June 6, 2012 by MM
Welcome to Amsterdam, Marcy! Our way of saying hello is to bite you in your sleep on three separate nights.
Yes. I have bedbugs.
Ever since a couple years ago when I heard about the grody bedbug problems New York City was having, I’ve been unreasonably paranoid about them. (Even though I lived in LA, not New York, and they’re much less of a problem on the west coast.) I wouldn’t even sit on the upholstered metro seats because I didn’t want to pick them up.
But when I moved to Amsterdam, I let my guard down, because I might have had some other things on my mind, like, OH, I don’t know, having nonstop rehearsals and shows for my new job, finding my way around, shopping for necessities and things for my room like sheets and a new rug.
I think it’s that last thing that might have screwed me.
Remember when I went to IKEA and got sheets? I also got a rug that day; a nice white shag rug that really pulled my room together and looked way better than the scratchy, thin green carpet that came with the upstairs here. I loved it. I got a new duvet cover, too, and I finally had my nice, white set of sheets. I was finally starting to feel at home.
Until vermin started feasting on my blood while I innocently slept!
So, I think bedbugs might have come in on that rug. I don’t know for sure, but when I bought it, it was all rolled up in plastic, and when I unrolled it, what I thought was a dead, squished fly fell out. “Gross,” I thought, “how did a dead fly get in here? Oh well.”
Since the bitings, I did some research, including on this site about bedbugs, and learned what to look for. I found two pieces of evidence on my trundle bed mattress (also from IKEA, for the record): what I think is a shed bedbug skin, and what I believe to be a small amount of bedbug poop. Then I found another, more distinct and harder-to-deny exoskeleton on the rug. I just don’t know if they hopped from the rug to the trundle bed, then up to my bed and my body, or if they were living in the trundle to begin with, and one fell out on the rug when I was checking the trundle.
Either way, every fabric-y surface is contaminated as far as I’m concerned. I’ve already done three loads of laundry, washing all the bedding, bed pads, mattress covers, comforters, etc. in hot water. It’s more difficult because I had two extra comforters in my room that old roommates gave me, plus two mattresses’ worth of everything because of the trundle bed. And our washing machine takes 2 hours; I kid you not. So it takes forever to do just one load. At least we have a washer and dryer.
Today I have my second day off in the entire 3 weeks that I’ve been here. And I don’t have another one for at least another week. I had been looking forward to doing some exploring, writing, reading, maybe watching a movie or going to a museum, dorking around with the header and background images on this blog… but now I’m going to be spending the day doing more laundry and walking down to some municipal building where I’m supposed to report the problem in person and make an appointment for an exterminator. I hope they come fast, and I hope they’re cheap. And most importantly, I hope they kill these JERK bugs.
I’m sure the bugs have the best of intentions, but where I’m from, gnawing on a person in their sleep is no way to extend hospitality.