Monday, July 16, 2012

How did bed bugs even get into my house??

That was my first question.

I did not have a bed bug experience as a child. I heard about people finding them in hotel rooms, but I hadn't stayed in one.

Then I did my research. The bugs are called hitch-hikers. They sit on your clothing, in a bag, bottom of your shoe and ride to the next spot.

So who can get bed bugs? Anybody!

First Alert

At the time we discovered the bugs, we were hosting a weekly meeting in our home of other Muslim families and their guests. Even though we saw no signs of bugs outside of our master bedroom, we called the meetings off and TOLD the other families what we found. We told because we shared meals together, children played on the floor of my home and husbands often sat on the floor too. We just felt better safe than sorry, right?

Then (drum roll please), one of the women asked me how they even get in your house because they've had them for a while now. BOOM!

Did I mention that before moving the meeting to MY house, the meeting had been at HER house?

Let's pause here. With right knowledge you can overcome any perceived obstacle or problem.  If the sister had been educated on how the bugs travel, she would have realized the importance of containing the problem and limiting guests to unaffected areas of the home. I truly believe she just didn't know any better.

Call For Back Up

I believe that the women of the  MGT & GCC in the Nation of Islam are among the most intelligent and resourceful women in the universe. We have classes for women and girls each week and we cover a variety of topics including housekeeping. So I called one of my sisters who lives in another city and attends her class on a regular basis. I asked if they had any classes on bed bugs. Well I hit the jackpot! Her husband works for the Housing Authority and brought them home from work. She battled them and won. Her case was far worse than mine turned out to be (even had to throw out furniture), but she was my most valuable resource and I credit her willingness to share with our success at eradicating ourselves of the bugs so quickly.

Again, let's pause. Because I was not ASHAMED and ASKED FOR HELP we were spared.

Lessons learned:
When you talk about something painful or embarrassing or troubling, you offer people the chance to offer you help and advice. And also, it allows people to pray for you. My mother and the sister I mentioned both prayed that we could get rid of them before they became a problem. My 72 year old mother searched the internet for instructions and the sister called me almost every day to tell me anything she could remember about getting rid of them.

I'm still looking for bugs even though its been almost a year but like I said in part one, my life and lifestyle have been forever changed.

When I have company, I always inspect where I'm going to invite them to sit to double check for bugs. Then when they leave, I inspect again.

We have always taken our shoes off in the entry way, which is near the stairs leading to our bedrooms. I keep an eye out there.
When we return from visiting ANYONE, we stand right near the door and take off clothes and socks and inspect them before sending them straight to the laundry area. But bugs hide.

I don't sit my purse on the floor.

I don't lay my clean clothes on my bed while I'm dressing.

I don't sit on my bed wearing day clothes that were worn out of my house.

Relapse scare: We had been bug free for about 6 months. My husband was doing some work outdoors for the family that I believe we got the bed bugs from. He let our daughter play inside their house. I didn't know this, I thought she had only been outdoors so we didn't do our usual safety inspection. That night, for some reason she go up to use the bathroom and when I went to check on her there was a bed bug crawling across her satin hair cap. UGH!!!!!!!! So we want back to fight mode, inspecting clothing, stripping beds, vacuuming etc. I think we found the only one and we've been 4 months since that episode.

Next: Extremely REAL talk on the anger factor plus how expensive and exhausting it is to fight bed bugs (with our tips)

Also: Click the label "bed bugs" below to see my other posts in this series.


Sista Shabazz said...

Wow! How rude to not tell you and still allow people in their home with an ongoing problem.

Sister P said...

In my next post, I'm going to talk about the emotions that accompanied this experience. If not put into proper perspective, it can certainly harm a relationship and affect the Ummah (community).

Thanks for stopping by Sista Shabazz, come again!

Sista Shabazz said...

I can't wait, because I don't think I'd be very nice in that situation. :)

Lucile Lynch said...

Well, it was kinda rude of them to tell you of the bed bugs only after the fact. Had she told you then, perhaps this whole fiasco could’ve been avoided. In all honesty, you were very meticulous with how you dealt with the bed bug problem. How long did it take for you to check and double-check, possibly even triple-check (?), your furniture? You also checked everyone coming in the house. Talk about thorough!

Lucile Lynch

Sister P said...

I hate that we have to be so thorough. The process is exhausting. I want to write about the emotions that accompanied this experience but I still can't put it into words.
Thank you so much for stopping by and for commenting!