Have you ever been robbed? Come home to a jimmied lock or a broken window and known that someone had invaded your space? It makes you feel so vulnerable and weak and stupid and insecure.
No, no one broke into our house. None of our stuff has been stolen.
So how would I know what it feels like? GOOD QUESTION.
Jump to several months ago.
I don't know exactly how long ago, which plays into how absolutely stupid I am, but it was probably still pretty cold outside.
So several months ago The Foliage* and I noticed that there were some light brown spots on our sheets. They were scattered pretty randomly, and not really concentrated anywhere, so we figured something must have gotten into the washing machine. And since linens usually get washed all by their lonesome, we didn't have any other items to check against this theory.
Over the past few months, more and more spots have appeared. We continued to rely on the laundry explanation.
About a month ago my right arm started itching. Some days it was just the back of my hand or my fingers. Other days my wrist would be almost unbearable. Usually the area I scratched would just turn red, and I thought maybe I was having a reaction to our laundry detergent*. I had had a reaction to some magical as-yet-unknown-something during my senior year of high school - also on the back of my right hand - that itched and spread and swelled and hurt. So I thought it could've maybe been something similar to that. I just have a history of dermatitis issues, OK? My skin freaking out is not generally cause for concern! Sheesh.
Anyway, no bumps appeared where I scratched...my skin would just be read and splotchy for a while, so it seemed like maybe it was plant-related since I couldn't find any bites. But THEN my left arm/hand/fingers started itching, too. We guessed maybe the humidity was doing weird things to my skin. Or something.
You totally see where this is going, don't you? Right? Well, I am JEALOUS because I honestly did not.
Then. Last night. Oh my gawd.
We drove home from Hilton Head - making a few stops along the way to stretch our legs at the Carolina Premium Outlets and then to have dinner at Cafe Green with some of my future siblings-in-law - over the course of the day yesterday. It was a loooooooong long drive. When we got home, we noticed that my future dad-in-law had left us a voicemail, while he was in Philadelphia, asking if he could stay at our house, rather than driving all the way back to DC, which of course was fine.
So by the time we went to bed, we were exhausted. I went to bed first (around 1:45 or so), and I saw a small bug on my pillowcase, but I didn't worry about it. Which is weird because I loathe bugs, as I think I've mentioned before. I had opened the windows to air out the house, though, and just thought something small must've flown in. The menfolk stayed up a little bit later than I did, and The Foliage came upstairs around 2:30.
He noticed the tiny being next to my head and said something about it, so I sleep-mumbled about having seen it and the windows and blaaahhhhdrooooool. He removed it, and then went to bed, freaked out.
A few minutes later, he poked me in the back, and I opened my eyes. He had turned the light on, and as the room came into focus, I looked down and the bed was TEEMING with bugs. Bed. F*cking. Bugs. Everywhere. I jumped out of bed and started slapping them off of my arms and legs, and the two of us just stood there, wide-eyed and not sure what to do. Our houseguest was downstairs on the couch and we didn't want to wake him up, but WHERE THE EFF DO YOU GO?!
How did they get there? Who brought them in? Had we unknowingly contaminated anything else? We checked as best as we could to make sure we'd gotten them off of ourselves, and then set up our air mattress in my room. It took another hour and a half to calm down enough to actually sleep. For, oh, 3 or 4 luxurious hours.
What do we do now? We don't know what has or hasn't been affected.
And here's why I feel SO OVERLY AMAZINGLY stupid: I totally KNEW all of the symptoms of bed bug infestation because I've SEEN it. When we went to Virginia Beach last year for Labor Day, one of the girls in the room was bitten all over by them, and we looked up all of this stuff. I feel like I totally failed myself and my fiance for not noticing this earlier. Or preventing it somehow. I don't know.
So now I feel totally violated. Like I can't relax in my own house. Where could I relax? Maybe every surface has bugs hidden below. And how do you even DEAL with this? We are definitely burning the mattress and box spring and all the linens. But what about the rug? Or the carpet just outside of the bedroom? Or EVERY OTHER SQUARE INCH OF OUR HOUSE?
I'm completely embarrassed that this has even happened, and the only reasons I'm posting about it are
1. It's all I can think about today anyway, so that's the only way you're getting a post out of me, and
2. Maybe someone else has had the same experience and has also been really ashamed by it. I feel like I did in grade school when the nurse came around to all the classes to check for lice. Which I'll blog about another time because this post is officially too long. The point is: I can not be the only person who has had this experience. I just can't be.
Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
*Yeah, OK, so I don't care about name references in general, but I just like calling him by his blogname. I think it reads better.
**Seriously, could I rely on the laundry more? But I ferreal had a really bad skin reaction a few years ago, when the two of us first started dating, due to the purchase of lavender-scented detergent by my sister. I wouldn't let him get to second base 'cause I had a rash across my stomach. Good story, I know. I KNOW. You are so welcome.