Friday, 28 September 2012

The Naughty Little Flea and the Haka

Here is a musical introduction to this week's blog, setting the agenda. When I told my Darling Dublin Friend that my house was being attacked by fleas, she sent me this.  I realised then that it was all up to me, there were only muffled giggles from Dublin and no offers to come over and help pelt the little buggers.

Today I will talk about my flea infestation, and the manner in which you get what you ask for, but not in the straight forward manner that would make sense in a busy world.  I will also give you a brief idea of what I am doing at the moment.

15 year old son woke recently and said, Look. Look at my itchy bites.  I thought, Ah. I will ignore this and it will go away.  So I sent him on his way with a cheery wave, until, I awoke with itchy bites a few days later.  I have itchy bites, I yelled, it's all about me!  Poor son showed me his new bites and we began to fear we had bed bugs.  Son and I stripped our beds to the bone and saw no bed bugs at all, no signs of them and no evidence whatsoever.  They are hiding, I said to son, let us do this later in the dark and show them who is boss.  We waited till dark, and pounced, still in the dark, with a torch, to catch the bed bugs that I imagined lolling around on our beds, complaining that there was nothing to eat, and who had made such a mess of the mattress and bed frame?  But nothing.  Not even the tail end of a bed bug scurrying for cover into the springs. Well, our relief was short lived as we both awoke the next morning and compared our new bites.

I called our local council, and asked for help.  Send me your best exterminators, I said, I have bed bugs but they are a new breed of clever and invisible bed bug, and we need the Arnold Schwarzenegger approach.  Madam, said the kind lady on the phone, you may find that you have fleas.  Mother, said my excellent daughter on the phone later that night, you have fleas.

Two pest control men came.  Ah! they said as I showed them the beds, there are no bed bugs, you are clean of bed bugs.  The reason you cannot catch them, even with a torch, even late at night in the dark, is because you, praise the Lord, have none.  I had looked online at the methods of getting rid of bed bugs, and it seems that I would have to pay a lot, burn the house, all its contents, and move abroad to get rid of them.  What a relief.

Have you a cat?  Asked my new best friends from Arun Pest Control.  I don't, but my polite and elegant lodger does.  Reggie, the sleek black man cat, lives with my very wonderful lodger in the annex which I rent out.

Reggie, sure enough, was sitting proudly amongst his fleas.  There is your answer, said my pals from pest control.  The cat needs to be deflea-ed and so does your house.  Come tomorrow, I cried, and save us.  Righto, they said, 11am.  But, they said, you must now hoover every inch of your floors, especially the edges of the rooms, you must get rid of dust and mess, clean under all the beds, the furniture, throw out clutter.  When you have done that, remove every item that you can from off the floor so that we can come in tomorrow and give those fleas a chemical Armageddon. 

Here is where the manner in which you get what you ask for becomes an interesting discussion point.  At this point, the nature of the universe collides with the most basic of things, the removal of fleas.

My older son moved out last week, to a nice little place in Brighton. Moving of a young person always throws up the following
  • rubbish
  • clutter
  • foulness
  • old bits of food
  • plastic bags
  • disorder
  • chaos
  • horror
  • madness
  • breakdown
As I wearily returned to the house after moving him, I remember thinking that the house is in need of such a clean and a declutter that I may just have to die.  I have no time, no energy, to do it and what is more, I hate the idea with a passion.  It isn't, I thought as I checked my empty fridge for my latest weight watcher dinner of air and vegetables, fair.  I am the only person in the world to have such a terrible life.  I saw myself as wading through eddies of  dust and debris in my house, the sound of wind coming through the broken windows making the plastic bags caught on the doors and old bits of furniture, rustle and flap forlornly.  I saw myself too thin (weight watchers) to take the apron from behind the door and start to tackle this mess.

And so God gave me fleas.  Jump to it, he said both to them and to me.  If I give you fleas, you will have to scurry around clearing up your house between the hours of 3pm when you get the diagnosis from Arun Pest Control, till 11am the next morning when they will arrive like Ghost Busters, with all their paraphernalia with which to bash seven bells out the fleas.  Chop chop, he said.  Spit spot, as Mary Poppins has said.  Spit spot.

I have a five bedroom house with an annex.  It is a big job.  I rolled up my sleeves, furrowed my brow, did a war dance like the Haka, and with a yell, I began.  I hoovered the floors, walls, ceilings, and furniture. I threw away, I banished, I flung from the house;  the flea larvae loves the dust, the flea expert had said, eliminate all dust.  Dust, I said as I battled through, Dust, you are toast.  At 11am the next morning, a single man arrived with  a small pump and some chemicals (not 10 men with a lorry with a radar on the roof as I had expected) and within a couple of hours, my house was a battle field in which the fleas had been routed.  I cannot hoover or clean the floors for 3 weeks, as there is a layer of flea napalm on it. But the house, the furniture, everything as far as the eye can see, is clean!  It is over!  I live in a show house (ish), I have fresh flowers in every room and Doris Day can come and live here now, I have gone from the ridiculous to the sublime.  I have what I wanted, and all because of Reggie.  Thanks Reggie.  But don't do it again.

What am I doing these days?  Here is a list.
  1. I sold my Teapot Fairy to my dear friend and Soul Midwife Mandy, and am putting some wings and a halo on it so that it is a Teapot Angel.
  2. I distance reiki'd Felicity Warner ( and she said she felt better.  She is a kind lady.
  3. I am planning my route up to the Chimp House in Edinburgh Zoo where I am taking A Graceful Death to take part in the Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief annual event.  This is becoming a wonderful outing as I am staying at different friends along the way and way back.
  4. There are wonderful conference facilities in the Chimp House in the Zoo.  Got you there.
  5. I am all over the shop getting ideas and meeting people.  Now that I don't have fleas, I have an extra dimension to me, and believe that the world is all mine.
  6. I have to do a power point presentation on Spirituality and Well Being In End Of Life Care, for the Spirituality Conference next month for LOROS (Leicestershire and Rutland Organisation for the Relief of Suffering).  I am full of strange ideas that need some careful sorting.  More on that as it evolves.

So now, to end, I will show you how the fleas felt when I was doing my Haka type war dance.  Watch this and tremble.  

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