Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Essential Summer Tunes

Playlist of Summer 2015!  PARTY











I daydreamed of my mother traveling to LA in the 60s and socializing with the musicians in Laurel Canyon.  She was a little too young for that.

My dad was perfectly aged to be a late 60s bohemian, but instead he just dated them while maintaining his workaday blue collar lifestyle, buying homes and driving pickup trucks.  He's a strange combination of wildness and staid Americana.  When I was a little girl, I would flinch and silently swallow tears during his infrequent, but memorable rages, but now sympathize more with my dad's angry side, and sometimes I shock even he with my acidic comments about the world.  Sorry, dad, but I guess you shouldn't be that surprised?

But here's something I love:



Eric Burdon and his subdued and wry body language in this video which could otherwise be another silly 60s beach party.  He acts as though he's written the lyrics himself.  But we know he didn't - he just loves good music.



Because no matter how upbeat it is, nothing is sadder than Sam Cook's version.  Unlike most hit artists of the day, Sam actually wrote this song.  If you've ever read about his death, you're unable to hear his voice without wanting to clench your fingernails into your fist.  Police cover up in civil rights era Los Angeles.  What's changed?

But let's go back to olde towne.



You're welcome.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Disaster of Unknown Proportion

I have never been so relieved in my life by something so irritating.

My mother is constantly telling me that I freak out too hard before I have all of the information, oftentimes almost dying from silent, heart-rupturing stress before finding out that whatever is troubling me is either 1. fictional or 2. not that bad.  It's so far been impossible for me to apply this opinion to my life in any meaningful way.

Here is the chain of events.

I noticed some black specks on my bedsheets.  Tiny, inexplicable specks of indeterminate origin on my clean sheets in my safe and hallowed bedroom.  Seemed odd.  I have a cat, so cat-related shed on the foot of my bed is a pretty regular thing, but I've never seen this before.  I thought about it in the shower until the Acme safe of painful realization fell upon my heart:

ONE: A COWORKER TOLD ME THAT THE HOTEL WE STAYED IN LAST WEEK FOR A STAFF RETREAT HAD A BEDBUG OUTBREAK A FEW YEARS AGO.  She learned this on Trip Advisor.  Naturally, my only response was, "What? NOOO!" "Well you didn't have any bites, right?" She asked.  I guessed not and, for the sake of my own peace, resolved to forget the interaction.

TWO: MY LEG WAS ITCHING YESTERDAY.

Conclusion: Bedbugs.  BED BUGS.

B
E
D
B
U
G
S

I rushed to my bed and closely inspected the spots, memorizing them.  Then I rushed to the internet and learned that bedbugs do in fact leave little dark spots in their wake.  They're shitting your own blood back onto the sheets in which you sleep.  This is the fucking LEVEL we're dealing with.

I ran back to the bed, carefully peeled all of the layers off, and stuffed them into a laundry hamper.  I then inspected the entire bed and floor, searching for signs of bugs.  I pulled the bed away from the wall, the protective cover from the mattress, inspected the walls, the floor, the box spring, for any sign of insect activity, and found none.  This was no comfort, for I knew that the bugs are crafty and they can hide anywhere.    

Then I realized the embuggened sheets were with my dirty clothes and tore them from the hamper.  I had read that a bedbug can travel from 5 to 20 feet looking for a host.  I put the sheets in garbage bags and left them by the front door, for future washing or incineration.

Then came the real research.  I flinched and flailed, reading story after story of thousands of dollars and multiple years spent battling the bugs.  I learned that trained dogs can sniff out the bedbugs during an inspection.  I learned that 50% of bites are undetectable by humans.  I looked at pictures of the bugs at all life stages, the bites, and the stains they leave behind.  I noticed cautiously that their stains didn't look like my flecks.  I went back and looked at the sheets again.  Definitely not consistent with the photos from bedbug infestations.  Nevertheless, I emailed a local bedbug exterminator, requesting a quote for a dog inspection. (how cute! dogs with jobs)

Then I remembered mocking my cat earlier in the day when she fell over while frenetically licking her own back.  She seemed to be unusually hurried.  I also noticed a black speck in her fur while petting her.

I went to the cat, turned her over, and shook her over the bathtub.  She wailed like an indignant fire engine while I ruffled her fur.  Just as I suspected, more black specks rained out.  In an alternate, hopeful internet search, I had learned that fleas leave specks of their own.  Much like the bedbug, the flea shits your own blood back onto your body, if you happen to be a dog or cat or 14th century peasant.  The way you can determine if the black specks are "flea dirt" is to wet them.  If they turn red (because blood), it's fleas.

I tested this.  The specks turned red.  Somehow my indoor cat has gotten fleas.  Instant relief!  It's easy to deal swift and permanent death to a flea outbreak without packing your entire house, fumigating it, burning it, freezing it, or enduring the other end-times procedures necessary to eradicate bedbugs.

Whether they bit me is unknown.  My leg was indeed itching yesterday, but I did also spend an hour and a half last night sitting in grass under a bridge in 90 degree heat and 60 percent humidity waiting for some bats to fly out of a hole so I could take a picture of them.  If anything could create a rash, that's probably the environment.

So, after only a couple of hours, a modest freakout, and a call to my mother, I have determined comfortably enough to sleep at home tonight that I probably don't have bedbugs.

I am definitely improving.

Post text: And sleeping with the door shut tonight.  And maybe forever.  Sorry, cat.

hashtag parasitic insects, hashtag rather have freddy kreuger probably.  hashtag still not bedbugs.