Are you ready for chapter 1? remember as you read the coming posts, i warned you, this story is shocking at times, you may be tempted to think “this can’t be real”
but my friend, it is very very real…
This story begins, as so many great works do, with a party. A lovely party at an Upper East Side club overflowing with shrimp cocktail and conversations about how small the world is.
At the witching hour, when in the wintery darkness of five pm, we party guests all decided via group text we were going in, guns blazing, aka NO TIGHTS despite the 36 degree temperature, I dressed and I noticed with some mounting… shall we call it, curiosity, a growing line of welts traveling up the back of my leg and arm. Very sinister looking welts indeed. But, being accident prone and ailment prone and late to the party, there was little time to dwell.
The moment I’ve illustrated captures it so perfectly. The naiveté. The gaiety. The smiles of young women with a long road of promise and happiness stretching out before them with no way of seeing the speed bumps (err…welts… bites, really) ahead. The simply joy of squeezing into a bench in a bar after the engagement party with some of my favorite people, our mid-march tight-less legs all tossed together artfully, not even cold (and no longer wondering about those welts) thanks to vodka and late night discussion of our respective registries for crystal and china patterns.
Later on we lazed, with ties undone and shoes kicked off on our ikea love seat recounting the evening. Ahh to travel back to that moment, that moment in which our home was still intact, evil love seat and all…That hateful imp of a couch which i loathed so wholeheartedly.
The next day however, in the cruel light of March morning, the itchy welts really couldn’t be ignored. Something was just not right. The next few days played out for me like a nightmare from which I did not wake up, but instead continued deeper and deeper into.
For starters, our little apartment welcomed a couple of visitors of the sort you never want to welcome. A little dog with a most unique sense of smell and and an owner with a MOST unique respect for the discretion and urgency of his profession.
You may have guessed it by now if you’ve ever encountered anything like this before… the dog and his owner specialized in the systematic searching out of bedbugs and their eggs. And when this furry friend sniffed intently around our sulky little ikea couch and sat bolt upright and sounded the howling alarm, I knew my welty, bug-bitten goose was stewed. And... I realized with mounting horror... perhaps so too was the goose of all those visiting engagement party guests who stopped by for a a quick hello and momentary contact with love seat of horror no. 1.
my seemingly impregnable fortress of cleanliness, my little oasis of sterile peace amidst the urine and old-partially-digested-pizza-soaked sidewalks of the lower east side had been compromised!
I pride myself on borderline violently effective housekeeping, even in a fourth floor walk up riddled with mice, lead paint, asbestos and drunk old men. It is a skill handed down to me from my mother, who brags that you could eat dinner of her garage floor. (did i mention that garage is wallpapered?)
Anyway, the bug dog and his bug master informed me that it would take a few days to put their plan of attack into action. When asked if we should retreat to a hotel or friends house to avoid further harvesting of our flesh, he replied, almost cheerfully, “Nope! You could spread the infestation” (he just described my home as an infestation… ) and then continued, “best to stay here and be a blood donor for a few more days” (he literally just called me a blood donor. I did not recall signing up for the red cross of parasitic insects blood drive. And I was not amused)
He backtracked by trying to say things like, "you caught it really early!" (I DONT WANT TO CATCH THIS AT ALL) or, "I don't even see any bugs, the dog just found evidence of their scent" (EVIDENCE OF THEIR SCENT? COME. ON. that is just as bad)
I thanked him for his attempted bedside manner, his dog’s keen sense of smell, and for confirming that my life was ruined and then began (ALLCAPS) texting my future husband to prepare for the worst. The day of reckoning had come. (Literally that may have been the text) and headed off to Duane Reade for my first, and unfortunately not last purchase of over $200 of rubbing alcohol, surgical gloves, extra heavy duty ultra large trash bags and feeling much like Breaking Bad’s Jesse with the large tupperwear barrel for the decomposing of an accidentally assassinated drug mule, prepared to face the music head on.