03.03.09: bed bugs, days 1-2

oh, internets. we are hoboes in our own home. we got our homework assignments* from the exterminator late sunday; after a magical evening on the floor in our living room (naturally, the pump for our air mattress broke), we started turning our apartment into garbage. two full suitcases and a duffel bag of clothing came out from under the bed and ended up on the curb (in sealed plastic bags); almost all of the bedding from our wedding registry is now gone. our management company agreed to foot our dry cleaning bill,** so the clothing and bedding that wasn't too infested to save was hauled up the street to the cleaners last night (we won't get it back until after the exterminators come, and then it has to stay in sealed plastic until retreatment; last night we slept under our coats, and i've been wearing the same black tank top since sunday morning).

ironically, the mattress and box spring are staying with us after all: trying to get them out of the apartment would have inflicted critters on all of our neighbors, and the exterminator tells us they'll be fine after reconditioning and encasement. that is my first takeaway message for you, internets: buy a bugproof encasement for your mattress and box spring. in our case, it will seal in and starve any stragglers; in yours, it'll prevent infestation completely. seriously: buy one online right now. best hundred bucks you'll ever spend.

my second takeaway message is that disposable tyvek suits are more translucent that one would imagine; don't get so distracted by looking like a beastie boy as you douse your apartment with pesticide that you forget to put on extra pants before dashing outside with the vacuum bag.

still waiting for the exterminator to call (they were snowed in yesterday and no one showed up to work). think good thoughts for us.

30-gallon trash bags filled: 25
today's cost: $200

*an eleven-item tale of property loss. here's #4:

Empty all closets, dressers, bookshelves, wall units, hutches, breakfronts, etc. throughout the residence, including platform bed drawers (if any). All items that have been removed from these areas should be inspected, cleaned and put into plastic bags and sealed tightly. All of the above mentioned items must be vacuumed once they have been emptied to eliminate any live bedbugs or eggs that may be present. Also, remove all framed pictures and decorative items from walls and vacuum. Place vacuum bag in a sealed plastic bag and discard outside for garbage removal.

**just the dry cleaning, mind you. special treatment for the laundry will be another $300-$400.


wabes said...

oh, sweetheart (and sweetheart j) - i am so, so sorry.

Rachel (heart of light) said...

oh my god, i am exhausted just reading this. i think i would be tempted to abandon my apartment and all my things as a lost cause because that "homework" is just too overwhelming.

good luck. and i'm sure that someone in the world has a tyvek suit fetish and you just made his (or her) day.

sara said...

It basically sounds like moving times 10...or 100. Sheesh. I'm so sorry you & Joe have to deal with this. I am glad you don't have to spend money on a new bed though. That's the very smallest relief, I'm sure.

tom said...

Seriously: I would trust that bed about as far as I can throw it. (On second thought: do not throw it.)

These things live forever -- no matter how bugproof it is, wouldn't you think that some intrepid bug is going to decide to get busy living, or get busy dying and make a break for it?

lauren said...

thanks, everybody. sara, it's very much like moving - with the added kicker that nothing can be moved out (or returned to the closet/bookshelf/cupboard that was holding it) once it's packed. even after sending a dozen full bags to the cleaners (and carting dozens and dozens more down to the trash), we've got a solid layer of bulging hefty bags full of books, CDs, and records on our floor. trying to figure out where the air mattress will go each night is like playing cathedral.

i'm not excited about keeping the bed, tom, but it would be even worse to shell out for a new mattress and box spring only to infest those, as well (some people have actually caught bedbugs from NEW mattresses, perversely enough: the delivery trucks end up full of bugs over the course of the day when they haul away old beds as they deliver new ones. that's another takeaway lesson: if you're buying a new mattress and/or box spring, make sure your delivery is first thing in the morning. lessens the chance of infestation from someone else's load).

phew. short answer: a good encasement is impermeable, and that's the best we'll do at least until we move out of this apartment. if we buy a new bed, we'll do it then.

meg said...

Holy Moly,
I'm sorry guys. That sounds really really awful.

Oh, and Amanda-who-is-moving-to-new-york emailed me that she was really afraid of bedbugs, and I was like "pshaw! I've never known anyone who ever actually HAD them." Ooops. Your inspiring me to put no soft goods on the registry.

awfulawfulawful. I hope it's fixed SOON.

Amanda Bruns said...

Oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god.

I'm so sorry. Ack.
Love and kisses your way. BIG love. And BIG kisses.