Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Last week I went to a very nice neighborhood along the shores of a beautiful
mountain lake. There I carefully noted the wish list for a porch addition to the
existing house. One of the things the owner said, which I did not take seriously enough, was she loved being outside but did not love insect bites.
In fact she said, " I am not from here. I do wish my realtor had mentioned the need for a screened porch in this part of the world. Of course we do have these wrap around lake side decks but we never use them. If I had been informed I would have never bought a property without a screened porch."
After our chat about the scope of the project I went outside to start all the measuring and photographing necessary to construct an addition. I was wearing long pants, thick socks, hiking boots and a shirt with sleeves rolled and tabbed to three quarter length. I started the measuring on the decks before descending to the ground to measure for footers and so forth. It was a beautiful day, in a beautiful location with a beautiful design taking place in my mind as I measured .
When I returned inside the client and I enjoyed a glass of lemonade tea while we reviewed design options.
It is always important to integrate an addition so it will look correct architecturally, will have good flow, will not block the view of the lake from most of the water side rooms and will be large enough to meet the identified needs.
Still looking at may arm I asked the client if she had any tea bags. She did and we promptly microwaved one in some water and placed the hot tea bag compress on my arm while we continued our meeting. As I was saying my good byes she said,
" I hate you have these spider bites but at least you did not step into the chiggers."
For a brief moment I felt intense hostility toward this woman. If she knew her property was a high risk insect zone why did she not offer me some deet before letting me outside to measure?
" Actually a screened porch can offer only so much protection from insects. It sounds like you have multiple infestations which need attention. Do you have a pest control program? "
" Well, yes we do. Because we are on the lake we limit our treatments to natural or green corrections."
" Corrections seem a bit optimistic. Maybe you could ask your service to either come more often or use other methods."
Her damn chiggers rode home with me, apparently having crawled round the top of my boot munching away.
My right ankle is ringed with chigger bites, My left ankle has a few and some of the more adventurous critters made the journey to the back of my left knee. My left forearm remains welted and swollen from the spider bites while my right forearm is rashed in what the docs are guessing was from a poisonous plant.
I have had the Fizz fumigated. Since I did not know about the chiggers until the next day, my bathroom had to be fumigated while all the laundry in the hamper had to be fumigated and put through a 2 hour sanitizing steam cycle in the new washer. The bedding has been stripped, the mattresses fumigated, the sofa slipcovers removed and sanitized, the curtains sanitized the rugs sent out for cleaning.
I do have prescription meds for what has been classified as a " systemic response to multiple toxins". Seems my body just does not know how to deal with chiggers, spiders and plant poisons simultaneously. There is a table top of pills, unguents, sprays. So far none of the sites have become infected . This is a victory. But I still itch. Intensely. Everywhere.
The day after our appointment I called the client to suggest she have the service come out immediately to deal with her infestations. I related to her the difficulties I was experiencing . She offered sympathy.
I did wonder if she realized our on site appointment for her porch addition had cost hundreds of dollars for the visit to the UrgentCare Center plus prescriptions and, an immeasurable amount of misery? I am trying to not be angry with this woman but in all truth ... I'd like to plant her in her own back yard.