seats up and a kid pooped in it?"

So yeah, we should be out of here by 2017. Plenty of time to enjoy our brand new drain.  Plenty of time.

Until Next Time, Readers!

Like what you read here? Buy the book!
And now that I've awkwardly made you my friend, come hang out with me on:

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Bad Things Happen In Twenties: A Tale of Horror

Homeownership, as I see it.

Morning Readers,

(Disclaimer: In order to properly express my feelings, I'll be telling my story in more pictures than usual today.)

I don't think we, as a people, give coffee enough credit. To the innocent, uncaffeinated bystander, it's merely a drink, a few ground up beans whose significance is lost because that steaming cup is simply a drink.

But no.

As it turns out, coffee is the only thing standing between me and a padded cell. And to that I say. "A tip of the cap to you, Folgers commercials."

"Smells like I'm not gonna tell mom and dad I was in jail last night."

As I've written about our experience with the Split level, there have been many times I've stopped and wondered whether you guys think the calamities which have befallen our home can happen to anyone besides Tom Hanks in Money Pit. "Maybe they think I'm making it up. Can this many things actually go wrong with a house before you sell?" I ask myself. Please look me deep in the eyes, Readers, and nod slowly along as I say...

At this point, I wish I were lying.

Things were on a roll. We had showings. Other people, strangers, wanted to see the house, and Husband I had permanently taken up residence on cloud nine.

Husband I watched Poltergiest over the weekend, and I couldn't help feeling for Craig T. Nelson and Jobeth Williams as they battled to save their home and also anymore china from being thrown against the walls. And then, right as they think the house is clean, spoiler alert, their big, brass bed gets sucked into another dimension.

Paige, did one of your kids get pulled into the flat screen? Is that what you're trying to tell us?

Thankfully, no. It was more like things being spit back at us.

Husband: OK, I hate to tell you this, but this, but the drain is backing up in the basement.
Me: How bad is it?
Husband: You may want to go look and judge for yourself.

A rough description of what I saw
We needed to have the main drain run. No big deal. In the past, this has been a quick job, a little bit of money, but the show needed to get back on the road. After all, someone was coming to look at the house at 5pm.

Me: Hi, plumber. Can you have the drain run and everything cleared up this morning?

Plumber: I sure can. That'll be ninety-nine dollars.

Me: Great!

*Time lapse of an hour*

Plumber: So, I can't get through at seventy feet and I'm pulling out mud.


Plumber: That's pretty bad. I'm sending a guy out with a camera and we'll figure out what's going on.

My face

By this point in the house game, my spider sense is well honed in the area of disaster. From the kitchen, the checkbook had started emitting a high-pitched warning signal only I could hear. I retrieved more coffee for myself, retrieved the toddler from trying to run in the street, and waited.

Camera Man: Sorry I took so long.

Me: It's ok. I'm not the biggest fan of rushing to impending doom.

Camera Man: So what I'm doing is running this wire down the drain and it'll let us see what's down there. All right, so you see how there's roots everywhere? Uh huh. And if we keep going down the line... there. Right there. A wall of mud.

Me: The kind we can just clear out and use as facials?

Camera Man: I'll head out to the yard and see where it's at. This is bad.

Me: I expect nothing less. They made a movie in the 80's based on this house.

Camera Man: Ok, mam. The spot here by your fence is where the drain's collapsed.

Me: Collapsed? As in "no longer bearing its own weight" collapsed?

Camera man: Twelve feet down, this giant tree's roots have finally smashed through the drain. We'll have to bring in a backhoe, dig down, put in a new pipe all the way to the house, and close everything up. Should cost six.

Me: Dollars?

Camera Man: Six Thousand.


What to do?

We did the only thing we could, signed the papers, got the credit card at the ready and scheduled everything for 8:30am.

But it's raining today. And it's October. It rains a lot in October.

Halloween come early this year, and it ain't filled with candy corn, children. I don't know how this is all going to end, my friends, but all I can say is...

Someone get me more coffee.

Until Next Time, Readers!


Like what you read here? Buy the book!
And now that I've awkwardly made you my friend, come hang out with me on:


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Today's Forecast Predicts Rain In the Garage

We're going to the Kellerman's house. I hear it rains in the garage and beer flows out of the faucets."

Afternoon Readers,

The sign is up.

That's right, people. The Split level hits the market in just a couple days, and the most interesting thing about that is the event's timing matches up perfectly with my sanity running out.

No, no, it's sweet you think I'm sane, but the reality is I'm sitting her in a raggedy t-shirt, jean shorts with a broken zipper, and boots up to my knee, drinking cold coffee that has McDonald's Monopoly pieces floating in it. Shortly before writing this, I went out in public that way. Your call.

We have two categories of information today.

The Good: