Today It Got to Me.

march 19th, 2014

This orange juice is 12 oz. and costs $4 and change. I resisted, I resisted, I resisted buying this orange juice, but every time I go to Metropolis for breakfast I really want some orange juice and this is the only kind they sell. Today I stopped resisting. I got the orange juice. It was good. If it was $0.38 per precious ounce good, I could not tell.

Expensive orange juice from Metropolis.

Today it got to me. I cried and cried to Vlad that I've been strong but I don't feel strong anymore. The bed bugs won. I've been hunting apartments, but everything I've looked at so far has been much smaller, not as nice, and more expensive than my current place. If these new apartments were nicer and bigger and more expensive, ok cool. If they were smaller and crappier and cheaper, ok cool.

There was one place I looked at that IS nicer, bigger, and comparable in expense to my current place. Downsides are:

  1. the management company has a terrible reputation on Yelp
  2. it's off a kindof zoom-zoom traffick section of Clark, and also a full mile from the train
  3. it's currently occupied by a messy male who's off to India next week. The toilet was filled with old pee, with a white bloom of toilet paper floating at the top. I took this as a bad omen (the lotus of dread).

In my current building, my neighbor to the east is an older woman who expressed a discouragingly relaxed attitude when I talked to her about our mutual problem. “Yeah, my bed bugs came back, too. But, what are you gonna do?” she said, as I Wilhelm-screamed inside. She also wouldn't shake my hand. My neighbor to the west, who'd been staying with his girlfriend for the previous five weeks, came home the other day and found bed bugs crawling toward him on top of his covers. Bed bugs normally shun the daylight. They must have been hungry.

I'm surrounded.

Vlad and I slept safely at my place the other night (no bites, no bugs spotted. First time that's happened since this mess started five weeks ago). But it's only a matter of time before the bugs are back. And still I hold out hope that I could stay. I love my apartment. I love the gas range. I love the layout (excellent feng shui). I love the hardwood and the tile. I love the location next to the train and a block and a half from my sweetie. It's perfect, except for the bugs.

Watched a horrifying video with Vlad, Marcel, and Colleen about a family with a bad infestation. Bed bugs can crawl into the electrical outlets, a “Did you know?” that I wish I did not know. They can travel between units freely that way. The family in the video steam-cleaned their house, sprayed chemicals into every outlet, and brought in trained beagles to sniff out any remaining infestation. We can guess whether these measures are in the offing from Landlord Sam.

That apartment I mentioned that's right around the corner from Vlad is quite small, and has a funny feng shui where the door opens right onto where the bed would be (“the death position”). My lease is up at the end of this month, but Landlord Sam hasn't been in touch about renewing and I haven't clarified what's going to happen because I'm weak and weary, cf I'm not strong anymore. If you're looking for Strong Erica, she's not here. Come back next year.

Vlad said, “I'm so proud of you, baby,” as I cried through smiles. “You've got your apartment locked down and clean like a German submarine. Some real Das Boot stuff goin on there.”

Yes, I am also pre-menstrual. Yes, you cracked the code.

The new plan is to call Landlord Sam. Explain that I love my apartment, and I'd love to stay, but I don't want to commit to a year of potentially constant battle against the bugs. That I'd like to renew on a trial basis. That if I find another bug, I'm gone. That small apartment hasn't rented in months, because of the small and the expensive. It'll probably still be on the market when I'm ready for last resorts.

I've also brought government into the mix. Called my alderman's office. They're sending a city inspector in the next week. I secretly hope that this could result in a team of grownups and beagles to the rescue, finding and killing every last bug, and in me staying at my apartment at a greatly discounted rate.

Am also currently running through my old checklist for dealing with local depression (the minute-to-minute blues). Have I: had a glass of water recently? Have I had at least 30 minutes of good cardiovascular exercise recently? Do I need some sleep? A cookie? Have I talked to a friend, preferably a good friend, especially preferably a good and funny friend? Have I sent air to my brain? How about some more air? ... There. Yes.