Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite

Summer had finally arrived. I was super excited to start my summer vacation with a nice get away to Colorado Springs. My brother, Chris, and sister-in-law, Nikki, were moving to Colorado Springs and invited me to drive up with them. They encouraged me that it would be a great chance to get away and relax. Little did I know that I was far from a relaxing vacation.

Our adventure to Colorado Springs began on June 9th. We made an over night stop in Oklahoma. It was my first time to ever stay on an Air Force base. It was so nice! The hotel was an apartment. I had my own room. We woke up that morning ready to complete our 18 hour road trip to Colorado Springs. We made a pit stop before heading out to go caching. Caching is a world wide scavenger hunt. You use your IPhone to find them with a compass. We found one close to the Oklahoma Air Force base we stayed at. The cache was in a small little magnetic container. It was so cool! I was incredibly thrilled to see that I was well on my way to the fun and relaxing vacation that I desperately needed.

Caching in Oklahoma

We finally arrived in Colorado Springs later that night. Chris and Nikki placed some of their luggage in storage and then we drove to Denver. They were scheduled to check into Colorado Springs on June 11th, which meant we had 2 nights to spend in a hotel in Denver. Chris wanted to go watch the Rockies vs. the Astros baseball game the following night. After eating a good dinner at Olive Garden we drove to our hotel. The hotel they reserved looked much better online than in person. It was super sketch. We were all determined to find a new hotel. Little did we know that it would be difficult to find a decent affordable option. All the hotels were booked due to a convention in town. We were really tired of traveling at this point and just wanted to find a hotel to just sleep. So, Chris and Nikki decided to go with Motel 6. It wasn't that big of deal because all we were going to do was sleep there and find another hotel for the next night. Yeah, it wasn't that big of a we thought.

I woke up at 4:50 am itching...yes itching! I ran to the bathroom to see what it was and I had red bumps all over my upper thighs and stomach. I turned on all the lights and woke my brother and sister-in-law trying to look to see what was in the bed. I didn't see anything. We were all creeped out. We went to the front desk and showed them my bites and told them we wanted a refund and left the hotel. We were so tired that we crashed at our new hotel room. We woke up and did some research. It turns out that I was bit by bed bugs. We later come to find out that my brother got bit too. My sister-in-law was spared. The saying, "sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite" is a true statement.

Research says that they are nocturnal. They only bite you at night between the time of 2-5 am. They hide in the mattress. The bed bugs find a vein and begin to feast on your blood like a buffet. They suck for about 5 minutes and then they poop on you. Gross! We went to IHOP and wrote out a plan of attack. We called it- Operation Kill the Bed Bug Blood Suckers Piece of Craps.

We researched how to get rid of them. The bed bugs travel with you in your suitcase (they followed us to the new hotel and bit us some more). We read that we need to get rid of our luggage or burn it in the sun. We wanted to be on the safe side so we threw out our luggage. We bought new clothes (including under garments), towels, laundry detergent, Benadryl, Cortisone cream (for the itching), and trash bags at much for an affordable hotel room. We spent more money and time getting rid of them than paying for a decent hotel room.

We took all of our clothes out of our luggage and separated our clothes into delicates, whites and darks in the Target parking lot. We threw all of the garbage bags into the car and went to the laundry mat. We didn't want our clothes to shrink by washing in hot water and drying in high heat, so we decided just to dry our dry clothes in the highest heat for several cycles. We headed to the gym to sit in the dry sauna, showered and put on our new clothes. Research didn't say to sit in a sauna, but we wanted to do what we could to make sure we were rid of them. We bought bed bug spray and double sided tape to see if we were successful. Nikki counted and circled all of my bed bug bites and Chris'. I had 61 bites and Chris had 66. Before we went to sleep that night we surrounded our bed with double sided tape to see if we could catch the bed bugs. We knew how many bites we had and if any new bites appeared we weren't rid of them and we would have to take more drastic measures (at this point we were back in Colorado Springs on the Air Force base).

We had finally conquered the bed bugs! Now all we had to do was heal from the bites. Research says that it takes about 2 weeks to stop itching and then about a month to no longer see the bite marks. It's August and I still see a slight shadow from where they resided.

So, through all of this experience God spoke to me. Bed bugs are like sin in our life. We need to go to drastic measures to get rid of it. Not to respond in a lackadaisical manner and alter some things that cause us to stumble, but to get rid of it completely. Not to hold on to things because it is too painful to let go. I loved my luggage (a nice Nike bag I got for Christmas last year) and I really wanted to save it. I also was reluctant to loose my clothes to shrinkage, but we had to be extreme if we wanted to be rid of them. The bites are like what is left after sin has feasted on us. We are left itching, uncomfortable, and with scars. We must take medicine to get us through the itching and pain. The medicine to our soul is God's Word. We can't get through the sin without medicine. Sin causes inevitable wounds. The wounds will heal in time and with God's help (medicine). The scars are a good reminder of where we've been and what we should avoid in the future. I was eventually thankful that I experienced these bed bugs because God used this trial to shed some light.

After the first week of Bed Bug drama, I was able to enjoy my vacation. We went site seeing and truly experienced the Colorado beauty.

Rockies vs. Astros Game (Astros Won!)

Compassion International

Pikes Peak

USA Olympic Stadium

Praise the Lord for trials, for it is in them that we draw nearer to Him and are sanctified. Sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite...