Bugging out on my couch, but what was it all about?

BY KATE WALTER  |  “Do the test so you can stop obsessing,” said my shrink, Dr. R.

I’d told Dr. R. I was afraid that my convertible couch, which doubled as my bed in my West Village studio, might be infested. My panic started last fall when I woke up one morning scratching my ankles. Never mind that I was still spending weekends at the shore and sitting outside at night wearing flip-flops. Any sane person would have suspected mosquito bites, not bedbugs. Plus, what I had looked nothing like what I saw on the many Web sites devoted to this new urban pest epidemic.

That should have reassured me, but the day I found a bite on my index finger, I freaked out. I recalled the note my annoying neighbor had placed under my door a while back indicating the person who had moved downstairs from me had bedbugs in her previous apartment. I’d dismissed this warning and filed it away with her other crazy letters, but what if she was right? Now I stripped the sheets, pillowcases and mattress cover from my bed, tossed all this into the laundry. I pulled up the mattress and frantically searched under it for bugs. I found nothing.

So then why did I keep waking up so early, like at 5 a.m.? Right before dawn was when the critters started feeding. Was it job-related anxiety? After all, this did start when I returned to teaching in the fall. I also wondered if it was fear of bringing a new woman into my bed after my partner of 26 years left me. I analyzed whether I was projecting my anxiety about a new love affair onto a fear of bedbugs. Or was it the real deal? Every time I saw a tiny dark fleck on my sheet, I was afraid it might be fecal matter from those bloodsuckers.

The first time I went into a panic, I was lobbying for another apartment in my building and had dreams of being offered an amazing space with direct views of the Empire State Building. I had to get out of this tiny studio. I was officially too old to be sleeping on a pullout couch. On my birthday last year, I became eligible for Social Security.

Of course, my shrink wanted to know why the possibility of a new home scared me. I indicated it must be related to my distorted thinking that I don’t deserve a bigger place where I could have a real bed. The only way I could take this in was to counterbalance with something negative: bedbugs. I grew up with twin beds in a small room shared with my sister. When I left home, I splurged and got a waterbed. (It was the ’70s.) After I moved to Manhattan, I slept in loft beds, futons and now a convertible couch.

“You think you only deserve tidbits of happiness,” my therapist analyzed. This was also her theory as to why I spent three decades with my former partner, whom my shrink felt never returned my devotion. “Getting what you want scares you,” Dr. R. said.

When I was not offered that apartment, my fears calmed down for a few weeks until I saw the tan speck on my sheet. I picked it up and put it into an envelope.

“So what does it look like?” my therapist asked, referring to the speck.

“Well, it looks like a piece of granola,” I said, feeling silly. “But it also looks like the picture of a bedbug I saw on the Internet.”

“Bedbugs don’t look like granola,” Dr. R. said. “What’s going on in your love life now?”

I told Dr. R. about the fabulous first date I’d just had with an attorney. We walked on the High Line at sunset, followed by dinner at an Italian restaurant where we drank a bottle of wine. The conversation flowed easily. She was attractive and I sensed chemistry. Even better, she e-mailed me later that she had fun and wanted to get together again. I really liked her but I could never invite her to my apartment to sit on my couch if I thought it was infested.

The only people who knew about my fear were my therapist and my best friend. Since my friend’s ex owned a mold-removal business, I asked her to speak with him. That was how I learned about the test. He said to put sticky glue mousetraps under the four posts of my convertible couch before I went to bed. If I had bugs, they would be on the traps in the morning. It was time to discover the truth.

It was super-hard to get the glue traps under the posts of my heavy couch. This was a two-person job, but I refused to call anyone in my building who could assist me move furniture. This needed to be a stealth operation. I pulled the couch up with my right arm and slipped the traps under with my left hand.

I thought I’d be unable to sleep that night, but I slept soundly. At least, I’d have an answer when I woke up. I got up at 7 a.m. and peeked at the edges of the traps — they were all clean, thank God. But I could not be positive until I pulled them out completely. This task was much harder than inserting them because now the traps were stuck to the wooden posts. I managed to free the back two first because they were not wedged in as deeply. All clear — yes!

But the front ones were impossible because I’d stuck them under more securely. I yanked and pulled with my left hand, holding up the couch with my right hand, like Superwoman. The traps came flying off in pieces, the glue side landing down on my floor. I saw blood on the last trap I removed. It was mine, I realized with relief, as I saw a big gash on my index finger. I was cut and bleeding and glue was stuck to a section of my wooden floor, but I didn’t care. My couch had passed the exterminator’s exam.

The next day I woke up happy and planned to go to yoga but my shoulder and wrist were sprained from lifting the heavy couch. No way could I do downward dog without injuring myself again. I had to skip class, which I needed after all that stress. I found the envelope with the suspicious speck and examined it again. It looked like a piece of granola.

A month later, I was offered a sunny one-bedroom near quiet neighbors.

I was thrilled about this upgrade after 12 years on a waiting list for a bigger place. When I signed the lease, there was another form, indicating my new apartment had no history of bedbugs.

So I moved and finally, at age 62, I had my own one-bedroom and was looking to buy a bed. On our third date, I invited the sexy attorney over. As we sat on my couch drinking wine and chatting, surrounded by unpacked boxes, I felt like it was worth the long wait and envisioned how I’d be decorating my brand-new space, transforming it into a real home.

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2 Responses to Bugging out on my couch, but what was it all about?

  1. I will immediately grab your rss as I can't find your email subscription link or newsletter service. Do you have any? Please let me know so that I could subscribe. Thanks.

  2. ” independent newspaper ” special interview A plunges into Er, talent teenager loves to think
    When A plunges into Er 4 years old, be in a flock of age among the double child at him kickball, he appears since thenceforth extraordinary, the desire of shoot and strive for victory is strong. The A that can say this summer cuts Er 21 years old when 32 million pound cost to purchase on the west plunges into Er, be the sort of player that La Jun needs. He comes from Yu Fajia famous club, and turning had conquered before the meeting French league matches. He once won league matches twice optimal and young player and two league matches are optimal the title of the player, be in for this when the author Kebamu to him when congratulate, he was accepted courteously. Carry additionally, he is all obtain league matches is the youngest in optimal player.

    He arrives now Qieerxi 6 months, just accept England media for the first time interview. But it is the job of at hand of the 2nd coach in him however. We witnessed team to lose the chance of knockout of promotion champion league matches two days ago, and everybody still writes down what send before the meeting so that Cheap Nike Shox when summer Azaer turns to push special I am mixed now army autograph made an appointment with Ou Guanguan, now, he can baffle probably why to choose to come to Stanford bridge at the outset.
    Go up soon Azaer is not lofty, have 5 feet only 8 inches tall, special even thin and small, the attack hand that serves as Qieerxi especially will tell. But look him fast Li Tingjiang, actually only those who hold Rhys in the palm come on the stage time is morer than him. After be surpassed to Sang Delan on the weekend originally, qieerxi attends Japan of non-stop flight to world all cup, this will be an insanity by 9 matches crowded in December, and happen possibly in the anything in this month.
    Also can say 5 months in Qieerxi are insanity nevertheless, although A Za Erben’s person thinks,he is not step-by-step ground suits according to his rhythm too come down. But the coach midway that signs him finishs class or frightened him to jump. Look, what know I stop before me actually is how a club. I know Qieerxi is one often changes the coach’s club. But I also did not think of Dimateaohui goes quickly person, he signs me, I expect move and he establishs stable relationship slowly all the time, very long period of time is made in his hand come off work. Nevertheless, I am done not have now too too regretful. We had had a new train now, urge us to want to be done weller with predecessor, go far as far as possible on each winning road, also want to be kicked beautifully of course, win as far as possible much champion. Nevertheless coach midway finishs class may be the first time in my profession career, this accepts quite hard to me. This is the one part that football circle lives. We must lay aside disappointment. And the disappointment of my individual also results from is him me Qieerxi comes to sign in. I must say this is a football again. This is very natural. Regard a football as the athlete, you always are in such ask oneself. But always should consider the issue some more active again. The coach is attendant the edge is directive, and player people attendant go up to unplug to the city stockaded village, the critical factor that says the competition so is in actually player here more dot. Occasionally you can think: Oh, if that opportunity does not have shirk, or if that shoot is so not dilatory, he still perhaps is now on the coach’s seat. At that time you felt your responsibility deeply, you always need self-communion, also can say this is a football. This is the philosophy of the football, it lets you from 0 begin, begin to get used to everything.
    This shows Azaer and had not hesitated, the person that although be opposite,he is interested in is not little. Wen Ge wants him, graceful city also is interested in him. Qidanei suggests he had better go emperor horse. But this comes from Bulaina – strap – Kong Te small town (Belgian south, with border on of the Er in France) the boy is certain he should go Qieerxi. Had weighed the interest of all clubs, I feel Qieerxi is genuine to mine. Come I can speak Qieerxi’s reason a lot of. They think I join in very much really, this lets me have not enough time to want too much. And I still feel London is a good place, main nevertheless I still want to work well here, kick the value that gives me to come, hope one day me can this sincerity of redound club.
    And the choice after his autograph is finished about is being pushed special to vermicelli made from bean starch people the legend that the whereaboutldirection that announces oneself also became 12 years of summers. He is mixed than Qieerxi even the government of li of Er announces quickly still. You must follow to go up times. Pushing is nowadays especially one of the life important make a part. Perhaps I still led tide, because other player also begins so dry. Hair pushing is quite automatical thing especially, quite may wet also.
    Azaer still is in sports season on it is li of Er to kick champion cup – in 10/11 sports season Er carries off after Sai Shuangguan king of league matches cup – but they still fail to be surpassed through the group. This sports season what he thinks not without sensible ground his new boss should go is farther, nevertheless he looks so that hold out now: We can have come again next year. Right, have he and equestrian tower, oscar and Mosaic new Qieerxi are worth to expect really.
    Many players left, there is no lack of among them seasoned, but, this is not us when bringing a few new move. Here has a big new player to swarm into, want to bring everybody green vitality. Azaer stopped a little while, for French the interpreter is being searched for more accurate with the word. This word gallice will tell is insanity of La Folie () , not be to make nerve, have kind of unrestrained blossomming interest however, this is different. Qieerxiben has same quality personally, him help will challenge ace, win a victory.

    The Azaer in the life likes hutch art. I like to cook. Feed prepares to come more happily for family after coming home without what comparing. The spaghetti mixes all sorts of juice! Italian face matchs butter! Cooking is me is special competence, and I can make an a lot of different variety. Can carry so that appear on the stage occasionally face occasionally pure belong to an experiment to fail. Although Belgian beer is very famous, nevertheless I am athlete of a football, I do not drink beer. And his family is very happy also, can comprise a 5 people to make football team even. His family has very strong football background, his mom still holds to kickball when cherishing him even. Father the base of a fruit of Azaer is fan of a football in Ye, kickball is surpassed in Belgian the 3rd cascade, and forward is kicked in the women football club that when mom blocks Li Na to plunge into Er in the A that cherishs 3 months, still thes prefecture where the provincial capital is located in the place. Her kickball when I still am in her abdomen. My dad is a full back, hit a ball very sober. And my mom is a forward, although wait,mom kickball had not looked after I am born, but I still remember us see my father kick, the knot that I think I am their advantage is fit. Diyeli and Kalina have 4 sons, now is football athlete completely. Eden is the old, 2 younger brother are 19 years old hold Er in the palm firm, qieerxi signed him and hire outside him in power Er county (in Belgian league matches at present the rank leans before) , jilian of 17 years old also is thought to have a boundless future, he is in now of eldest brother before team of the Er in a form of address formally used by an employee to his employer or a tenant-peasant to his landlord. Still for years only Yi Sang of 8 years old, in home town kickball. My father still is in now kick, and my mom can become a coach. After the way that took professional player, his mom criticizes him no longer: When I chose this route, my mom just speaks favorably of I. And our brother a few also never mutual judge duty, we are an organic whole. To me 3 my little brothers star namely. We are brought up in football ground edge, have 5 only from our home really Mi Yuan, and end place has short low fence wall. Such lawn that we won’t kick bad oneself.

    Regard Belgian talent as generation, azaer is not quite clear why to arrive blowout of player of talent of his this generation: I also do not know from what when begin, the fact is at a draught we had a batch of players. We are together kickball is very happy. Can a batch of such players are promoted each other together is a lucky thing. Winning a world cup is my dream. Nevertheless above all we must be surpassed through preelection. This is our main goal. Will tell more powerful than us team have a lot of from paper face. But if we can go,I dare affirm Brazil, regular meeting keeps our track.

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