Saturday, April 10, 2010

Don't Let The Bedbugs...Well You Know

Having been in Oman now for almost a month, I can say that we have comfortably reset our clocks ahead a full 12 hours.  I have swapped waking up to an alarm clock for raucous birds and the call to prayer from a nearby mosque and have grown quite partial to not worrying about making sure that the kids are wearing enough layers of clothing.  Peter has willingly swapped a 45 minute highway drive to work for a 5 minute commute and the kids have essentially retired their jackets and long pants.

As luck would have it though, just as we were getting comfortable with our new routine, Peter awoke one morning, covered in small, red, very itchy welts!  Never did I ever imagine that "Don't Let The Bedbugs Bite" could or would take on such a personal meaning.  Peter was literally covered in bug bites.  Starting at his feet and making their way up his legs and trunk, down his arms and up his neck and face, we had been infested. 

Living in Calgary and underexposed to bugs in general, especially those that make up nasty old wifes tales, I have thankfully up until now, never encountered anything like this, so after Peter left for the office, I begun my search for answers on our not quite dial-up Internet for a solution. I discovered that these nasty critters are notoriously hard to spot and even harder to get rid of, but the bite marks on Peter's body was all of the evidence that I needed to prove that we had a problem. 
I tore apart our bedding and searched every seam of our mattress, I moved furniture, pictures and scoured every inch of the bedroom in our temporary accommodation.  At one point, I did see a suspicious brown beetle-like creature that matched the images I had found on-line but could one creature really be responsible for all of this damage?
After chasing our only likely culprit down the plumbing, we tentatively headed off to bed.  Now I have to be honest and say that I was VERY glad that it was Peter that had been bitten and not me but the next morning it seemed that my luck had run out.  I woke up the next morning also covered in similar bites. 

After visiting every single furniture and bedding shop in Muscat (this was entertaining in its own right but more on this later), on the hunt for sealable mattress covers for the beds in our temporary accommadations to no avail, it was time to call in the professionals.  BEC, PDO's chosen company for everything maintenance, showed up shortly after the children went to school and sprayed down every surface in all of the bedrooms, including all of our clothing, with the hopes that this would end our bug plight. 

I also had the BEC exterminators switch our infested mattress with one from another temporary house.  Initially, the workers planned to just swap mattresses but when I explained that this was probably not an ideal solution, they reluctantly agreed to store our teeming mattress out in the hot courtyard, hoping that this would 1 - encourage the bed bugs to leave of their own accord or 2 - fry in the 40 degree heat.  I'm not sure what actually happened as after the mattress left our home, we didn't see it again.

After a long, very itchy couple of days, the extermination seemed to work.  Luckily the kids didn't sustain any bites and other than having to buy out the local pharmacy's stock Fentisil, we suffered no ill effects.  On the other hand, Rani, our new house maid had the pleasure of washing and ironing every article of clothing and bedding in our temporary flat.  I guess we have passed our first initiation and are now officially on our way to becoming locals.

A demain...

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