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Battling the beetle barbecue of doom

GAYS MILLS - I’ve had my mother-in-law staying with me for about a week. I am one of the lucky gals who can say they actually get along with their mother-in-law. We fancy ourselves fairly similar, except, she is really tidy, and I am really not.

I’m not exactly a slob or anything, in the sense that my house doesn’t look like an episode of Hoarders, where there are piles of garbage stacked to the ceiling and only small trails meandering through my house. I’ve never lost Thatcher amongst my belongings. 

However, I am a clutter bug. I have small piles of stuff. It sits where it was sat and often a lot of stuff doesn’t have an official home. Not entirely unsightly piles, but you can tell someone lives at my house.

 The older I am getting and the more mobile, curious and grabby my toddler has become the more I’ve tried to downsize and make my life less cluttered-baby steps.

What goes with being a clutter bug is dusting. I’ve always hated dusting and found it to be kind of a pointless task. I mean, dust, it’s everywhere, all the time, it doesn’t bother me and I don’t bother it. As someone with lungs that are in good-used condition, I can be guilty of making the generalization that dust is dust is dust-it’s not going to kill me.

This brings us to why my mother-in-law is staying with me.

Thatcher was diagnosed with reactive airway recently. Which makes a lot of sense in retrospect. It’s why he’s kind of been a sickly guy.

When he gets ill his respiratory system sounds wheezy and hacky and just gross. We have taken him in for routine ear checks several times, the pukes, general “he just doesn’t feel good,” situations. In retrospect and after some research, a lot of his problems could probably be linked back to this.

 It’s not exactly asthma, but it’s out there in the world of narrowing airways.

So Granny has come to the rescue, staying home with Thatcher so he doesn’t have to go to the germy hotbed that is daycare, while he mends. Also putting us through a dusty house boot camp. Laying the groundwork for a tidy organized shack that we can call home.

She gave us a talk about being dust free and tidier with our clothes and dead Asian beetle clean up, because, did you know dead beetle dust is a huge allergen?! I had no idea.

Worst yet, when they die next to your stove burner and you don’t notice them because they’re burnt to a crisp, matching the black stove top, you’re sending carcinogenic bug smoke up, for your poor infant to breath in, irritating his airway even further.

Also during our after doctor chat, I learned that piles of clothes and not changing your sheets enough harbors dust mites, which feast on your microscopic flesh flakes. These creatures, not to be seen with the naked eye although beneficial to prevent massive amounts of skin flake build up, are also an allergen.

Sitting across the counter, listening to all of the horrors that I didn’t even realize were surrounding my poor son, I felt like I was on that show ‘Intervention’ and that they were going to send me to dusty house addicts anonymous or Clutter Bug Rehab in Malibu.

 It sounds drastic, but having someone stare you straight in the hairy eyeball and tell you how your stovetop was a beetle barbeque of asthma doom will really make you think twice. I wanted to say “BUT I HAVENT EVEN USED IT IN LIKE TWO WEEKS!” But I didn’t, I just hoped it wasn’t that bad and dedicated myself to beetle eradication. Blame the beetles-no one likes them anyway. 

I even picked up a wet washcloth Sunday and wiped all sorts of surfaces down, including the cracks that you really can’t see and would have previously left dusty.

I am probably lucky that my son’s diagnosis isn’t extremely dramatic in the way that it does not come on in attacks.

Because, after all he is still a goofy toddler and the things he does can’t always be explained. I was sweeping up the wretched health hazard beetles, but realized I had left the dustpan in the utility room. I ran to fetch it only to come back and find Thatcher laying on the floor blowing the dead beetle carcasses about. He was obviously pretty happy with the results from a week of steroids and nebulizer treatments and wanted to get right back in the thick of things.

Although I am dedicated to this new dust and beetle free life style, I think it will take some getting used to for the free range Pig Pen Thatcher-but I’m sure his lungs will thank me in the long run.