Some things you just can’t say delicately. It is only possible to ignore little red bites on your grandchildren, the dog nipping at her bottom and something jumping on your bedspread for so long before you are forced to face reality. Our home was infested with fleas.
For several weeks, I had demanded that Kristjana come for her weekly conjugal visits with the dog and give her a flea treatment.
“Mom, It’s not Chika, it’s the kids. They play in the grass and are bringing fleas into the house. I clean Chika every week. Did it ever occur to you she’s catching fleas from them?”
When she had the nerve to blame my grandchildren for her dog’s infestation I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands. I called her and left messages on her cell phone.
“Kristjana, you have to bring some borax home and shake it on all the furniture and the carpets. I want you to strip every bed in the house, bath Chika and get rid of these fleas.”
After three days and no reply, I knew I had to take matters into my own hands.
“Kristjana, call me back. I bought the borax. I stripped every bed, gathered up every blanket in the house and started the laundry. Please come home and vacuum the carpet and sprinkle out the borax.”
I had to de-flea the house because we were having company for dinner that night. I was cooking a white bean chili. It was not turning out well. The beans would not soften despite the fact I had put them on at 4:30 that morning. I added more water, left another rant on Kristjana’s phone and started to vacuum.
“Kristjana! Come and help me. The laundry is stacked to the ceiling with pillows and blankets. The kids think it’s a jumping house. I can’t find Tristan. He’s buried somewhere in this flea bitten mess. Where are you?”
I pulled some sheets out of the dryer, made a couple of beds and tried to keep Chika from jumping on my clean bed.
I called and left another message. “Kristjana, I sprinkled the borax on the floor and I am trying to keep Chika off the beds. You need to bath her so we can get rid of these fleas. Call me back.”
I checked the beans. A little softer, I was worried but didn’t have time to make anything else.
I tried Kristjana again. Just as I was about to leave the 456th message it dawned on me—this was her old number. No wonder she hadn’t called me. I dialed her new number and got a groggy, ‘hello.”
“Kristjana, I have been leaving you messages for a week now. I am running a bloody laundry matt here. I have borax all over the carpets and I need you to come and bath Chika and get rid of these fleas!”
“Mom I have to work in half an hour and I’m not finished until tonight.”
“That’s just great! I suppose it’s my own fault, I forgot your number. I am running a crazy house here and I needed your help to get rid of your dog’s fleas. I‘ve done everything but you have to get Chika tonight and bath her.”
Kristjana assured me she would take Chika to her house right after work so I hung up and noticed I had a message so I dialed my voicemail.
“Ma’am, I have been getting your frantic messages all week about your borax problems. I don’t know what to tell you about that or your fleas. My wife doesn’t have any answers neither do the neighbors. You have the wrong number. Try Google or an exterminator but please don’t involve me with your fleas anymore.”
I wanted to crawl into a hole and drag my fleas in with me. My face was flame red when I stumbled into the laundry room to hide myself in the bottom of the infested quilts. But no, I couldn’t even have that little luxury.
There was a pool of water on the floor and the laundry was soaked. This was the day from the infernal pit.
I slammed the door and left the washing machine for Rick to deal with while I checked the beans. Fabulous this day just kept getting better. They were yummy but still the crunchy side of soft. Too bad, the kids had already let the missionary’s in.
Like it or not, dinner was served. Conversation went something like this.
“Have you ever wondered what happens moments before you walk into someone’s house?”
Our guests looked at each other, not sure they should answer that.
“Well, let me tell you. It all started because our dog has fleas.”
One of the young men turned red and choked on his chili. “Do you mean the dog I’ve been petting?” he said while he started scratching.
Would this day never end?