Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Girl Vs. Tineola Bisselliella

It takes a lot to gross me out. It really does. Like, I'm the person you can talk to about the intestinal parasite* you picked up in India or how your radius snapped that time when you wiped out skiing...and sliced through your arm. And my anti-freak out specialty is listening to messy birth stories. Blood, guts, and gory episiotomy details? Bring it. And I won't even make hint of the "Oh God!" expression, suggesting that your story might not be fit for sharing. Nope, I'm here for ya, friends.

But there are a few things I simply cannot handle. One of them is worms (and slimy worm-like creatures)--anywhere, any kind, any time--even slithering around through flower beds in a beautiful garden where they belong. The thought of them alone makes me kind of queasy. Snakes, fine. Ants, no problem. Worms? Hells no.

This aversion to slimy creatures (human newborns excluded) has made the recent moth situation in my apartment approximately, oh, 150 times worse. What moth situation, you ask? Well, about 6 months ago, I started noticing that some of my wool sweaters and dresses had holes in them. I convinced myself that the dry cleaner was responsible (how unprofessional!) or that I must have snagged the item on something sharp (that bitch on BART with her sequined purse!)...until I started seeing moths flying around. Then I had to face the music and dance around proverbially in a moth-bitten Go-Go dress.

So, I did my research and decided upon a 3-pronged eradication approach: natural repellent (see above), toxic battle chemicals and an extremely thorough spring cleaning. (See Gwen's recommendations here for how to "quarantine the scene.") After many, many hours of closet attack, vacuuming, scrubbing, spraying, and completing a staggering number of loads of laundry, I'd say I'm half way there. Visual: me vacuuming my apartment wearing leather boots, a nylon nightie and a bandanna tied over my nose and mouth. (Everything else was in the wash!)

Phase 2, just so you know, will involve opening bags of wool items that have been simmering in deadly moth ball vapors for a few days--the moth balls that I made my friend Mo carry to the counter in Walgreens. You see, I was too ashamed to hold them myself for fear of seeming like a creepy person with a dirty house (I swear I'm not!) or perhaps someone who doesn't quite understand the dangers of bio hazards.

And I was almost having fun with all of this, especially the part where I got to spend an hour with EJ, filling pretty little satchels with lavender and dried mint leaves that now guard my dresser drawers...until I saw one. There on my beautiful wool hand bag from Oaxaca was a slimy moth baby looking way to similar to a worm for me not to freak out. Eeek!

So now I'm kind of panicking about opening the mothball bags. What if there are slimy moth babies in there, squirming around? The plan is to rip open the bags, throw the contents into the laundry and pray for salvation, all while avoiding horrific damage to my nervous system via toxic vapor inhalation. But at least I could talk about that without passing out.
Stay tuned for results.

*Unless it's a tape worm. Then kindly keep this information to yourself as it is not fit for sharing.
Curious about closet moth eradication? Check out some info here and here and here.

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