I should have known something was wrong when I had more bites on my body than remaining skin.
This went on for months. Nobody else in the house appeared to have bites, however, so I didn’t think much of it. With two little ones to look after, I don’t get a chance to think about myself, period, these days — so even if I had some horrible flesh-eating disease, I’d just dismiss it as a sign that I need to use more sunscreen until I was a walking pile of bones. At which point I’d be all, “Sweet! I can finally fit in my skinny jeans” and be thrilled that I make a better seesaw partner for my two-year-old.
Speaking of girls who can fit in their skinny jeans, my feline daughter Marcy has also been suffering from odd ailments, losing weight and suffering from watery discharge in one of her eyes. Again, with two little ones to look after, I don’t get a chance to think about the cats much these days except to push them off the dining room table several hundred times a day and shush them when the baby is asleep (which occurs about two times a week). So Mr. Candy and I convinced ourselves that Marcy’s ailments were just part of getting older, much like her “meow lines” (cat equivalent of laugh lines) and desire to eat dinner earlier in the day. Until, that is, she started sneezing and wheezing even more frequently than I was shooing her off the dining room table. It sounded just terrible. So we did what any concerned pet owners would do… and bought kitty grass in hopes she was just coughing up the biggest hairball EVER and waited a week to see if she got better. Because, really, all we want to do after we put the kids to bed is look at each other and say FINALLY! before passing out in the fetal position — not take our sneezing, car-averse cat to the veterinarian. A visit for which we will be billed twelve-billion dollars plus our firstborn. (Which really sucks because our firstborn is the good sleeper.)
But Marcy didn’t get better.
Mr. Candy, bless his heart, took our shrinking, discharging, sneezing, wheezing cat to the veterinarian after we got the kids asleep. Now genuinely concerned about Marcy, I waited by the computer for news; it didn’t take long for a status update to arrive in my in-box with this subject heading:
Oh, yes. Our cats have fleas, most likely thanks to a certain stray cat we adopted then had to give up — which also explains why I’m always itching. (And you thought it was just from lack of bathing. Shame on you. I’m dirty and I have fleas, thankyouverymuch!) And poor Marcy is allergic to the nasty little suckers, while Lucy, in usual Lucy fashion, is completely oblivious to them.
We’ve treated the cats. I’ve vacuumed. I’ve vacuumed again. I’ve washed all of the bedding*. I also plan to have the carpets steam-cleaned as soon my hands are free to dial the phone. But right now…?
I CAN’T STOP ITCHING.
*You just know our unwanted houses guests are all, “Excellent! We love the smell of clean sheets!”