Friday, October 28, 2011

How I Lost My Stash

I figure it's almost Halloween, it's a Friday night and I have some time to blog, it's almost my six year bloggoversary, and this is a very, very scary tale.

But here's the deal. Before I go and recant my tale, I'm going to change the name of the protagonist.

Why? Because even though I aim to keep this blog relatively anonymous, someone could stumble upon it. The ordeal we went thru (and I guess are still living through) has been shown to cause discrimination against people in our situation.

Therefore, I will be referring to the petulance that cursed our home this spring and summer as "yickyickys."

I must also humbly ask that if you care to comment to this post, that you refrain from using the correct name for these disgusting creatures. I don't want someone googling the correct name for these things to find this post and be able to link it back to us even though we are yickicky free (knock on wood) now.

I will delete your comment if it uses the proper term for these things. It's nothing personal.

If you have not been through a situation such as ours, I hate to sound condescending and know-it-all, but you have NO IDEA what we went through. And sadly that ignorance cuts both ways--people make assumptions.

I know I certainly did. And I still harbor some major resentments for the instigators of our plague. But I feel for the time being, I'm entitled to that simmering grudge.

Anyway--on with the story.

Picture it:

New Jersey, the Saturday before Easter.

It's dark outside.

We hear some commotion in the stairwell.

Peeking out the picture window we see that the upstairs neighbors are dragging a mattress down to the curb.


Cut to Easter Sunday. Chunky is playing outside and is talking to Basement Neighbor. Basement Neighbor informs Chunky that Upstairs Neighbor #3 (there are three of them up there) (herein referred to as "Vector Neighbor") has yickyickies.

Fuck me. We had just gotten back from Niagara Falls where I had been downright overzealous about inspecting our hotel beds for yickyickies.


I try to remain calm.

On Tuesday, the exterminators spray the upstairs neighbors' apartment for yickyickies. They do not spray our apartment or the Basement Neighbor's apartment.

Problem 1: Any exterminator will tell you, you have to spray the ENTIRE building for yickyickies or they will merely migrate from the sprayed areas to the untreated areas.

It is now Friday, May 6.

Chunky and Moochie are eating breakfast. Chunky makes an offhand comment that his arm itches.

I examine the red welts on his arm.

Chunky's yickyicky bites.

In a half-hyperventilating-freakout-anxiety-attack-rage, I tear his bed apart and lo and behold, there, in his bed are about four yickyickys.

Die mother effer, DIE!

Did I mention Chunky's bedroom is directly BELOW Vector Neighbor's bedroom. Hmm...gee, wonder how the yickyickies got into his room?

I quickly get on the phone and call two people.

First--Landlord (herein referred to as "Clueless") and basically freak the fuck out on him telling him this needs to be taken care of IMMEDIATELY.

Second--I call into the office taking, for the first time in my working career a "personal day."

I drop the boys off at school and daycare and I stop by the grocery store for probably about five boxes of heavy black trash bags.

I put on my big girl underpants, push out the heebie-jeebie jive and I tear apart Chunky's room.

Basically--if it couldn't be washed in hot, hot, water, it got thrown away.

Chunky's bed. The first casualty.

I then proceed to haul all of his laundry to the laundromat where I know I can kill any semblance of the yickyickies with uber-hot water and dryers.

In fact, I just pulled out some of his winter blankets this week--some of his fleece blankets have melted from the dryer I subjected them to in May.

Saturday, the exterminator comes. He is an hour late.

He tells Clueless, had he known that he was a spraying an apartment on Tuesday, he would have insisted on doing the whole building instead of just the upstairs.

Because you know Exterminator, you didn't see the THREE mailboxes right next to the front door, or the fact that you went upstairs and never downstairs when you were here on Tuesday? What did you think was downstairs??

We have to evacuate our apartment for four hours. We kill some of the time at a big park.



Luckily there were some humorous pictures chalked on the bike path that circles the park to entertain us and take our mind off the horror of the yickyickies.



Did I mention we also had to take the cats with us? They weren't too happy.

I also hit Blood, Bath and Beyond to purchase mattress and box spring covers for our bed, and Chunky's soon-to-be-replaced bed.


See the price tag on that?

Let's do a little recap of how much this has cost us less than a week into the ordeal:

Laundry: $50
Mattress covers & pillow covers: $287
New pillows for Chunky: $15
Total: $352

Two weeks later, the exterminator had to come back and spray.

Why? So he could kill any yickyickies that might have been in the egg-stage the first time he sprayed. Because apparently yickyickies can survive toxic chemicals when they're eggs.

We purchase Chunky a new bed and promptly hermetically seal it up.

That trashbag and duct tape box spring cover has since been replaced with the real deal.

He's just relieved not to have to sleep on the couch anymore.

Running tally:

New Chunky bed, box spring & frame: $550
Previous Total: $352
New Total: $902

The month of May comes to a close.

My hatred towards the upstairs neighbors is palpable. They comment about how I must not "like them anymore."


During this ordeal, they explain to me that Vector Neighbor kept his room a cluttered mess (yes, it's true, yickyickies aren't a symptom of "dirty" people, but they DO like clutter. Lots of hidey holes for them to live in. They can live for 18 months without a meal, so why not take a nice long rest under a pile of junk?)

They also inform me that Vector Neighbor likes to hang out at soup kitchens with homeless people.

Ok, I get it, you're retired, you're lonely during the day...

But, the kicker is HOW INFESTED they let him get and they didn't do a goddamned mother fucking thing about it.

Dear readers, one of the other two Upstairs Neighbors told me that when he went to the doctor's office (yeah, will you visit your dr. without thinking of who was sitting in that waiting room before you?) the yickyickies WERE JUMPING OFF HIS BODY.

Are you thoroughly grossed out yet?

The best part? The other two Upstairs Neighbors tried to tell me "Well we didn't know about it because they were contained to his room only..."


So yeah, I wasn't really "liking" the Upstairs Neighbors much.

It was made worse when they pulled shit like this:

Run people! For the love of God! Take your money and RUN!

A garage sale. That's right. A garage sale.

This was in July. Only a few scant months after the infestation.

Seriously, I'm all about cheapassedness, you all know that, but I will never go to a garage sale ever again in my life. You don't know if the people selling their stuff are people like Upstairs Neighbors.

Did you catch that part about July?

That brings us to part two of my story.

It's July 3rd. It's a gorgeous day.

I'm in the back yard.

The boys are playing in the pool.


I'm poolside, knitting a sweater, or maybe I was reading a book. I don't remember.

I do remember thinking "Hey, I'll prop my pasty white legs up to get some sun."

And then I remember thinking: "Gee, that's weird, why does my left leg have so many mosquito bites and my right leg is relatively untouched?"

Cue that half-hyperventilating-freakout-anxiety-attack-rage feeling.

I run into the house and in a blind crazed full on freakout, I rip the sheets off of our bed.


Living on the outside of the $99 yickyicky cover.

Scroll back up and read about the frantic crazy call to the clueless landlord.

Now imagine that, but imagine that with 100% more crazy bitch thrown in.

Problem #2: Yickieickies like wood. Our bed was wood. That's how they must have survived the first rounds of spray.

bed 1
Oh farewell sweet bed!! Our first piece of "grownup" furniture!

So cue the same round of laundering EVERYTHING, vacuuming everything, and throwing away tons of items that could not be washed.

And that--if you've made it this far--is what happened to my yarn.

My yarn was stored UNDER my bed. My sock yarn was in nicely sealed plastic bags.

However, the majority of my yarn was in one of those plastic under the bed storage containers.

Which snap shut...

...assuming you don't have them so full of yarn, they don't fully seal shut.


I thought about my options.

I could put it in black plastic bags, put it in the windows of my parked car on a sunny day and basically "bake" it.

Or I could dust it with diatomaceous earth...but that would have been messy.

No matter what I did with it, even if I did annihilate all of the yickyickies that may have been in my yarn, I would never know if they were truly gone.

It would always be at the back of my mind.

I made the decision.

I had to throw it all out.


Our bedroom proved to be harder to de-yickyicky than Chunky's.

We had a lot more stuff in there.

After the clothes were laundered and hyperdryed, they were hung back up in the closet.

This time in those gigantic Ziploc bags.


So annoying.

Our dresser is wood. And we kept that. But again, underwear, socks, bras, t-shirts--now all in bags in the dresser.


My fabric stash was mostly saved though--everything that was washable was washed and hyperdried and put into plastic containers. No more stylish wicker baskets.


Yeah, you'll also see that my shoes are now off the floor as well.

All of the knitting books that were on my bookshelf in the bedroom have been double bagged in black trash bags and sit now in the garage with a note that they can be opened in January 2013 (18 months from the incident).

My favorite bagging had to be my clock radio.


I got this clock radio for Christmas when I was younger than Chunky is now.

It still works great. But it's got lots of nooks and crevices that would be idea for a yickyicky to hide in.

But I couldn't part with it!

So I bagged it too.

Yeah, it's a dusty old clock!

What's our total at this point?

Previous total: $902
New bed, box spring, frame, and headboard (metal!) for Dr. MS and I: $1700
Another mattress cover, box spring cover, and pillow covers: $228
Five boxes of XXL Ziploc Bags: $30
New total: $2860

I'm not even factoring in all the plastic tubs I had to buy for stuff and the round of laundry I had to do this time or the pounds (overkill there--but they didn't come in any smaller quantities) of diatomaceous earth I bought and dusted the crevices of our baseboards in the house with.


So that takes us to here, the present day, dear readers.

As of yet, we have not seen another yickyicky since July. But I haven't let my guard down. I still vigilantly inspect our beds every night and the boys know to report any suspicious red welts to me.

The worst part of the yickyickies is it robs you of not just scads and scads of money (and let me tell you how awesome it is to spend tons of money like that when you know your husband is about to be unemployed for who knows how long, and in the summer when he's not drawing a paycheck!), but your innocence.

I am extremely suspiciously paranoid of even the most benign thing--like dr. office waiting rooms, or garage sales--on the off chance it could reinfect our house with yickyickies.

And when you buy your Moochie his first big boy bed (his room appears to have been spared) you are upset because you had to spend extra money on mattress covers that look downright awful.

Night night! Sleep tight! Don't let the yickyickies bite!

And the Upstairs Neighbors wonder why I'm not so warm and friendly anymore!

The best part is, they live so vicariously through our boys--that I haven't told them I'm pregnant yet.* Because I know they'll be gifting us loads of baby shit we don't need.

And which might have been...upstairs.

Where all this shit started.

*If you do the math, Baby Bez 3.0 was conceived on July 2nd. The day before I discovered our yickyickie laden bed. GROSS!

I won't even go into the wrath those fucktards upstairs will endure if anything is wrong with Baby Bez 3.0 because of my exposure to those chemicals days after conception.


Blogger Helen said...

Oh dear goodness I was afraid it was pests :( What a horrid thing. Now you make me afraid to sleep anywhere not at home.
Just last week I moved everything out of cardboard boxes into rubbermaids that my mom thankfully had extras of. No signs of pests but you know, you never know. So I didn't mix it in with my other yarn already in containers. sigh. I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy! Poor Bezz family!

9:36 PM  
Blogger Zonda said...

Holy crap!!! That just sucks! Sorry that happend to you guys!

10:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone I know who's had that problem, it's basically been because of disgusting neighbors. Ugh. I feel for you.

10:22 PM  
Blogger d said...

Wow, Bez: that's harrowing! I knew that it had been bad but had no idea how it had all gone down. I'll take another run-in with mouldy apartment walls over yickyickies any day. Your account really paints a clear picture of just how violating and suspicious a yickyicky survivor will feel.

One of these days you're going to escape crappy Nuevo Jersey. That's gonna be a damn good day.

10:25 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

I can't even imagine dealing with that ONCE never mind TWICE. Did you have to wrap/tape your TV too? Or was it just the affected rooms? So so sorry you had to go through that. Because I'm now paranoid I think I'm going to more carefully bag my yarn in the future. Hope the little one is just perfect. Did you inquire with the exterminator as to risks (after the fact)?

5:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok! Now I have the heebie jeebies!!

But just to let you know....Add another bed for Chunky one that is extra LONG!! That one he is almost hanging off it!!

Moochie's quilt is in the making!! It WILL be washable!!

Positive thoughts Bezzie 3.0 will be just fine. And will be a XX!!

Love, Mom

9:28 AM  
Anonymous Amy said...

Oh, Bezzie, how awful. Gah. I wouldn't be friendly to the upstairs neighbors either--and I'd utterly refuse any kind of gift from them that might have been hibernating in their apartment.

I have extra yarn I would happily send you to help rebuild your stash.

9:41 AM  
Blogger T. Budnik said...

BOOBS! BOOBS on the sidewalk! Haha! see how many hits that gets your blog!

Seriously, though, this sucks. I harbor a strong, strong dislike for your state of residence because of this story. Truly.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Wow, what an awful experience! Sounds like your landlord should reimburse your all of your expenses. That's the bad thing about renting a multfamily house or apartment, running the risk of things like that happening.

When my husband and I moved into our first apartment (in a high rise apartment building), many years ago, we found out the first week we lived there, that our apartment was horribly infested with roaches.

The property manager had initially shown us a different apartment before we moved in, but gave us that nasty one, which we moved into, sight unseen. I know neither of us brought them with us.

I suspect they came from an apartment down the hall, where the official tenants had to be subletting the place, because there was a different family living there nearly every month, and let's just say that some of these people looked rather "unsavory", ha, ha!

It took us months to get rid of those nasty roaches, and the building manager was little help. I was ready to move out, until my dad gave us some boric acid he got from his job at a chemical plant, and that did the trick. It really sucks to have to suffer from other people's laziness or nastiness.

Anyway, sorry to hear you had to go through all that (and lost all your yarn) - what an ordeal! Here's keeping my fingers crossed that you won't have to deal with it ever again!

4:01 PM  
Blogger IrishGirlieKnits said...

Holy crap is right! UGH! That sucks beyond belief and I am freaking out just from reading *most* of the post. I couldn't read it all because I started to itch....

So sorry that happened! Let me know if you need to replenish your sock yarn stash!

6:59 PM  
Anonymous SiressYorkie said...

My jaw dropped by degrees onto my chest when I read this. We had some friends out in Germany who went through this exact sort of nightmare with their condo back in the states, only the Yickyickies hung out in the wooden posts that held the headboard to the wall. Took her about 6 months to get them under control.

What a nightmare. As if you haven't been through enough the last 5 years. Makes having naked time with Shakira the Cockroach look like a cakewalk, eh?

8:35 PM  
Blogger Alisha said...

oh that is awful and i think i am officially not shopping at any garage sales ever again.

we have to do quite few tournaments for sports where we stay in hotels and i hate it for fear of bringing someone home we don't want.

8:38 PM  
Blogger janna said...

Oh, that's awful! I'm so sorry!

9:54 PM  
Blogger Crafty Christina said...

That's awful and I can't even begin to imagine what you went through. I knew to be careful when buying clothing from certain places (like in soho, where a few places had them and I work close to there), but I even THOUGHT about garage sales, which are good and plenty around here.

I'm so sorry you guys had to suffer through this. I'm sure Baby Bez #3 will be ok because your family is one resilient bunch!

9:23 AM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

son of a .... that's way more than anyone needs to deal with- I can't imagine being pregnant while dealing with all that chemically ick. It's so invasive. It's definitely something I'm terrified of. I figure after all the post- K rebuilding it might do me in to be infested.

9:53 AM  
Blogger Dk's Wife said...

Okay, that is just awful. I would hope you could get reimbursed from some of your expenses, but I guess not.

Praying that Baby Bez 3.0 will be born healthy.

Oh my...

3:52 AM  
Blogger knottygnome said...

yikes! that is a horrible tale. i'm so sorry--that's awful.

7:43 AM  
Blogger Jo said...

You sure know how to give me the heebee jeebees... I didn't know about the third outbreak. Can't you call the health board at some point?

7:49 AM  
Blogger Stickyfingers said...

GUH! This is why we don't pick up a single thing from the curb or garage sales. Everyone thinks we're nuts to buy brand new all the time, but . . . YUCK! I don't want to deal with crap like that!
Maybe upstairs neighbours thought they were called YICKYickys because they only chill in YICKIES?? Maybe that's why they only ditched the mattress? ::Shudder::
This makes me feel much better about my larval moth infestation I discovered recently, btw. See, we both lost stash we loved. It still stings.

1:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The San Francisco Chronicle had an article today about yikkies and I wouldn't feel right if I didn't sent you this website listed to help solve those problems. it is I wish I knew how to link the article but you could go to and type in "ask the bugman" and read the 11/9/11 article. All the best to you and your family!


10:24 PM  
Anonymous Rosi G. said...

Been there done that. But guess what??? THAT'S HOW WE ENDED UP BUYING THE HOUSE!!!!!!! We had to find an apt cuz there was NO WAY IN FUCKING HELL That I was staying in that apt after that fucking ordeal. FUCK NO. I spent about as much as you did. Took that shit right out of that Also Clueless Landlord's rent, yes, I did!!! B/c that was mostly his fucking fault b/c his Cheap Ass did exactly what YOUR Clueless Landlord did and didn't fumigate the entire building. Bastards.

But instead of looking for another apartment my supervisor at work convinced me to find a house instead b/c hey, I have a steady income so why the hell not! :-) YAAAAY! :-))))

BTW, I need your new address.

9:43 AM  

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