Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Bedbug Renaissance Inn

We had just come back to Germany from our son’s graduation from law school, and woke up the next morning with welts – we didn’t know what they were. All we knew is suddenly, we had red itchy welts, and I was allergic to whatever they were.

We were lucky – we got in to see a doctor right away, and he told us what they were and what to do, and we did it and we never had another problem. He also told us that he was seeing this problem more and more – that many hotels have extra guests they never tell you about, even the very best hotels. (Our poor kitty – we had blamed her, we thought maybe she had brought in fleas, and it wasn’t her at all, it was hitch-hikers from Florida.)

What we learned from this truly awful experience is that bedbug infestations are happening everywhere. It’s something no one talks about out of shame, but with DDT off the market, and increasingly warm climates, they are on the increase.

To this day, I wash my sheets in hot hot water, and dry them on hot. And I think twice when I say to children, as is common in the USA “sleep tight, and don’t let the bed bugs bite!”

From AOL News:
(Nov. 7) – First come the bites, amazingly itchy, raised red welts that appear, literally, overnight. Then, you might notice scarlet spots on your sheets from smashed bugs or perhaps clusters of little black dots that you assume are dirt but are in fact constellations of fecal matter.

And one day, you might wake up in the wee hours of the morning, flip on the lights and find red bugs, slightly bigger than ticks, crawling on your sheets, pillows and legs.

Welcome to the most retro pest of the 21st century, the bedbug. The bugs, which were thought to be wiped out by powerful pesticides such as DDT 30 years ago, are back and infesting major urban areas, suburbia and the heartland.

You can read the entire horrifying story at AOL Health News.

USA Today’s List of How to Cope with a Bedbug Infestation:

Coping With Bedbugs: Advice From Experts
The best rule of thumb for dealing with bedbugs? Try not to get them in the first place.

Otherwise, read on:
Be careful where you put your suitcase when you travel. “These guys are fantastic hitchhikers,” says the University of Maryland’s Michael Raupp. “If you have a luggage rack with metal racks, put your suitcase on that.”

Check behind a hotel headboard. That’s one of their favorite spots, Raupp says. Pull back the comforter and sheets and look for the fecal stains on the mattress seams and ticking. Shine a penlight behind the headboard and look for dark fecal stains.

If you do wake up with red welts, assume the worst. “At that point, when you go home, all laundry goes into a trash bag outside, and then right into a washing machine on a hot cycle, and then a clothes dryer,” says the University of Kentucky’s Michael F. Potter. “As little as five or 10 minutes kills everything on high heat. Cold will not kill the eggs and not all the adults.”

Don’t pull mattresses and dressers off the street. Steer clear of yard sales or flea markets. And don’t ever buy used bedding.

If you do get them, don’t use a bomb or spray, which will only scatter them through your home. “Find a good pest-control company. This is not one where you buy bug spray and battle it yourself,” Potter says.

In many cases, pros suggest getting rid of your box spring and mattress, or if you can’t, using a bug-proof zippered mattress cover that traps the buggers inside for at least a year.

Source: USA Today

November 8, 2007 Posted by | ExPat Life, Family Issues, Florida, Health Issues, Hygiene, News, Travel | 7 Comments

Ayam Zakat

My niece, Little Diamond in a comment on a previous post reminded me of the “cat containment center,” also called the cat house, that the Qatteri Cat once inhabited so that he could spend time in the garden when we weren’t outside. It had three levels he could climb up to and sleep on, and a long run to the exit. He didn’t like being contained, but he liked being outdoors enough to put up with it.



Little Diamond helped me put it together when it arrived. Little Diamond has a great big brain, she can find anything on the internet in four seconds flat, including all the lyrics to Put the Lime in the Coconut. All we have to do is mention wanting to know something, and she finds it. She also forwards all kinds of fascinating reading for me. She is SMART.

She is not so smart about putting things together. Like she said we didn’t need to look at the instructions, which were sort of in Chinese anyway, but I am a read the instructons kind of woman. Our first try was not so good. We had to resort to looking at the instructions. We finally got it together, but it never was quite right. It worked, however, well enough.

It even had a flag for the top.

Little Diamond speaks Arabic fluently. I only stumble around, but you know how when you are learning a language there are words that sound like other words, or you make jokes about the language that would make no sense to the people speaking that language but make perfect sense to the learner? (I have heard that the English word “unique” will send you into gales of laughter). Little Diamond and Adventure Man love puns, especially in Arabic. We can be rolling on the floor over things that will make YOU native Arabic speaker roll your eyes.

“On the flag” suggested Little Diamond, with a perfectly straight face, “we need to write ‘Ayam Zakat'”! and then we both laughed so hard we rolled on the grass with tears in our eyes, howling with laughter.

In Arabic, Ayam Zakat makes no sense at all. Ayam means something like times and zakat is charity. When you say it in English, however . . . it is the perfect flag for the Qatteri Cat’s house.

You can find the Cat Containment Center (condo) and all kinds of other items for entertaining and transporting cats at Midnight Pass/Kittywalk

November 8, 2007 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Language, Living Conditions, Qatar, Words | 7 Comments