Sunday, November 01, 2009

A post-Halloween creature story:

I'm flea free.  Don't misunderstand me. I don't mean my house, or my dogs, or my cats, though I'm pretty sure that all of those are flea-free too.  (Well, all the animals have been recently flea-medicined and they're all outside anyway.) I mean ME.  I am sans flea.  Please hold your applause.  This is one of those stories that gives me a little bit of a nervous sweat about sharing, but it's too funny to keep to myself.  I'll get to the fleas in a second, but you should know that I have a history of making assumptions and diagnosing myself with mysterious, um... conditions based on inadequate information.

Case in point: for an entire year after Addie was born, I believed that my pregnancy resulted in my navel moving a few inches higher on my stomach.  I'm serious as a heart attack.  I thought my belly button moved, up.  Do I know belly buttons can't move?  Yeah.  Am I an educated person?  Sure.  Was there any evidence to suggest that anything on a body could move north?  No.  None of that mattered.  I looked down and it was just not where it used to be.  I just came to accept it as fact.  I believed that I was some freak of nature, some exception to the rules of corporeal limitation.

It wasn't that my belly button moved.  Duh.  It took me a year to figure it out though.  One day as I was about to get into the shower, I looked down at my migrated belly button and suddenly had a vision.  It came to me like a flash of lightning.  Belly button?  Right where it always was.  Other things north of the navel?  They took a little trip downward.  Nursing was not kind to my body--the girls were not at all where they used to be.  My navel was the same, in the same old spot, only the distance from points north to navel was significantly decreased, making me think it had moved up because it was closer to the girls.  All it took was an assisted lift (thanks, Victoria, for sharing your secret) and SHAZAM, things looked just as they should.  I share this as a public service:  things on your body are way more likely to move down than up.  Also, nursing is wonderful, but it is not kind.

Like I said, I'm one to assume without taking in all the information.  Oops.

This is where the fleas come in.  Last week--I think on Thursday--I got out of the shower and dried off just like I always do.  I grabbed a Q-tip from the box under the counter because I'd forgotten to restock the glass jar on the counter.  I Q-tipped my ears and to my ABSOLUTE HORROR as I went to throw the Q-tip away, I saw something black on it.  With legs.  I'm sorry if this is too much for you.  I'm being a little uncouth by sharing it.  But there was something black on there!  AAAAaaah!  I looked closer, and it was a FLEA!  A flea came out of my ear!  A dead one at that!  What did it all mean?  Was this the 4th sign of the Apocalypse?  Up was down, down was up, and now I was infested with a parasitic tenant.  I was on the verge of barf and tears.  Oh, the huge manatee.

I kept it to myself.  I didn't want E to think I had fleas, plus I hoped that it was some fluke because I'd petted the dogs and somehow wound up with one in my ear the night before.  Still, the idea of the little CRETIN making a home in there (alive or dead, I didn't care) for the night was enough to make me completely flip out.  A flea.  In my EAR.  This was like that day in eighth grade science where we had to look at magnified pictures of the bugs that lived on eyelashes and stuff.  I think I still need therapy.  Thanks, Mrs. Cook.

I eventually brushed it off and pushed it back to the corner of my mind reserved for traumatic things that shall not be named.  Imagine my revulsion when I repeated the Q-tipping routine the next day and there was another DEAD FLEA, this time in the other ear.  It was officially FREAK OUT time.  It was go ahead and lose your shit time because you're officially infested with creatures.  WHAT?!?!?!  I'm not gross. I promise.  I shower every day, I think I'd know if I was infested with some blood-sucking creature.  I'm infested with fleas and there's an influenza epidemic?  I mean, what is this, 1918?  I told E.  I figured I didn't have a choice, I'd need a collar and a flea dip.  Maybe we'd need to bomb the house.  E was supportive and calming.  Oh wait.  Not really, he thought it was hysterical and he was repulsed.

About a day later, he came to me and explained what he thought happened.  Remember how we'd been letting Marmalade the Senior Citizen cat live in the house because she wasn't doing so well?  She spent most of her time curled up on a towel under my bathroom sink.  Right next to my box of Q-tips.  She has since been kicked out for not obeying basic laws of decency when it comes to cat potty habits.  E hypothesized that the fleas had come from Marms, a long time ago, and ended up on the Q-tips.

Mind you, this is still totally gross, but it meant the fleas didn't come out of my ears.  That's a small victory I'm willing to take, you know?  I inspected the Q-tips under the sink yesterday and he was right.  The open box was right next to her towel, and I found another flea in there.  Dead, of course.  But yuck.  Yuck, yuck, yuck. I threw it out.

At least I can say I'm flea free and proud.  I don't even know how to end this post.  I'm so grossed out.

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