Friday, November 06, 2009

Swarmed...and more Dengue in the family.

"I've gotten like thirty bites in the last two minutes! Something weird is going on." That's what Scott said as he re-applied mosquito repellent for about the fifth time today. I ignored him...well, not completely, I guess...I put on some more repellent, too (it was only my third application of the day). But I didn't really acknowledge what he was saying until a while later when I left my post in the kitchen to find the source of the click-click-click noise over on the couch. I turned the corner to see Callie totally immersed in some PBSkids.org game, Scott reading a book, and a SWARM of disease-ridden mosquitoes hovering over the lamp next to my two beloved family members.

Seriously. A swarm. And we hear nobody's ever had a problem with mosquitoes in this house before. Hmmm...apparently something is different this year. Maybe that's why at least 75% of the people I know in this town have had Dengue in the last month.

So I start swatting away at the swarm. I've learned that the easiest way to kill mosquitoes is to wait for them to get near a wall and then smack 'em. So that's what I did. Until the palm of my hand was red. Then I grabbed our new fly swatter and kept smacking away. Scott smacked with me until the wall above the lamp resembled a swath of fly paper in the Deep South. Nasty, nasty, nasty. I'm not sure whether we should clean the wall or leave it as evidence of the mosquito problems here. Maybe take a picture and then clean it? Then maybe post the photo on the wall.

Even with the killing field on the wall, the swarm still clouded the air above the lamp. I left Scott to his smacking and returned to the kitchen to finish making dinner. And guess where else there was a swarm of mosquitoes? Yes, my friends, in the kitchen. So I abandoned our chicken tacos and went back to smacking. And jumping, because some of them were pretty high up. And smacking. And jumping. Lemme tell you, my two inch vertical REALLY helped me reach all of those mosquitoes.

Once we'd killed most of the swarm, Scott moved Callie upstairs and blasted the previously-swarmed part of the family room with Raid to get any lingering pests. He also sprayed the bathroom since that dark, damp, warm spot seems to be a popular mosquito hangout. Let's just be clear: I am not a fan of pesticides. Not in any form. But, you know, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to protect yourself and your family, right?

Not that pesticides have helped...

Brynn has Dengue. She started to show signs late Sunday night and by Monday morning she was in full Dengue mode with a 102 degree fever. By Monday afternoon, it was up to 103.9 and settled around there until Thursday morning. She woke up feeling okay on Thursday and was more active than she probably should have been, but the inevitable relapse happened today and her fever went back up to the high 103s. Tonight, though, it has dropped and I think she'll feel pretty good this weekend. She's down to 99.1 at the moment. Typically, the worst of Dengue lasts for three or four days, then you feel okay for a day, then on day five or six it comes back with a vengance and then goes away. If her fever is high tomorrow, I will be surprised and worried and I will take her to the hospital. The NICE hospital, not the nasty one where I had to go.

The presence of mosquitoes and their Dengue in this house is extremely frustrating to me. I really thought that by this time in the season, we'd be out of Dengue mode. I haven't heard of many people coming down with it lately, but I knew in my gut that Brynn had it when I felt her forehead Monday morning.

Here's the challenge, though. How does one get rid of mosquitoes from a house with no walls? Well...the upstairs has no walls. It is open to the street on three sides with rattan-ish shades for privacy. But we don't seem to have a problem with mosquitoes upstairs. Downstairs we do have walls but no screen on the big french doors that we MUST keep open at all times in order to keep the house reasonably cool. And downstairs is where we always find mosquitoes.

Here's my solution: I'm planning to create a hanging screen kind of like this ingenious little number for that big french door opening. The problem is finding the materials here. Grrr. I have the screening material but the fabric store is out of velcro (what?!) and I can't find magnets here to save my stinkin' life. I need magnets to sew into the opening of the screen so that it will shut behind us when we come in and out. I might have to order those online and have our next visitor bring them down to us. (Our next visitor is pregnant so I'm extra anxious about getting rid of the mosquitoes.)

Here's my guess, though...by the time I finish making this screen, the mosquitoes will all be dead and Dengue just a distant memory. On the bright side, there's always next spring!

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