The infestation

When I was a kid, my friends and I used to sing a spoof on the National Anthem:

O say can you see any bed bugs on me?

If you can, pick a few, for I got them from you!

Mark and I are trying to figure out how this all started.  Several months ago, he began a lengthy repair on a house that had had a nest of raccoons living under it.  Pest control had taken the raccoons away and Mark went underneath to clean up the mess they left and repair the wiring and insulation that they had been chewing on down there.  That’s as good a place as any to start my story.

It doesn’t seem like it was more than a month after he started that job that we began to notice Kimba was extremely sensitive to being petted around the base of her tail.  I thought she might have a problem with her hips so Mark took her to the vet.  The vet used a flea comb on Kimba and found fleas.  In fact, that spot at the base of her tail was caked with scabs because, as it turns out, Kimba is allergic to fleas.  The vet gave her a cortisone shot and gave us some flea killer to put between the shoulder blades of both cats.

Around the same time, Kimba started trying to bolt from the RV every time Mark opened the door (we had been keeping the cats in there because I didn’t want my new house to get dirty), so he decided to put both cats in the garage.  After the cats had been out of the RV for a week or two, Mark opened the RV door to reach in and get something, and when he came back in the house and sat down in his favorite chair, he discovered he was covered in fleas.  He got into the shower and removed his clothes, putting them in plastic bags, and took a shower.  I immediately washed his clothes.  The next time we went to the store, we got flea bombs and set them off in the house and the RV.

A couple weeks after her first vet visit, Kimba was scheduled for a follow-up visit.  The night before her appointment, Mark was trying to hold her while I gave her a flea bath and she bit Mark hard enough to draw blood with her fangs.  I believe I wrote about that the day after I wrote about Mark getting electrocuted under his wedding ring.  Kimba has never bitten us before.  She might pretend to nip if we are hurting her, but that is even a rare occurrence.  This was totally out of character for her, and it was because she was still covered with fleas and in severe pain.  She was put on quarantine by the sheriff and had to see the vet three more times in a ten day period.  The vet gave us some pills for the cats that would definitely kill the fleas, and after that we saw improvement in Kimba.  She’s not sensitive in the area around the base of her tail any more, and the last time we took her to the vet, all the vet found on her was a dead flea.  Yay!

Problem is, we’ve continued to have fleas in the house and in the RV.  We have bombed both several times.  Last Sunday before church, Mark reached into the RV for something and when he got into the truck to drive us to church, fleas started jumping off him.  When we got home from church, Mark changed his clothes in the bedroom.  Monday morning I stepped out of bed and up to the point of putting my socks on, I must have picked at least eight or ten fleas off my feet and ankles.  While I was at work, Mark bombed the house again.

Tuesday morning there were no fleas on me.  I mentioned the incident to my boss at Tea Thyme, and she asked me to let her know if I ever found fleas on me again.  Wednesday morning I got out of bed and found three fleas on my feet.  I called my boss and she told me to stay home.  Mark set up a bomb in the bedroom and we closed the door and let it do its thing.  This morning I didn’t see any fleas on me so I went to work.  I was standing there telling my boss that there had been no fleas on me this morning when one suddenly jumped onto her arm.  She sent me home again and suggested I take the rest of the week off until I can get the fleas taken care of.  I called my boss at Seaquist to see how she felt about it and she also told me not to come to work till the fleas are gone.

Something similar happened to us when we were working in Oklahoma several years ago, although I wasn’t working around food then so I continued working the whole time.  I remember that we bombed our RV heavily several times but couldn’t get rid of the fleas.  Then we found a powder that we shook onto our carpet and let sit for a time before vacuuming it up.  After that, the flea infestation was completely over.  Earlier this week Mark looked on Amazon and found a powder that we think is what we used in Oklahoma.  We are just waiting for it to arrive in the mail.

These fleas didn’t originate with our cats.  They are indoor cats.  All we can figure is that Mark picked the fleas up under the “raccoon house” and brought them home.  Would that make all the flea expenses that have accrued so far a business expense?

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