groovin’ and movin’ and…dancin’ to the music…


Saw this video on kizzy lee/carpe diem at http://kizzylee.wordpress.com.  Decided to share it because we all need a lighthearted pick-me-up now and then.

I’ve no idea who the singers are, although their music takes me back…way back.

And the moves and 60’s clothes remind me of a time when I grooved and moved and…jerked and twisted and mashed and continentaled.

Anybody remember those days? Or is it just me…dancing inside my head? Because I’m sure not dancing on the outside anymore.

…you should’ve seen me then…

………hugmamma.Nashville 09-2010 00023

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daily prompt challenge: the clothes (may) make the (wo)man

Clothes horses

I must admit to having been a “clothes horse” during my college years. Since I was on a couple of small scholarships and had to fund the rest of my tuition by working at the university bookstore, I had pittance left over for a wardrobe. Somehow I managed, although exactly how, I can’t remember. After all…that was over 4 decades ago.

When I got married, soon after graduating, I dabbled a bit in sewing my own clothes. I confess I was more of a seamstress in middle school and high school. I’d learned to sew while I was in elementary school, carrying my prized, portable sewing machine to and from the home of my Japanese teacher.

As a married lady with a heftier income, a combination of mine and my hubby’s, I began shopping for clothes at Liberty House. No longer around, it use to be THE place to purchase the latest fashions. Needless to say, they were pricey.

Liberty House and JM San Jose

But hey! We have to look fabulous to keep our men, don’t we? Or is it that we have to outshine our peers? Or is it a reflection of our insecurities about ourselves? Or perhaps it’s a combination of all three. Will we ever know for sure?

Does it really matter…in the grand scheme of things?

Throughout my career outside the home, I obsessed over clothes. I’m sure I was no different than most working women. Although I might have gone overboard because I’d grown up using hand-me-downs, and rejects from the orphanage where my mom worked. Not an excuse, mind you, just an explanation for my laser-like focus on buying new things to wear.

Gaining weight can be a deterrent to buying clothes, or it can be the impetus to go out and buy clothes that fit…until we can squeeze back into our smaller-sized duds once again. Been there; done that. Now in my 60s…I’ve donated most of what use to fit to Good Will.

English: Photo of Chico's in Hudson, Ohio

Chico’s has my patronage now that I fit into a size 2…1 1/2…and 1, depending on the piece. Did I forget to mention that Chico’s is very astute at marketing to more mature women. In other words, they’ve tricked us chubbier women into thinking we’re really smaller than the rest of the world thinks we are. The retailer has taken the standard sizes…4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, and 18…and morphed them into 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, and 3. Pretty clever, huh? And women like me fell for the scam…hook, line, and sinker.

But you know what? Chico’s nudged me out of my comfort zone with blacks, browns, greys, and blues…catapulting me into all the colors of the rainbow, and some. 

I didn’t only eat sherbert, I was wearing sherbert…colors.

As I’ve aged, I’ve toned my choices down a tad. No more teals and tangerines for me. However I have picked up some bling. I’m not over-the-top with it, just enough to turn a few heads, whether in admiration…or shock. Oh, well…

…vanity…thy name is (wo)man…

………hugmamma.

(p.s….did i mention i’m to blame for my daughter’s now being a “clothes horse?”…and needing more closet space?)

...dressing to the 9's...once-in-awhile is ok...

…dressing to the 9’s…once-in-awhile is ok…

do it…or you’ll pay the price…

Helicopter Hugmamma urges one and all to…brush…floss…and visit the dentist regularly. Or else you might be gumming your way through food in your golden years.

What prompted my plea? The aftermath of a visit to my dentist today.

Before you assume that the fault was his, let me assure you it wasn’t. The man couldn’t be lovelier. And I wouldn’t entrust my teeth to another dentist at this stage in my life.

The fault is mostly mine because as an informed adult, I should know better. That being said, I didn’t start life learning how to properly care for my teeth.

English: Native Hawaiian women and three children.

English: Native Hawaiian women and three children. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t think the native Hawaiians learned about dental hygiene from the missionaries. And I don’t recall that the Catholic nuns with whom my mom worked at the orphanage told the orphans in their care, many of whom were my buddies, that the Ten Commandments included…brushing their teeth.

So you see, as an islander in the 1940s and the 1950s…I thought little about my teeth, let alone that one day they would be…front and center in my life. 

The summer before I went to high school, my mom finally decided it was time I saw a dentist. I think I may have pressed for it  since, as a teenager, I wanted to make a good impression. I wanted to fit in with my classmates.

Because I worked in the bookstore during the weeks leading up to the start of school, the tuition at my Catholic school was discounted. And uniforms leveled the playing field. No worrying about my homemade duds and orphanage hand-me-downs. Only my closest friends knew how difficult it was for my family to make ends meet.

The jig would’ve been up if the other kids had gotten a look at my rotten teeth.

So what kind of dentist could my mom afford? How about a dentist who was trained in the military who happened to be Chinese? And one compassionate enough to accept $5 a visit as down payment toward the bill.

Being half-Chinese, familiar with the idiosyncrasies of that culture, I know the Chinese to be no-nonsense, ambitious, “pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps” kind of people. Whining is not tolerated…no way…no how. So that coupled with the military’s strict adherence to discipline, I instinctively knew I had to suck-it-up in the dental chair.

I went under the needle with no anesthetic to have teeth filled. And when I had a tooth pulled, the needle the doctor used to numb the area looked like the same one he might have used on a horse. I swear he must’ve left two holes in my gums, the one where the tooth had been…and the hole where he’d injected the needle.

Needless to say I did not go back for more of the same…until I was married and had a child. Wasn’t there a warranty or something that guaranteed my dental makeover for life?

Dentures

I had some work done while we lived in Conncecticut but, of course, when we moved to Washington State going to the dentist was relegated to the very bottom of my…”to do list.” That is until I started down the path toward my “golden years.” 

The possibility of wearing false teeth loomed large in my mind. Remembering the trials and tribulations my mom encountered with hers, was enough to scare the bejesus out of me. I hope my brother Ed has had better luck with his over the years. God bless him!IMG_4143

It took me a few tries until I found my dream dentist, and found him I have.

Dr. Quickstad, my hero, has been working on improving my smile these last few years. He’s worked his magic on my teeth…root canals…crowns…cleaning and filling cavities.

And today I had a tooth implant. Wonder of wonders! 

A month or so ago Dr. Quickstad did a bone graft. Today he implanted a screw which will hold the new crown in place…another hour-and-a-half appointment. Today’s procedure lasted 2 hours.

I saw the chiropractor later in the day so she could work on my jaw as I’m prone to TMJ. I wasn’t prepared for the mind-numbing pain which overwhelmed me as I sat in her waiting area. The anesthetics had worn off, leaving the left side of my face throbbing. The chiropractor’s gentle ministrations and adjustments finally calmed the pain, enough for me to drive myself home. 

Wisdom does come with age. I’m brushing, flossing, gargling and having my teeth cleaned three times a year. As they say…

…better late than never…or deal with the alternatives!

………hugmamma.

go julia!!!

Seventeen (magazine)

Seventeen (magazine) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NBC news  recently shone the spotlight on teen ballerina, Julia Bluhm. From Maine, a normal looking youngster…with a passion for activism. Her debut efforts at effecting change? Getting Seventeen Magazine to stop photoshopping its models’ pictures.

Now why didn’t I think of that?

Another benefit of aging, for there are some, is that vanity takes a permanent back seat. At some point we realize no matter what we try, short of comprehensive plastic surgery, we’re not going to alter our genetics.

A glance in the mirror confirms that I’m looking more like my mom with each passing day…especially without makeup. I’m fighting the battle of the bulge, but I’m pretty sure I’m not going to regain the figure I enjoyed in my 20s, 30s, and even 40s.

Who decided that ordinary women with looks ranging from…dour…to homely…to lovely…to breathtakingly gorgeous…wanted to see only one end of the spectrum represented in advertising and in the media. Whoever it was, or whoever they were, must’ve thought we were gullible sheep who wouldn’t buy anything unless touted by foxy hotties.

These days I tend to look past the glam and listen for substantitive words instead. I’m not saying beautiful women have no place in the world. They just don’t represent ALL the women in the world.

Wouldn’t it be nice to see faces and bodies more akin to those reflected back from our mirrors?

Advertisers need to overhaul their perception of what women want. We can help them by boycotting their products.

I for one could easily see Victoria Secret Angels banished for good. Flaunting their scantily clad bodies, these women invite men to fantasize. Some acting out their fantasies with murderous results.  And young girls to imagine themselves as less than, if they don’t see themselves reflected in these sensual goddesses.

How do I start this petition rolling?

 

Victoria's Secret Black Friday at Westfield Sa...

Victoria’s Secret Black Friday at Westfield San Francisco Centre 2009 (Photo credit: Steve Rhodes)

…or am i just a lone voice?…   😦

………hugmamma.   

love this life…

David Culiner’s manifesto…love this life. Musician, entrepeneur, one who philosophizes. He has his own website and is promoted on others. While I’m not following suit, I did think the words found on tags attached to his clothing line were worth repeating.

LovethisLife…
is about celebrating the moment
and that we’re not guaranteed
or owed another day
and how cool it is that what we hide
can actually be the fuel towards our glory
and that it’s not so bad being proven wrong

LovethisLife…
is about welcoming the blind turn
and the possibility that
 there’s no such thing as coincidence
and that empathy is incredibly sexy
and that it’s never too late to
pick up a guitar or a paintbrush
or to make an amend
or to make a new friend

LovethisLife…
could be about rekindling a past flame
or igniting a new one
or shapeshifting from a dreamer into a doer
or savouring the caress of a love long gone

LovethisLife…
means whatever it is you want it to mean
because

LovethisLife…
is a celebration of you and your path

Love thisLife…
‘cuz it could go at any second

you rock.

…amen!!!…

………hugmamma.   😉

out with the old, used…

…and I don’t mean me…or hubby, for that matter. Nope I’m referring to stuff. Lots and lots of stuff…tchotchkas, clothes, linens, baseball caps, framed pictures, curtain rods, picture frames, tossed pillows. Oy vay! So much history…of the junk kind.

So what am I doing on Independence day? Not celebrating my freedom, that’s for sure. More like trying to extricate myself from the things that bind. 

I’m prepping for a neighborhood, multi-family yard sale this weekend. You can believe I’m pricing everything to sell. For each item I relinquish, I regain a fraction of my freedom. Freedom from material things that have laid claim to me, mentally and physically.

Aging opens one’s eyes to the fact that…you really can’t take it with you. If you know what I mean.

So onwards and upwards. I’m throwing off the shackles that bind me to this earth…so I can enjoy what time I’ve left…before I fly heavenwards to meet my Maker. That’s my expectation…

…i sure hope it’s His…as well…  😦 

………hugmamma.    😆

p.s. hopefully you’re doing something more exciting…happy freedom day…celebrate your independence!!!

an eye-opener…but not really

Caught a piece on NPR news as I was fixing my bed yesterday that made me pause…and listen, giving it my full attention. It was about products sold in the stores, “Made in Washington,” and “Made in Oregon.” Oregon Ducks T-Shirt (madeinoregon.com)

The eye-opener, or in this case, the ear-opener, was that these retailers sell products that are NOT made in these states.

The reality is that businesses find themselves in bed with anyone who can help them make a buck. And another reality is that the U.S. has been out of the business of manufacturing goods for a long, long, long time. As with  most blue collar jobs involving life’s basic necessities…food, clothing, shelter…we as a country have handed them off to other countries only too happy to get the business. Instead, we’ve gone on to far loftier enterprises which involve the use of our gray matter…and the money is much, much, much better.

So I guess there’s a trade off. We make more money, some of us, doing white collar work. But then we have to hand much of what we make over to those who feed, clothe, and shelter us…like the Chinese, Bangladesh, Pakistani, Indians, Mexicans, Japanese, as well as the people of Hong Kong, Tai Wan, and so on.

Oh! And the salmon used in the “Made in Washington” store products is from Alaska.  (madeinwashington.com)

But as the store president explains, the finishing touches are handled in Washington. The same is true of the ti-shirts and other souvenirs the store sells. The logos and art work are applied in-state. It was telling to hear a salesperson say she feels uncomfortable having to answer customer complaints about the false advertising. And even moreso when she says she shops elsewhere for items that are truly…made in the U.S.A.

As we shop for Christmas gifts, we might start reading the labels as judiciously as we have begun to read the packaging of grocery store items. Graphic shows concept for updated food labels Photo: AP / AP (AP/AP)

We’ve been able to eliminate or at least curb our intake of trans fats, saturated fats, sugar and sodium. Perhaps the secret to restoring our financial well-being is cutting out all the fluff from our other basic necessities…like designer…jeans, shoes, handbags, household decor…and the list goes on. Then perhaps we’d have…

…good health…all the way around…

………hugmamma.  😉

autumn recalls…a bad memory

Crimson Carpet of Autumn Leaves

Image by Visualist Images via Flickr

Autumn in Connecticut remains one of my fondest memories…driving along country roads flanked on either side by trees awash in brilliant oranges, reds, yellows and rusts. My young daughter would often remark at her good fortune, being born in Redding…a rural town surrounded by more commercialized ones like Danbury Ridgefield, and Westport. I agreed. We were indeed lucky. Folks drove from far and wide to savor what we awoke to…every day. My husband and I still enjoy the seasonal change here in the Pacific Northwest, but the east coast remains the mecca for Mother Nature‘s “changing of the guard.”

One memory that will forever be interlaced with pleasanter ones of Fall foliage is my one and only brush with poison ivy. Actually, it was more like a wholehearted embrace of the menacing vine.

Without a home of her own, my mom would live with my various siblings and me for extended periods of time. Once she spent more than a year with us in Redding, It was from her that I inherited my love of gardening. We enjoyed time outdoors, on our knees, digging in the dirt. We’d often sit on the front porch of our small, 100-year-old Victorian farmhouse admiring our handiwork…flowers blooming…bees, butterflies and birds hovering…to snack on the delicacies spread before them.

Autumn fallen leaves of Zelkova serrata

Image via Wikipedia

The “fly in the ointment,” however, were dead leaves that had accumulated on our property alongside the road. From my mom’s bedroom window, she could see those leaves. For her it was a daily reminder that a passerby could flick a lit cigarette or match out his car window…and woosh!…a brush fire. 

My mom’s distress at the thought of a fire, pressed her to try and light one under my butt. Not something I, or my husband wanted to do on the weekends, after commuting and working in NYC all week. We assured her that all property owners blew fallen leaves to the edges of their property, where they were left to decompose. My mom was not swayed. She never let up trying to make her paranoia mine. What finally coerced me to rake and bag the leaves was my mom’s threat to do it herself. Need I say more?

Extinct?

Image by Chiot's Run via Flickr

I threw myself wholeheartedly into cleaning up the entire bank of our property that sloped down towards the road. Since it was a warm, summer day, and I was a naive, Hawaiian, I undertook the cleanup in shorts, ti-shirt…and bare hands. Once I got going, I was determined to do a great job in ridding the area of all debris.

And so for hours I raked leaves, scooping up handsful, emptying them into trash bags. Entangled in the leaves were vines. I decided they too needed to go. I proceeded to do battle with all vines that got in my way. At day’s end it felt good to survey all that I’d accomplished. My mom’s smiling approval was the icing on my cupcake.

Found the lotion

Image by T Hall via Flickr

My happiness was short-lived. A couple of days later my entire body was one giant itch. I didn’t have enough fingers to scratch myself into lasting relief. There wasn’t enough chalomine lotion in the drug store to afford relief either. The worse aspect, if anything could be worse, was having to go to work.

Commuting to and from my job as a paralegal at TWA was nerve-wracking. I wanted to scratch. Sitting in my office all day, I scratched while researching and writing briefs for arbitrations. Spots of pink medicine covered my arms, legs, neck and face. I wasn’t a pretty sight, that’s for sure.

Steamy Shower

Image by SweetCapture via Flickr

After a long day in NYC, I would return home, jump in the shower and stand under the hottest water I could bear. That numbed my skin, providing the most relief, however temporary. My doctor finally prescribed prednisone. It was a God-send, for it permanently cured my overall itch…from the inside out.

You can imagine my ongoing fear of vines. I don’t touch it unless I am certain what it is…like ivy…nasturtiums…or my favorite, clematis. One introduction to poison ivy was all I needed to know…

This is an old poison ivy vine from my backyard

Image via Wikipedia

…been there…done that…not going to do it again…ever…

………hugmamma.

like flies buzzing around…inside my brain

A proud mother watches from afar as Prince Wil...

Image by mharrsch via Flickr

One more thought before I finally end all discussion about Sarah Bradford’s Diana – Finally, The Complete Story. It centers upon her devotion to her sons, William and Harry. Not that there ever were any doubts. But first-hand testimony of a heretofore, unheard from source, only strengthens the universally held belief that the Princess of Wales excelled at mothering. 

According to Meredith Etherington-Smith, then marketing director of Christie’s Worldwide, who from September 1996 to July 1997 helped Diana prepare for the sale of her gowns to aid her favorite charities:

Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother

Image via Wikipedia

The British Royal Family in 1880.

Image via Wikipedia

One thing she did take seriously was her role first as mother to the boys and second, as Meredith put it, as the Queen Mother of the twenty-first century. ‘Her relationship with the boys was patently a wonderful one…She was a very good mother. I expected them to be more protective of her than they were, and they weren’t, they weren’t mewling and puking and clustering round her. They didn’t have a neurotic relationship. It seemed to me to be perfectly healthy and normal and nice and a great tribute of all to Diana and secondly to Charles.’ ‘Constitutional plans–well, she felt her long-distance role was to be the Queen Mother of the twenty-first century, that the influence the Queen Mother had had on her grandchildren in a way, she felt that was the kind of role which in a curious way she had been chosen for and one did feel that there was a bit of divine right entering into this, a little bit of fate. And she felt that William should be a democratic King, that the boys needed to have friends, that they needed to know their generation, they needed to know politicians, not just Tory ones, that they needed to know the Blair children. They needed to be part of contemporary English life, not an English life that was really out of date by the end of the war–and I’m paraphrasing some quite long conversations about this. And her job was to make sure they were released from the glass cage, and that when he did come to the throne, a lot of people would know him, and he wouldn’t be a mystery, wouldn’t be a royal freak, that he would be a person. I think that she very much thought she would be a power behind the throne…Diana emphasized her desire that William should be a ‘very English King‘: she felt that her Spencer blood had a lot to contribute. ‘She felt that because of the spider’s web of marital alliances and blood they (the Royal Family) weren’t English. “I come from an English family,” she had said proudly, and “we (the Spencers) are a lot older than they are.” She was very proud of the Duke of Marlborough, for instance.

The Prince Willam Cup. The trophy that is cont...

Image via Wikipedia

Who is hotter? Prince Harry or Prince William?

Image by feastoffun.com via Flickr

Diana was very anxious that her boys should not become isolated as the previous royal generation had been, as indeed their father had been. That was why she had wanted the boys, and William in particular, to go to Eton because they would have proper friends there and not sycophants, ‘Diana said, “There’s no messing around at Eton about someone being the heir to the throne. If you’re not popular, charming, intelligent, or good at games, you’re not going to rate, are you?” And so William knows a lot of people. And the interesting thing about that she said, “I think they’ll be protection, those friends too. They’ve grown up together and they’ll be protective.” And they are. You don’t see grab shots of William that often, and why? Because his friends don’t utter. She’d thought all this through. That’s what I mean by being smart.’ ‘They had money which they carried and spent and they went shopping. In other words she was trying to provide as normal a life as possible–they could come out from behind the glass window, and that was her great legacy.’

Princess Diana dancing with John Travolta in t...

Image via Wikipedia

Princess Diana

 Why would Princess Diana be so forthcoming with Etherington-Smith, you ask? Probably because she was older, very much like her other confidantes, Lady Annabel Goldsmith and Margueritte Littman. “Meredith surmised that Diana was very comfortable in the company of older women. ‘I think possibly, without being too psychotherapeutic about it, because of the lack of a mother…most of her confidantes apart from Rosa Monckton, were actually older women…and I think she felt very comfortable, they weren’t competition, they were fun and she could become slightly girly with them without the baggage of “I’m the most beautiful person in the world”…’ “

Another random, final, or maybe not so final, thought occurred as I lay awake last night, reading I Love You, Ronnie. President Reagan had a very human, extremely sentimental side. Apart from his family and a few close friends of the couple, I’m sure no one suspected what a great romantic he was, and how he could wax so poetic. At the same time, however, his vulnerability as a human being comes through. To know that the man who could dial up a third world war lay bare his soul in love letters to his wife, is hugely touching. I find myself remembering Ronald Reagan as President, but trying to imagine this newly revealed man behind the strong facade. What I picture is someone like my husband, my father-in-law, friends in high corporate positions. Not only them, but husbands and fathers the world over who, to the best of their abilities, care for their families.

Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan aboard an Ameri...

Image via Wikipedia

The following letter was from a man to his wife, his best friend. It’s a letter any man could’ve written, in fact. This one just happened to be from a President to his First Lady, although at the time he was a working stiff, and she was a housewife.

Ronald Reagan
Pacific Palisades
Thurs. (May 24, 1963)

My darling
     Last night we had our double telephone call and all day (I didn’t work) I’ve been re-writing the story of my life as done by Richard Hubler. Tomorrow I’ll do my last day of location and then I’ll call you and I’ll tell you I love you and I’ll mean it but somehow because of the inhibitions we all have I won’t feel that I’ve expressed all that you really mean to me.
     Whether Mike helps buy his first car or spends the money on sports coats isn’t really important. We both want to get him started on a road that will lead to his being able to provide for himself. In x number of years we’ll face the same problem with The Skipper and somehow we’ll probably find right answers. (Patti is another kind of problem and we’ll do all we can to make that one right, too.) But what is really important is that having fulfilled our responsibilities to our offspring we haven’t been careless with the treasure that is ours–namely what we are to each other.
     Do you know that when you sleep you curl your fists up under your chin and many mornings when it is barely dawn I lie facing you and looking at you until finally I have to touch you ever so lightly so you won’t wake up–but touch you I must or I’ll burst?

Cropped screenshot of Ann Blyth from the trail...

Image via Wikipedia

     Just think: I’ve discovered I can be fond of Ann Blyth because she and her Dr. seem to have something of what we have. Of course it can’t really be as wonderful for them because she isn’t you but still it helps to know there are others who might just possibly know a little about what it’s like to love someone so much that it seems as if I have my hand stretched clear across the mountains and desert until it’s holding your hand there in our room in front of the fireplace.
     Probably this letter will reach you only a few hours before I arrive myself, but not really because right now as I try to say what is in my heart I think my thoughts must be reaching you without waiting for paper and ink and stamps and such. If I ache, it’s because we are apart and yet that can’t be because you are inside and a part of me, so we aren’t really apart at all. Yet I ache but wouldn’t be without the ache, because that would mean being without you and that I can’t be because I love you.

Your Husband

Queen Mother Rose

Image by OctogenEm via Flickr

…would that all men could, and would, …..bare their souls
…..without flinching ….. at the thought ….. hugmamma.

where were you…

…when Diana, the Princess of Wales died? I can only think of one other person for whom that question has been asked…John F. Kennedy, our President. I know I was in school when he died, because classes were suspended. Instead we all walked to church to pray for him. In Diana’s case I think I was asleep, and learned with disbelief, about her death early the next morning.

Unlike President Kennedy‘s death of which so much has been written, documented, and analyzed in books and on TV shows, Diana’s death has been treated more gingerly it seems, at least here in the U.S. Either that, or I didn’t bother to read about it in the tabloid magazines because of their tendency to sensationalize the facts to make a profit. I didn’t set out to learn about them even now, they just fell into my lap, by way of Sarah Bradford’s Diana – Finally, The Complete Story

I chose to share this with you because as in life, in death Diana’s beauty remained intact. Her serene appearance belied the inner damage that resulted from the horrific car accident.

It took almost an hour to free Diana from the wrecked car. She appeared to her rescuers to be the least injured of the four: only a slight trickle of blood from mouth and nose indicated that anything was wrong. Yet her internal injuries were life- threatening. After the initial impact the Mercedes had spun away, rotating at high speed before crashing into the tunnel wall on the right. At the first impact Dodi and Diana had been thrown violently forward against the backs of the front seats (not having worn their seat belts), then the rotation of the car had flung them around against the interior. When the Mercedes finally stopped, pointing back towards the mouth of the tunnel, Diana was slumped on the floor, against the back of Rees-Jones‘s seat, facing down the tunnel. Her legs were twisted, one under her, the other on the seat. With her eyes closed and her face undamaged apart from a cut on her forehead, she looked beautiful and as if she were asleep. But the shock of the impact and deceleration on her body had displaced her heart from the left to the right side, severing the pulmonary vein and rupturing the pericardium (the protective sac round the heart), flooding her chest cavity with blood. …

Photo of the Chapel at the Pitié-Salpêtrière H...

Image via Wikipedia

Yet to the first doctor on the scene, Frederic Mailliez, who had been driving through the tunnel in the opposite direction, she ‘looked pretty fine…I thought this woman had a chance.’ He put an oxygen mask over her face while attempting to clear her air passages. When the ambulance arrived, Dr. Jan-Marc Martino, a surgical anesthetist and resuscitation specialist, worked on Diana. Before they could transfer her to the ambulance, she suffered a heart attack. She was given cardiac massage and a respiratory tube was inserted into her mouth. Then she was lifted on to a stretcher and placed in the ambulance which crawled its way with a police escort to La Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital, stopping once on the way as Diana’s blood pressure dropped to a dangerous level. She was put on a ventilator. ‘She was unconscious and under artificial respiration. Her arterial blood pressure was very low but her heart was still beating. X-rays revealed the horrific state of her internal injuries and afterwards she suffered a second heart attack. An incision in her chest revealed that bleeding was coming through a hole in the membrane round her heart and later that her superior left pulmonary vein was torn. Adrenalin was administered and cardiac massage kept her heart going but only just; there was no independent rhythm. Diana was to all intents and purposes already beyond help. Electric-shock therapy was administered, to no effect. At 4 a.m. (3 a.m. British time) on the morning of 31 August, she was pronounced dead.

Charles, Prince of Wales outside the White Hou...

Image via Wikipedia

And while it was rumored at the time that Diana allegedly spoke a few words to Prince Charles, that was obviously not the case. “When Prince Charles and Diana’s sisters arrived in Paris, they found Diana looking serene and composed in death, wearing Lady Jay’s black cocktail dress and shoes, her hair freshly blow-dried, the rosary which Mother Teresa had given her in her hand. After Charles and her sisters had spent time alone with her, she was placed in a coffin for the return journey.” 

According to those who accompanied the hearse through the streets of Paris, there was an outpouring of support for the People’s Princess.

‘They do it differently in Paris–they applaud. With the coffin, Prince Charles, the President, millions of police by now,…and the vicar (the Rev. Martin Draper), the whole of Paris was applauding…

Sadly Diana’s body was not received with the same honor bestowed upon it by the Parisians and the British masses, when it came to rest in the Chapel Royal at St. James’s Palace. Good friend, and the woman thought to have been most like a mother to the princess, Lucia Flecha de Lima flew from the U.S., where she lived, to London, upon learning of Diana’s death. To her amazement the coffin lay “…in lonely state, without flowers.”

Flowers for Princess Diana's Funeral

Image by Maxwell Hamilton via Flickr

‘The first day when I arrived at the chapel there was not one single flower on her coffin. Then I said to the chaplain that if he didn’t allow flowers in, I would throw open the doors of the chapel so everyone could see her there without a single flower and all the flowers outside that people had brought. I said, “Tomorrow I’ll come back with my flowers for her.” And I came every day. And from then on I brought flowers, not only mine but from friends and people who knew her. And I went to a flower van outside the Michelin restaurant (Bibendum in the Fulham Road) and he said: “What are they for?” And I told him, and every day after that he insisted I take flowers to her for nothing…’ ‘And they (the flowers) were around her, over her coffin representing the flowers of the world, and I said to Prince Charles, “These flowers represent the people, thousands and millions of flowers all around the world that people want to give to Princess Diana.” I’ve never felt like that in my life. I have experienced personal loss…but the public’s reaction was extraordinary…’

 One other item mentioned in Bradford’s book caught my attention. While Queen Elizabeth seemingly struggled with her decision to recognize Diana’s death with the pomp and circumstance demanded by the people, personally she too had to deal with the passing of her former daughter-in-law, the mother of the queen’s beloved grand-children. Bradford wrote of Dickie Arbiter, the most experienced of royal officers who had worked for the Waleses before their divorce,

The coffin passing through one of the streets.

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Contrary to public perception, the Queen was, Arbiter said, ‘very grief-stricken’ by Diana’s death. ‘On the day of the funeral when the Royal Family came out of Buckingham Palace as the gun carriage carrying Diana’s coffin passed, the Queen bowed. And the only other time that the Queen bows is at the Cenotaph.’

…there are the rumors…there are the myths…and then there’s…the truth…hugmamma.

Rose, Diana Princess of Wales

Image by nekonomania via Flickr

…princess diana…england’s rose…

 

Diana, Princess of Wales, at the Cannes film f...

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staying power…us vs. them

Despite the turmoil bedbugs have caused in my family’s life recently, I’ve an underlying admiration for their “sticktoittiveness.” I’m certain you’ve heard the word before, although it’s probably not in Webster’s Dictionary. After all, bedbugs are just trying to coexist, especially since they need our blood to survive. Don’t you think we can spare a little, now and then. If it weren’t for the itchiness and accompanying rash…???

During his initial visit to my daughter’s apartment, the rep from All America Pest Control, demonstrating his vast knowledge of bedbugs, explained that there’d been an infestation in the U.S. back in the 80s. However until recently, the problem had been on the wane. With the influx of people from Third World Countires, the rep indicated that bedbugs were again on the rise. Why so?

Image representing Bill Gates as depicted in C...

Image via CrunchBase

According to the rep’s explanation, bedbugs are rampant in Third World Countries because the people have not the means to erradicate them. Since the pests aren’t a health threat, as yet, the people learn to live with bedbugs. In other words, they’re viewed as a nuisance, not a hazard. Makes total sense. Who has unlimited funds to drive the little buggers from existence? Maybe Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Queen Elizabeth. Not me and mine, that’s for sure. Therefore as a result of the inability to contain the bedbugs, they are being inadvertently transported by Third World Country travelers, via their belongings, as many seek to improve their lots elsewhere in the world.

My personal take on the rep’s stance is that we should learn to live with bedbugs to some degree. It’s a fact that world travel isn’t going to disappear, and neither are the nasty pests for that matter. So what other recourse have we? We’ve not the financial resources to exterminate their entire population, nor have we the stamina to Clorox-wipe them out of existence. Believe me, I tried. After cleaning too many articles to count, my daughter and I took to garbage bagging stuff and leaving them to bake in the heat of her locked car for a couple of days. Otherwise, we’d still be sanitizing every crevice of every single thing. That’s more my friend Sylvia’s “cup of tea.” She has staying power to match that of bedbugs, especially when it comes to cleaning.

Source: Jackie Gleason Columbus, OH Desc: Pict...

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Another bug with staying power is the termite. It’s a native of tropical climates, because of the warmth and moisture. I’d forgotten what nuisances termites can be until our family rented a spacious home atop Diamond Head one summer years ago. It was in the Black Point neighborhood where the view of nearby Waikiki Beach is stunning. Sipping coffee while watching early morning surfers ride the waves was luxury personified. While the house retained its charm, it was in need of updating. But with so many windows giving way to beautiful views of the flora and fauna, as well as the ocean, and allowing the tropical breezes to wend their way unobstructed throughout the many rooms, we felt we were in paradise, which we were. Having extended family over to enjoy our hospitality was the reason for our once-in-a-lifetime treat. The “fly in the ointment,” were the termites.

Mastotermes darwiniensis or Darwin Termite, is...

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Termites would settle on the window sills in never-ending numbers. I’d Windex them away, only to find more settling in as replacements later. The kitchen windows seemed to hold a particular attraction for them. Keeping termites from alighting on our food was a battle. Not a major one, but still a struggle nonetheless. It was not an appetizing sight to watch their little bodies writhing about as they attempted to take flight. There was no fear of them attacking us for they were so inconsequentially small. But they were as bothersome to us, as David and his slingshot were to Goliath.

Just as with bedbugs, and most definitely cockroaches, termites will probably outlast the human race on this planet we like to call ours. It’s my feeling we only rent, while the insects own. We’d better start being nice to our landlords.

Inspecting for Bedbugs

Image by bug_girl_mi via Flickr

…here bedbug…nice bedbug…hugmamma. 😉      

cicadas, food poisoning, and bedbugs…???

Moses Pleading with Israel, as in Deuteronomy ...

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It was like the plague of locusts as foretold by Moses to the Pharoah, if he did not allow the Hebrews to leave Egypt. Wouldn’t you know that at the time we needed to undertake my daughter’s move from one apartment to another, made monumental by having to sanitize everything first, the cicadas would have to rise from “dead?” Evidently before the adults die they bury their eggs in the ground at the foot of a tree, and they all hatch 13 years later.

When we lived in Connecticut more than a decade ago, it was somewhat charming to hear the cicadas chirping outside our bedroom window at night. But I was not prepared for their dive bombing antics while we attempted to move stuff in and out of both apartments and the storage unit. My daughter and I had to hope a cicada wouldn’t fly into our ears or mouths as we weaved in between their flight paths. Nor was it fun to try sidestepping their seemingly dead bodies which lay everywhere, in the parking lots, on the walkways, on stairs, and most definitely forming welcome mats outside the apartment doors. Some were dead; others would suddenly take flight scaring the bejesus out of us. Even as we removed bins and garbage bags filled with my daughter’s furnishings from her car, we were waving our arms frantically so the cicadas wouldn’t find their way inside. One did. I had to kill it because it kept trying to fly at me.

A pair of Greek cicadas

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For a month or so, cicadas were everywhere, in town, in neighborhoods, at malls, at grocery stores, at restaurants…everywhere! The buggers crawled up sides of buildings, houses. They seemed to occupy every tree and bush. Bumping into one accidentally would ensure being bombarded by cicadas not keen on being disturbed. It was my theory that if there were breezes, the insects remained in trees, but since that was few and far between in the torrid mid-90 degree temperatures, the cicadas preferred to find respite on the cool concrete of nearby structures. So it became us against them, as to who had the right of way in the buildings. Their sheer numbers made them mightier it seemed. We could hear the lone shriek here and there as women, us included, came under attack.

Thankfully, the cicadas were taking their leave of earth toward the end of my stay. Their numbers seemed to be dwindling. Since I’ve been home, I’ve not heard my daughter speak of them anymore. But she has assured me she doesn’t plan to be living in that state 13 years from now. Know what? I’ve already told her she’ll have to get her next boyfriend to help her move, whoever he may be. I’ll definitely be too old to repeat this once-in-a-lifetime experience. She laughed; so did I. Hmmm…

I mentioned the heat. Unless you live in the south, you don’t know what hot is. While the warmth was a welcome relief from Seattle’s wintry climes, I felt like I’d gone to hell, bypassing more pleasant destinations like Hawaii or Florida. It was wonderful dressing in shorts and flip-flops every day. But feeling the need to take baths several times daily was not joyous. The heat was made even more unbearable by the equally high humidity. But riding high on adrenalin, my daughter and I were not deterred from our task. Until another predator came calling, an invisible one…salmonella.

 

Salmonella typhimurium invading cultured human...

 

I’ve had my fair share of food poisoning episodes over the course of my 61 years, none worse than when my daughter and I visited NYC years ago. She was enrolled in a summer dance program at a well-known performing arts high school near Lincoln Center. Unfortunately the name escapes me, it’s so famous. I jest. It really is. I think Broadway and Hollywood celebs have attended it. Anyway…I took my daughter and a fellow student dancer to dinner at a local Italian restaurant. The food and conversation was great. As I downed forkfuls of one of my favorite desserts, a cannoli, it seemed the ricotta cheese filling was runny. It seemed odd, but I didn’t stop eating it. Huge mistake for which I paid dearly hours later.

Rather than spending the night in bed, I was in the bathroom relieving myself of every last drop of that rancid cannoli. Finding no reprieve I finally had to call a taxi to take me to the nearest ER. Vomiting blood scared me into leaving my daughter alone in a hotel room sound asleep. Fortunately my good friend Katie and her teenage son were in the same hotel, coincidentally deciding to visit NYC that weekend. So I alerted her to my situation and asked her to be on call should my hospital stay be longer than I hoped. As it turned out I was totally dehydrated, and the blood was from having aggravated my stomach tissues with all the vomiting. Intravenous fluids and rest got me back on my feet so that I was able to walk back to my hotel, a few long blocks away.

Returning to the present bout with food poisoning, my daughter was the first to begin vomiting and so on. She literally sat on the floor, head nearly in the toilet bowl, spewing forth everything she’d eaten within the last 24 hours. It seemed to go on and on. I was concerned that she’d become so dehydrated, that I asked several times if she needed me to take her to the ER. Having already been there, done that when I was with her in February, my daughter was not inclined to repeat that long, drawn out, 7 hour scenario in the hospital. Thankfully she started feeling better probably a day-and-a-half later. Knowing she needed to maintain a balance in her electrolytes, I got her Pedialyte juice. Once stabilized, she began having broths, soda crackers, and eventually more solid food. Meanwhile, I pushed on with cleaning and moving stuff, as my daughter lay resting. Unfortunately I didn’t escape her fate. As she seemed to be on her way to recovering, I took my turn at the toilet bowl. And then I was laid up in bed as well. We were two miserable human beings as we lay amid the mess in her old apartment.

You’re probably wondering why we opted to sleep where the bedbugs were rather than in my daughter’s new apartment? Well, remember the repairmen? This is where they come in, but that’s another chapter. So go have some coffee, a bite to eat, a snooze. But come back later…

and i’ll tell you another story…hugmamma. 😉  btw…i remember the name of that high school in nyc…la guardia performing arts high school…no memory loss here…just delayed…ha, ha.

how do you rid everything you own of bedbugs…???

Cleaning! Cleaning! Cleaning! I’m here to tell you that even then there’s no guarantee you’ve rid yourself of the little beasties! Bedbugs hunker down and bide their time. Evidently they can live without human blood for several months…hibernating. Unlike bears who, by virtue of their size, can’t be missed, and who CAN be deterred by jingling my bear bells, bedbugs literally come and go as they please, undetected by the naked eye it seems. Left to their own devices they multiply, until they’ve overtaken their surroundings and a full-blown infestation is underway.

Don't Let the Bedbugs Bite

Image by CH®iS via Flickr

According to the rep from All America Pest Control, the infestation in my daughter’s old apartment was ultra-low. Even the Orkin rep had indicated that my daughter must be very sensitive to bug bites, which she is. Lucky for her, if getting bitten 30+ times is considered lucky, for had she not been bothered she would’ve been inundated by bedbugs. By comparison, dealing with 2 larvae and 1 dead bedbug found in the bed’s dust ruffle when it was laundered and removed from the dryer, was a piece of cake. Or so we thought.

No matter 1 dead bedbug or 1,000 live ones, cleaning everything is mandatory…or else! But you know what? My daughter became so paranoid that nothing short of baking the entire apartment would have satisfied her. But if “spot cleaning” cost $600, what do you think the charge would’ve been for bringing in heavy duty equipment to fry the little suckers? Probably a couple of thousand dollars!!! So instead the “light brigade,” an arthritic, middle-aged mom and her broken-handed daughter set to work cleaning every crevice of everything.

First my daughter had to recover her belongings from storage, bringing them back to the old apartment. No way were we going to take them to the new apartment without sanitizing them of bedbugs and/or their larvae. It didn’t matter that we couldn’t see them. Remember, they like to hide until the dinner bell rings…in their little pea-brains, I guess. While my daughter undertook the massive job of sorting all, and I do mean ALL, her clothes into piles for laundering, I proceeded to clorox wipe furnishings. I’m not sure whose job was worse.

Thanks to my generosity (or idiocy) throughout the years, my daughter has clothes up the wazoo!!! Not only were they hanging, organized neatly according to type, style, color, fancy, casual in her huge, walk-in closet, but they also occupied shelves in the closet, dresser drawers, bins in a bookcase as well as the second bedroom closet. Mind you, she is a ballerina requiring a whole wardrobe of dancewear in addition to street clothes. Nonetheless, the fault is mine… and my husband’s. Born into large families where luxuries were nonexistent, we, like many of our generation, tend to shower our offspring with what we never had. Bless our daughter’s heart for she has never asked for anything, probably because she knows all her needs will be met, and some. Perhaps the bedbugs were a blessing in disguise?!? Forgive me, I must be delusional. However my daughter and I agree that she has no need of any further piece of fabric, a favorite hiding place of those dreaded insects.

We felt the same about the furnishings. Wiping down every lamp and lampshade, picture frame, trinket box, extension cord, plastic food container, electric fan, dining room chair, pair of earrings, bracelet, necklace, cd speaker, clothes hanger, wire basket, wicker basket, candleholder, vase, candle, book, magazine, wastebasket, utensil holder and utensils, not to mention the really large items like a tri-fold room divider, made me sick to my stomach, literally. Actually there is some of that in this never-ending tragi-comedy.

North Face of Mt. Everest

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It was a massive undertaking, but my daughter and I “hit the ground running” when we returned to her hometown after she visited with my husband and me. With adrenalin pumping, she and I proceeded to climb our own “Mt. Everest.” While she began the process of laundering her clothes, I spent the first day-and-a-half painting her new apartment.

Benjamin Moore’s “white stone,” a soft blue-gray, lightened and brightened the heretofore dingy, gold walls prevalent in 70s’ construction. While I chose that color for the public rooms, I opted for a soft blue in the one bedroom and a soft lavender in the tiny bathroom. I wanted to preserve and enhance the vintage charm of the apartment with its crown mouldings and high ceilings. Funny thing, when repairmen stopped by (another part of this tale), the first thing they asked was if we had just had the apartment painted. Of course I owned up to the fact that I was the painter, but that the tops of the walls needed to be done. And since I was too short, my husband would be finishing the job. The men grinned, admitting to their wonderment as to who we might have hired to do the job. Intimating that they thought we’d been “taken,” until they realized that a middle-aged woman, albeit a short one, did a damn good job. If I must say so myself.

From here the story takes an unexpected turn, so make sure you come back for more. Suffice it to say that I find it somewhat therapeutic to be reliving several of the worst weeks of my life, physically and mentally. They left me spent in every way. I was certain this was my final parenting job, that I could mother no more.

you think???…hugmamma. 😉 

tenant must pay for bed bug treatment…???

Adult bed bug, Cimex lectularius

Image via Wikipedia

You read correctly. In the continuing struggle to rid her apartment of bed bugs my daughter was advised that of the $600 charged by All America Pest Control, she had to pay $400, the apartment management would pay $200. That was the proverbial “last straw” as far as we were concerned.

A cat at the Seattle Animal Shelter

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Trying to carry on with her life as best she could, my daughter attended the final performances of her ballet company, cheering on her fellow dancers from the wings. In addition to that she partook of their annual choreographic project, WIP (Works in Progress), in which she choreographed a solo upon one of the trainees. My daughter also helped with administrative details like marketing the show, coordinating photo sessions with the dancers involved, distributing advertising fliers, and making contact with the animal shelter for whom donations were being requested as entrance fee for the show. All this while battling bedbugs and sleeping with one eye open, or not going home to sleep at all. Oh yes, she still had use of only one hand. Luckily, she’s left-handed so she could still drive, and write, and eat, and bathe and dress herself, however awkwardly. Within days of honoring her final commitments, my daughter came home for some much needed R and R.

Having seen to it that All America Pest Control treated her furnishings first, albeit minimally, my daughter approved our emailing the apartment complex‘s assistant manager detailing our disdain for how the bedbug situation had been handled. To be told by her that there was no plan in place to combat the critters once discovered, that our daughter’s case was the first, was unbelievable. The problem with bedbugs had been covered by local and national broadcasts beginning a year ago. That management didn’t take preliminary steps to deal with them since infestations were being reported to occur weekly, if not daily, in hotels and other public places seemed irresponsible. A worst case, best case scenario should’ve been worked out with Orkin, rather than subjecting my daughter to being the test case, the guinea pig. But matters went from bad to worse when my daughter was told that bed bugs weren’t covered by Orkin’s treatment plan, that they were lumped in with “general insects” for which there was no coverage. And so my daughter was being charged for treatment decided upon by management, which was less than satisfactory when compared with what Orkin’s rep said her company would’ve done. And never mind that my daughtered’d already spent almost $300 in following Orkin’s instructions.

As fate would have it, our family had already decided to move my daughter into a smaller, one-bedroom apartment. Of course we were prepared to honor her lease at the old one which didn’t expire until the end of July. But with the bedbug incident occurring the beginning of May, and my daughter not occupying the premises because of the bugs, we requested the lease be terminated the end of June. We felt the situation had been mishandled from the start: no formal treatment plan in place, allowing the Orkin rep to speak for the apartment complex, and then not following through with what she’d outlined to my daughter as the course of action, effectively telling her she shouldn’t have spent the several hundred dollars she did in compliance. We also asked that management pay for treatment because of their failure to point out that erradicating bedbugs would be my daughter’s responsibility, at the time she signed the lease.

What recourse did we have if the apartment’s management didn’t honor our requests? Social media, of course. While I explained in our email that we were just seeking recompense for the wrong done my daughter and no more, I went on to say that if she was not recused from her lease a month early and if she had to pay for treatment, we would have no choice but to broadcast the injustice to the world via the internet, and consumer advocates on TV. Thankfully the outcome was predictable, but only because the regional manager realized their mistake in not having a management rep present when the Orkin woman met with my daughter. It became a case of “she said – she said.” As it turns out, Orkin’s rep denied her entire conversation with my daughter, giving a signed affidavit that she lied about everything. Can you imagine?!? Why she would put herself through hell moving everything into storage, first having to find and rent a unit at the last minute, buy and load up huge plastic bins into her car with a broken hand in a cast, and sleep on her couch, and then on an air mattress is beyond comprehension, except for the fact that she was obviously complying with the advice of an expert in erradicating bedbugs, the Orkin rep! Did I want to nail that woman’s hide to the wall? You betcha! It’s a good thing I live 3,000 miles away.

In her email response the regional manager of the apartment complex apologized profusely for the distress my daughter experienced, but faulted her with not speaking up about it earlier. My email reply explained that my daughter handled the situation in a very grown up, rational manner. It wasn’t until the treatment went from happening 3 days after her conversation with Orkin’s rep, to 2 weeks later, that my daughter became anxious. Who wouldn’t in an apartment completely torn apart, with furnishings in and out of storage, having to board her cat at the vet’s in anticipation of the bedbug treatment (costing another $200 because of the delay), sleeping on the couch and then an air mattress and on friends’ couches, all with a broken hand?!?

Having put all our family’s frustrations into writing was very therapeutic. And it got us what we asked for as a result. The regional manager bore the complete burden of fault since management didn’t accompany Orkin’s rep in her visit with my daughter. In compensation, she bore no responsibility for payment for the bedbug treatment; her account was credited with $750; and she was allowed to exit her lease whenever she chose. In response to the regional manager’s generosity, I refrained from publicly denigrating their facility and its management.

My daughter was able to secure her new apartment on May 3rd, a month earlier than originally intended. And she was allowed out of her lease on the old apartment, without penalty, and compensated for her out-of-pocket expenses incurred in the treatment of the bedbugs. Lessons learned? Before signing on the dotted line, ask if bedbug treatment is included in lease. Make sure someone from management is present when advised how to proceed by a pest control rep. Ask questions, register complaints, and seek retribution if warranted. But always remember…you get more with honey, than you do with vinegar. But if you don’t succeed, get out your cannons…and blast away!!!

One foot shown en pointe.

Image via Wikipedia

the end? no way…the fun (ha!)only begins as the “saga of the bedbugs” continues…so stay tuned for the next episode…hugmamma.  😉 

lie down with your bed bugs…???

A bedbug nymph feeding on host

Image via Wikipedia

I jest, I think?!? Perhaps I’ve not fully recovered from my recent mind-boggling, mind-numbing journey to hell and back. Suffice it to say it felt like boot camp to this over-the-hill, suburban, empty-nester mom. I went from aging gracefully to battle-axe within a few short days. Ergo my advice to you. Bed bugs? Embrace the little buggers with all your mind, body and soul. That’s what my daughter’s decided to do if any of the critters hopped along for the ride to her new digs. Know what? I agree wholeheartedly!

Let me begin at the beginning, always a good place to start. A couple of months ago, my daughter suffered tiny bites to her arms which itched. Initially she chalked it up to being outdoors enjoying the warm weather. Especially since she’s sensitive to mosquitoes. Over time she suspected the culprits might be fleas, or even chiggers since she lives in the south. But when she googled information, it became clear that bed bugs might be to blame.

An Orkin rep met with my daughter after she notified her apartment’s management of her suspicions. Since the pest control company regularly treated the complex as part of a maintenance contract, my daughter was predisposed to believing everything the rep said. Based upon the discovery of one larva embedded in a seam of the boxspring of my daughter’s bed, she was informed that she needed to remove all clothing and decor from the apartment in preparation for treatment. Doing so would facilitate Orkin’s ability to treat all walls, carpeted floors, closets, table tops, dresser drawers, insides of cupboards, and of course, beds, sofa and other furniture.

Understandably overwhelmed by what she needed to do, my daughter, whose right hand was in a cast since she’d broken it during a rehearsal 2 weeks prior, felt she had no choice but to comply with Orkin’s instructions. The woman indicated the apartment would undergo treatment toward the end of the week. With barely 3 days to accomplish the task my daughter went into high gear renting storage space, buying plastic bins and packing up everything as instructed. Because her dancer friends were in the theatre rehearsing for their final performance of the season, my daughter had to pretty much go it alone. Fortunately one friend who isn’t a dancer was able to help out when she wasn’t working. 

Not wanting to subject herself to any further bites, my daughter slept on her couch; her girlfriend bunked down on an air mattress. A day or two after the Orkin rep’s visit, the young, assistant manager for the apartment complex called to say that Orkin’s quote was exorbitant, so another company was being asked to bid on the job. Unfortunately its rep could not come until the following Monday. Needless to say my daughter was upset since her apartment was in total disarray, and she’d already spent several hundred dollars to prepare for Orkin. The assistant manager knew this because my daughter told her what she had to do, when the young lady called and asked what the rep had said. At that point, my daughter was not told to hold off, so she proceeded.

Accompanied by the apartment complex’s assistant manager and regional manager, the rep for All America Pest Control told my daughter she needn’t have evacuated the apartment of her furnishings. He claimed his company would’ve worked around them in treating for bed bugs. He too found another larva in the boxspring mattress, and proceeded to tell my daughter that she needed to live normally, which included sleeping in her bed. If she didn’t, the bed bugs would follow her to where she slept, thus infesting other parts of the apartment. You can imagine her reaction, although mine would’ve left no one wondering how I felt. My daughter is more restrained, for sure.

You know who got the contract to treat the apartment for bed bugs, don’t you? All America Pest Control because they came in with a more conservative approach and price quote. Two weeks after my daughter notified management of possible bed bugs, treatment was rendered. The only items that she could see that were treated were her bed and the bed in the second bedroom, the sofa and one piece of luggage. She was told that closets couldn’t be treated because she’d not rid them of everything. I guess the rep forgot to tell his crew that he stopped my daughter from continuing her evacuation of everything. When the rep explained they’d have to come back in a few weeks to check if they’d been successful, and then again a few weeks after that, you can understand my daughter’s wariness as to whether or not the bed bugs were eliminated. Compared with what Orkin’s rep had said about treating the apartment above because bed bugs travel through walls and that the apartment management would be asked to change out the switchplates because bed bugs like to hide there, my daughter did not feel All America Pest Control had done as thorough a job.

Sleep tight and don't let the bed bugs bite

Image via Wikipedia

Between sleeping on the air mattress, since my daughter was bitten while sleeping on the couch, which meant her girlfriend boarded at another friend’s, and taking friends’ offers to sleep at their apartments, my daughter was only at her apartment during the day continuing to bag everything up to transport to her storage facility. As she put it, she felt like she was in a “war zone,” and that the bed bugs were winning. It gave her the creeps imagining that they were lying in wait for her. Evidently, they don’t make their move until a body is resting. They don’t like disturbances, you see. I guess they could be aptly named “vampire bugs.” They suck your blood while you sleep.

Stay tuned for the next installment of my yarn. Believe me, it’s not a “tall story,” more like a thriller with twists and turns…

thanks for hanging in there…hugmamma. 😉