I was sitting at the information public service desk.  A patron was standing in front of me, waiting for me to finish checking out a laptop.  He suddenly pointed to several books that I’d pulled from the shelving trucks and set aside on the counter for possible deletion (since they looked pretty beaten-up).  The patron pointed at those books and said, “There’s a bedbug!” and I was, like … oh, FUCK.

Luckily, I have a secret superpower that is very relevant to this situation.

I’m highly skilled at identifying and destroying bedbugs.

Even though I hadn’t actually seen a bedbug in over a year, my natural hunting and killing instincts came flooding back.  Within seconds, I’d found the bug emerging from the space between the book and its cover, and smashed it into bloody oblivion with a slip of scrap paper.  I thanked the patron for pointing out the bug, gave him the laptop, and then started cleanup procedures.  I took the books that had been on the counter, deleted both of them, and stuffed them into some plastic shopping bags that we keep at the desk for patrons who check out more materials than they can comfortably carry.  As soon as I could get away from the desk (this took a few minutes, because the line was very long) I ran to my desk for my bag of emergency cleaning supplies.  This bag contains several cans and bottles of cleaners that I’ve bought over the years to deal with situations that might come up at the library.  Most of them are for removing things like graffiti and dried gum, but one of them is a spray bottle filled with clear liquid, which is 91% isopropyl alcohol.

For future reference, if you think you might have bedbugs, you should get a bunch of this stuff (make sure it’s the 91% high concentration) and put it in an empty spray bottle so that you can spray it on any bugs you see, as well as any place you think they or their eggs might be hiding.

Anyway, I sprayed the alcohol over the counter and cleaned all around the area where the books had been sitting.

I debated for a while where to put the bag containing the books.  First I had it in our discard box, but then it occurred to me that a) the discard box sits there for a while and b) just because I killed one bug didn’t mean that those books were “clean.”  There could have been eggs or bugs in early stages of development hidden in its pages.  I thought about getting the books out of the building as soon as possible, since that was the general advice I got during the many apartment cleanings we endured when we were dealing with bedbugs in our apartment.  But throwing labeled and barcoded library materials into a trash can on the street could cause a whole different set of problems.  Finally, I put the sealed bag into the staff room garbage bag (which is emptied every day), and then I spoke to the custodian about the situation as soon as he came in.  Oh, and during that conversation he told me that several of the more alarming animal species that have been spotted near our library lately — namely, rats and skunks — have also been known to carry bedbugs.  And I was, like … FAN-FRIGGING-TASTIC.

Anyway, I have no idea if this is an isolated incident of one bug in one book, or if this is a fraction of a larger problem.  In any case, our branch manager and our custodial staff are now in the loop.  I will be thinking good strong thoughts on behalf of my staff; I’m on vacation next week, but I know they’ll keep me posted.  And I, in turn, will keep YOU posted.

Oh, and if you’re looking for more information on bedbugs, you can click on the “bedbugs” tag in my blog to see my earlier posts on this subject.  They contain lots of personal anecdotes, product recommendations, websites, and advice that will be very useful for anyone trying to learn more about these little monsters.

The exterminator came yesterday, which means I had to take Kitty to the vet yesterday, which means I had to leave work early yesterday to pick him up, and OF COURSE that’s just when it started raining.  We’re still in the process of moving some but not all of the furniture back, because the guy is coming back in two weeks.  Which means we’re going to have to figure out what to do with the cat in two weeks.  Anyway, my boyfriend spent a lot of time with the guy, helping to move furniture and our many plastic bags full of stuff as he worked.  And while they worked, they talked.  The exterminator gave my boyfriend specific advice about our apartment — he pointed out a few more places that we could try sealing and caulking, but otherwise said that what we’ve been doing so far — steaming, vacuuming, and using the PackTite — was exactly right.  The guy’s not the biggest fan of diatomaceous earth, though, because it doesn’t work fast enough for him.  He also talked about some of the bedbug problems our neighbors have been having.  They still haven’t been able to figure out why they can’t get rid of the bugs in the apartment below us (that’s the one where the lady moved out after five treatments without success), and they HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO GET INTO the apartment below that, which we suspect might be a major root of this problem.  Oh, and the exterminator was amazed that we’d seen bedbugs multiple times in the bathroom, since that’s not usually a place where they hang out.  So hopefully, our sharp eyes might help the exterminators tackle this problem through our whole line of apartments.  Except, of course, for the ones they can’t get into.  *SIGH*

On a related note, having all of these bags and boxes of stuff piled up on top of and in front of our stove (bedbug exterminators don’t treat inside the kitchen, so we’re using that area for extra storage space) means that cooking is a very difficult prospect right now.  So a present that I bought for my boyfriend several months ago has been seeing a LOT of action:

Behold the Cuisinart 5-in-1 Griddler!

We’ve come a long way from bachelors with hot plates!  Anyway, between this handy device and our Crock Pot, we’re able to do a lot of cooking on the kitchen counter now.  And then we go out to eat at one of our local restaurants or order in pizza or Chinese food a few times a week, so we’re still eating a good variety of food.

On the work front, I went back to the Old Branch to re-weed my collection yesterday based on all the stuff we’ve unpacked and put on the shelves of our New Branch.  Walking around pulling books off the shelves saying, “I won’t need THIS and I won’t need THIS and I won’t need THIS …” was on the one hand very cathartic, but on the other hand it made me feel like I was killing my own children.

The tech guys were in the old building taking out the old computers while listening to some Queen anthems that they had cranked up to 11, since I guess that’s how they operate in otherwise empty buildings (I called it “the IT Dance Party”).  Oh, and several of those tech guys ignored the “elevator is out of order” signs, so I had to rescue them by pulling the master switch when they got stuck between floors.  So THAT was exciting.

For the rest of the week, I’ll be doing more shelving in the new building.  And by “shelving” I mean “walking, looking, carrying, shelving, re-shelving, shifting, carrying, walking, shifting, shifting, shifting, shifting” etc.  I was actually delighted when our supervisor asked me to create a YA overflow section in our office, because a) we really don’t need THAT many copies of each of these books on our rapidly crowding shelves and b) processing those books meant that I could just SIT DOWN and work for a while without straining my lower back any further.

I only have half of the time that the rest of my colleagues do to get this place ready to go, because I’m on vacation next week.  But luckily, I have the smallest section to work with.

As of today, I am officially the owner of my very own storage unit.  The boxes we ordered from the storage company arrive tomorrow, and the moving guys are coming on Friday morning.  The plan is to move two or three of our bookcases and thirty boxes of STUFF, composed primarily of books, VHS tapes, and DVDs.  If there’s any room left over in the unit afterwards (there should be some, I think), we can bring over more stuff a little at a time.  You know, lightweight stuff like vacuum-packed bags of off-season clothes, for example.

I’d filled out some of the preliminary paperwork online, but oh man, there was a lot more to do when I got to the storage facility this afternoon.  I can’t remember the last time that I had to fill out so many forms, but I’m thinking that it was either the first day of my job or the day that I got my apartment.  There was the automatic payment authorization, the “low-cost protection plan” insurance that would cover the estimated value of my stuff JUST IN CASE SOMETHING HAPPENS, the many signings/initialings on the occupancy agreement and the addendum to the occupancy agreement, plus a bunch of other stuff that I don’t really remember any more.  I think I might have signed over one of my kidneys.

Anyway, the most entertaining stuff is in the occupancy agreement.  In it I agree to many different things, including:

  • I will not store any animals, food, inflammable/combustible/explosive items, items which have an objectionable odor.
  • I will not use the storage space for residential purposes.

I got a big kick out of the sentence, “The lessor is not a bailor or warehouseman in the business of storing goods.”  I actually read that sentence out loud to the nice man from the storage company, and mentioned that “lessor”, “bailor”, and “warehouseman” were such cool and archaic words that you didn’t hear too often.  Then there was this awkward pause, which gave me time to realize my error.  I quickly added, “I mean … they’re words that *I* don’t hear too often.  I’m sure that YOU hear them all the time!”

Anyway, I got to check out my new space, learned how to use the lock that they supplied and added the padlock that my boyfriend bought, and did my best not to get lost getting to and from my unit.  I’m going to take my boyfriend there tomorrow or Thursday so he can get the hang of the place and learn how to navigate the security system before he goes there with the moving guys on Friday morning.

Oh, and since the only thing you know about storage facilities might correspond with the only thing that I know about storage facilities, I should be honest and say that yes, I brought up the TV show Storage Wars with the nice man from the storage company.  To be fair, that was not my original intention.  I mean, I wasn’t planning to say, “Hey, do you watch that reality show about your job?” because that’s a) kind of annoying and b) not any of my business.  And plus c) he probably hears that question a lot and is probably sick of hearing it.  But as I was signing yet another document, one in which I was promising to be a law-abiding citizen and not use the storage facility to store stolen or illegally trafficked goods, I wondered aloud if that was a standard agreement for anyone renting a storage unit.  The moment I said it, I thought, “Oh, crap.  Now he thinks I’m a drug-smuggling criminal.”  So to save my (imaginary) reputation, I quickly added, “I’m just wondering because I saw something on Storage Wars one time … have you ever seen that show?”

He said he hadn’t seen the show, but that everyone kept telling him that he should.  He said that when he got home from work, he wasn’t really in the mood to watch a TV show ABOUT work.  I said that I totally understood, and that when I got home from work I wouldn’t want to watch a reality show about libraries.  Oh, and I should add that by this time I’d told him that I was a public librarian, because in a discussion about making storage unit owners promise not to live in their storage units he had said, “You’d be surprised by the kinds of stuff we see here” and I had replied, “Actually, I’m a public librarian, so I don’t think I’d be surprised at all.”  Anyway, I recommended that he watch Storage Wars at least once, because he might be able to appreciate it from an insider’s perspective.  I also told him NOT to watch a bunch of episodes in a row, because while it is a compelling show it’s also depressing.  It must be especially sad for the people who couldn’t keep up with the storage unit payments, and then sat at home watching a reality show in which a bunch of vultures bid on their abandoned unit and then went through its contents, throwing stuff on the ground as they searched for items that they could sell for a profit.

The nice man from the storage company told me that many people only made the first month’s payment and then never made another payment after that, so they lost the rights to all of their stuff.  That’s the depressing part of the job.  The entertaining part of the job is that the guy who has the overnight shift always has funny stories to tell about the kinds of people who show up to visit their storage units in the middle of the night.  The more I learn about this industry, the more I think that storage unit staff and public librarians have quite a lot in common.

Anyway, once we get all of this stuff into the storage unit, we’ll be one step closer to rescheduling the exterminator visit.  And (please God) one step closer to living a bedbug-free life.

As I mentioned in the ETA of my last post, after a week’s worth of cleaning / heating / sorting / storing, we were categorically unable to be ready in time for the exterminator’s visit today.  I had to call them to cancel, and I told them that it would take us at least another week to finish going through all of our stuff and then put bags and bins of our belongings into a storage unit (Yes, we have to rent a storage unit now.  There’s no other way of getting around this.)  Then I had to call the vet to cancel the boarding for the cat.  I just got off the phone with my job to cancel the vacation time I was going to take tomorrow afternoon to pick up the cat from the vet.  And so it goes, down like a row of dominoes.

You might be wondering how much progress we DID make in one week’s time.  Well, we made a lot of progress, but clearly it wasn’t enough.  Here’s some photographic evidence of what the apartment looked like this morning, after sorting through over a decade’s worth of STUFF:

If I told you that it took a really long time to clean this closet out, you’d believe me, right?  This was the former home of lots of stuff that we hadn’t seen in years which we threw out because we hadn’t used/worn them in so long, many of my boyfriend’s suits which he threw away because there wasn’t enough room to store them (he feels absolutely sick over this), and those beautiful dresses from Ann Taylor that I outgrew several years ago *SOB*.  Very soon we’re going to use this space to store some of the boxes and bags that we have scattered all over the apartment.  They can stay there until we get that storage unit.

The PackTite (the big black boxy thing in front of the desk) is one of the only things that’s helping me keep my sanity right now.  If I had ten more of them I could get through this a lot faster (but I’d probably blow out my electrical circuits).

This pathway is especially hazardous at night when we stumble through here in the darkness on our way to get to the bathroom.

My poor baby.  This has been very confusing for him.  Well, at least he didn’t need to go to the vet today …

The exterminator’s office did say that we could store stuff in the kitchen (apparently they just treat the kitchen entranceways since bedbugs don’t usually find victims sleeping there).  But this is just a small fraction of our belongings; my boyfriend got this far along and stopped because there was NO WAY that all of our boxes and bins of stuff were going to fit in here.  We will be moving this stuff into the closet as soon as we finish fixing up the closet floor.  And by fixing up I mean …

Take a closet in an apartment building that was built in the 1930’s.  Then let several generations of people put their stuff in that closet and never really look at it the entire time that they live there.  Well, now that we finally got all of our stuff out of the closet and off of the floor, we can see about a million places where bedbugs could possibly be hiding.  Last night when I got home from work I vacuumed all over the apartment but I started the job here, because weeding through everything in the closet and inhaling a metric ton of dust, cat fur, and God knows what else made me incredibly congested for the entire day.  This morning my boyfriend mopped this floor, and he just finished putting sealant into the largest cracks and crevices.  Once that dries, he’s going to coat the closet floor with polyurethane.  Then once THAT dries, we’ll start moving our boxes and bags in here so that we can start living like human beings again.

Hopefully within another week (or so) we will have tackled enough of our belongings that we’ll be able to put a sizeable chunk of it into storage.  Maybe with the books, videos, bookcases, etc. out of the way we’ll be able to follow the extermination prep and get our apartment treated properly.

Um … sorry, I didn’t mean “maybe.”  I meant “definitely.”

The exterminator provided by our landlord is coming in two days.  This means that we’ve spent the last week in a flurry of activity getting ready for this, and every day it hits us again just how impossible this task is.  Empty all closets / dressers / bookshelves / etc.  Vacuum everything.  Inspect everything.  Heat everything.  Then put everything in plastic bags after you’ve finished sorting / cleaning / heating.  The only way I can think of to describe it is if you had to pack up to move into a highly sensitive area where any microbe you brought along could possibly contaminate things … but then you didn’t actually move anywhere.

I will say that the PackTite machine has become my dearest friend.  I know that whatever I put in there, if I follow the instructions and maintain a temperature of 120 degrees for one hour, is absolutely guaranteed to be free of bedbugs and their eggs.  And that’s not something I could guarantee with a visual inspection or even with vacuuming.  The problem is, there isn’t enough TIME to heat everything we own, because frankly we own a lot of stuff.   And of course, there are things that you aren’t supposed to put into the PackTite because the heat can damage them … like electronic devices, medications, liquids, and food.  I’m guessing this means I should have taken my lipsticks and my eyedrops out of my purse BEFORE I treated it this afternoon.  Oops.  I’m also a little hazy about DVDs and VHS tapes, but that’s a moot point right now because I have so much other stuff to treat.  The clothes, shoes, books, and papers are being heated.  The videos, electronic devices, etc., plus anything we don’t have time to treat with the PackTite heater will have to go through the visual inspection and vacuuming before being packed away.

Anyway, if you do have bedbugs, I cannot recommend a PackTite heater highly enough.  If we’d bought one last year instead of waiting until last month, I think that more of our sanity would still be intact.  The machine is big enough to accomodate lots of large and oddly-shaped items that would be incredibly difficult to inspect and clean otherwise (we’ve used it to treat everything from boxes of file folders to the cat bed containing his blanket and all of his toys).  Some items go through the cycle very quickly, like the last two batches of shoes and purses that got up to 120 degrees in under 30 minutes, so the whole process took about as long as a typical washer/dryer cycle if I was doing laundry (and I could do this from the privacy of my apartment, without the additional agita of competing for washers and dryers with my neighbors in the laundry room).  Some items that are more dense, like pillows, blankets, and books, take several hours to reach 120 degrees, so the whole process takes more time.  Anyway, the PackTite is an expensive purchase (about $300), but using this device will do WONDERS for your peace of mind.  Just don’t leave your eyedrops and lipstick in your purse like I did.

Anyway, sorting through all of my closets and other storage areas is certainly an interesting trip down memory lane.  It’s a nostalgic trip that quickly turns into triage:

  • The diary I got as a present when I was in high school, with the unicorn on the cover and the lock on the side?  Into the PackTite and into one of the plastic bags.
  • My giant bag of wrapping paper and gift bags?  It has to go, and I’ll have to start all over again when this is done.
  • My penny loafers, which I used to wear all the time but stopped wearing when I started wearing softer Aerosoles shoes?  Down the garbage chute.
  • The beautiful dresses that I outgrew several years ago, but which I kept in the back of my closet JUST IN CASE I ever lost enough weight to fit into them again?  Um … oh, dear.  I’m not sure if I’m ready to get rid of all of my dreams just yet.

Now keep in mind that this is going to be the first treatment we’ve had from the building’s exterminators.  It is very unusual for just one treatment to get rid of the problem.  My neighbor, who has only lived in my building for a few months but has already been treated at least FIVE times, is about ready to have a nervous breakdown.

I ran into her on the elevator the other day, and she told me that the day before she had spent eight hours in the hallway with her cat.  When I asked what had happened, she said that her apartment was being treated again, and that her vet’s office wouldn’t board her cat any more.  I was very stunned and, frankly, depressed.  That set my wheels in motion, because I’ll be damned if I’m going to spend eight hours in a hallway with my cat if they have to treat my apartment again (and my vet did make a point of saying that they “don’t normally board cats,” so I don’t think I’ll be able to impose on them a second time).  Since my cat is FIV-positive, I can’t leave him with any of my friends or neighbors who already have cats.  So you see, my options are limited.  Anyway, I called my boyfriend and worked out some logistics with him (he was a little surprised by my question of, “Honey?  Does your office have a door?”)  So, we worked out that, worst comes to worst, if we have to get the cat out of the apartment for eight hours at a time, my boyfriend is going to have a Take Your Cat to Work Day.

Every time I start to get depressed about how things are going, I have to remember that other people are going through things that are a LOT worse than the stuff I’m dealing with.  I have to factor that into my perspective.  It could be a lot worse.

ETA (4/4/11): Slight change of plans.  Despite all of our best efforts, despite lots of laundry and lots of PackTite treatments, despite us working on this project during all of our free time since we scheduled the appointment last week … we cannot get this apartment exterminator-ready by tomorrow.  It is logistically, physically, IMPOSSIBLE.  For one thing, we need at least another week to get through all of our stuff.  For another thing, we’re going to have to rent a storage unit.  It’s not just like getting ready for the painters to come, where you move everything to the middle of the room.  This is that PLUS get all of your clothes, books, DVDs, etc. out of the places you stored them and then figure out where the hell you’re going to put everything.  My boyfriend is already on the verge of physical and mental collapse.  He took today off from work just to try to tackle this, spent all day cleaning, heating, sorting, and throwing stuff out that we didn’t have room to store (including thousands of dollars worth of clothing), and STILL the amount of progress on the apartment as a whole is minimal.  I think we’re both going to end up using tomorrow as a mental health day.  I mean, after we check out some storage unit prices …

This was a ridiculous day in more ways than one.  But to be fair, it was also a ridiculous week.

I had to deal with a problem patron today, specifically an inebriated problem patron.  Since this is the second drunk patron I’ve dealt with before noon this week, I have to wonder … is morning drunkenness a reflection on our society as a whole, or does it just say something about our neighborhood?  Both times I got to see the “happy” side of public drunkenness.  The first guy said he was going to bring me a free movie for helping him (I said that I couldn’t accept it, but I don’t know if he could hear me at that point).  The second guy responded to my helping him log on to his appointment by saying, “Thanks, Hon.  You’re so SEXY!”  Which, as I’m sure you could imagine, is just what I wanted to hear from a drunken loudmouth at 10:05 in the morning.  And both times I also got to see the ugly side of drunkenness, like increased volume and hostility.  Which led to me filling out my first incident report of 2011 on April Fool’s Day.

The little ducklings still can’t get it through their thick heads that if I say that they’re on their LAST WARNING, and that if they keep making noise / hitting each other / etc. I’m going to cancel their computer appointments, that I REALLY MEAN IT.  I ended two boys’ appointments today, and one of them gave up shortly afterwards.  The other one, a little boy who is getting WAY too much mileage out of his cuteness, tried every trick in the book to make me give him another appointment.  The other boy was the one who started it.  He was playing that online game FOR HOMEWORK.  He would be good from now on.  I shot down each of his arguments and explained, calmly and logically, that I had given him several warnings and that because he had continued talking to and fighting with the other boy he had lost his appointment.  He stared up at me with big puppy dog eyes.  I would not be moved.  He pointed at my shoulder and said, “What’s that?” and when I looked down he moved his finger up to my face and exclaimed, “April Fools!”  I smiled, looked deeply into those big brown eyes, and said, “That was very cute.  You’re still not getting another appointment.”  That’s when he finally gave up.

April first is the ironic anniversary of the floating collections policy.  Last year I wrote about it here.  My thoughts haven’t changed much.  It still irritates me, a LOT.  I’m trying to think of something new to say about the policy, but I’m coming up empty.  Go read that first post, or check out the other posts with the floating collections tag.  You’ll get the idea.

Right now I’m getting ready for the exterminators who are coming on Tuesday.  That means we’ve got the PackTite running constantly, heating all of our possessions up to a bedbug-lethal 120 degrees one batch at a time.  Right now I’ve got coats and shoes in there.  Yesterday I did several batches of books.  We should buy stock in plastic bag companies; we’ve bought so many boxes of bags lately.  Just imagine heating every piece of fabric in your home, from socks to coats to curtains.  Add to that all of your books, papers, shoes, etc.  After you heat everything, you have to put everything in plastic bags.  Then you have to find a place to put all of the plastic bags.  Imagine all of your life in plastic bags.  If nothing else, it’s good to know that I’m not the only one who’s had this problem.  On the plus side, this is giving me a very good motivation to weed through my closets.

Not everyone reacts the same way to bedbugs.  Some people aren’t bitten at all, some are bitten but don’t feel it, some are bitten and don’t feel it until much later, and some are bitten and feel it very soon afterwards.  I fall into that last category.  The good news is that I can serve the purpose of a canary in a coal mine.  That is, I can serve as a very good indicator of a very bad situation, and often I feel the bite so early that I’m able to start looking around as soon as I feel the bite and can discover that the little monster is either still on me or is just a foot or two away.  Like I said, the good news is that I can accurately gauge the presence of bedbugs in the apartment.  So if I tell you that during a given period I was bitten on average once a month, or once a week, or once a night, or not at all, you can draw some very accurate conclusions about the presence of bedbugs in my apartment.

Last night I was bitten at least once an hour starting around 11:30 pm.  Every time I was bitten I woke up, dragged myself out of bed, put on my glasses, grabbed one of our many flashlights, took one of our spray bottles of isopropyl alcohol, and went hunting.  Each time I found one bug, or more than one, on my side of the bed, and each time they were different sizes.  This didn’t make a lot of sense to me — usually if we find several bugs at the same time, they’re all tiny because they all hatched at the same time.  And like I said, up until a few weeks ago, we went through a period of over three months where we didn’t see or feel ANY of them so we believed that we had finally conquered the problem.

But last night was horrible.  Last night I was bitten more times than any night since 2009 when we were first invaded.  My whole sleep cycle was thrown off, because I was being woken every hour until 4:30 am when I decided to forget about sleeping altogether.  Over the course of the night I found and killed multiple bugs of multiple sizes, and then my boyfriend found and killed several more.  I was very discombobulated both from the bites and from the lack of sleep, so it seems that I wasn’t thinking clearly.  When my boyfriend said, “This CAN’T be a coincidence!” I just stared at him blankly until the rusty wheels in my brain started to turn.  Then I realized … oh, right … that this latest wave of attacks happened on Friday night.  And on Thursday, my poor neighbor who has only lived in the building for a few months was scheduled for the FIFTH bedbug treatment of her apartment.

As it turns out, my neighbor emailed me this morning and told me that she did not get the treatment done on Thursday, but that she’s been working with multiple exterminators over the last several weeks.  Also FWIW, I know that another new neighbor of mine has been having issues of his own, based on the fact that I heard furniture being moved out of his apartment and saw plastic wrap and packing tape outside his door.

So, who made it over to my place?  Those bugs that were strong enough, immune enough, and wily enough to survive bedbug treatments in one or more than one of my neighbor’s apartments and then climb through the pipes and/or the wiring to get to my apartment.  I presume that this is what Darwin was talking about when he came up with his “survival of the fittest” theory.

Anyway, it’s been a hell of a morning.

If you are one of my neighbors, I apologize if the sound of vacuuming at 5 am disturbed you.  I was overwhelmed by the thought of how many bugs we found and how many might be around that we DIDN’T find.  I asked my boyfriend to vacuum the entire living room / entrance area while I took a shower and cried.  Then I asked him to fire up the steamer and steam the desk chair while I washed some dishes and cried, and then made some coffee and cried.  Then I steamed the couch, sat down on the freshly-steamed desk chair, and started writing this blog entry.

If you are one of my coworkers, I apologize in advance if I’m angry, or terse, or distracted today.  I also apologize if I’m late getting to the information desk because I’ve fallen asleep in my office.  I will try my best not to let that happen, but I can’t promise anything.  If I’m late relieving you, just find me and shake me.  Or poke me with a stick if you’d rather not make physical contact.

I know that my problems are not the worst in the world.  Even though I try not to watch the news, I know that my problems don’t amount to a hill of beans next to traffic accidents, earthquakes, and tsunamis.  But still, it was a really bad night, and it took a lot out of me.

Next on the agenda: re-washing all of our bedding and bed clothes, more steaming, more vacuuming, figuring out how to get diatomaceous earth into our electrical outlets, cleaning the floors and furniture with Murphy’s Oil Soap, and perhaps even sealing the floor with polyurethane.