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What Works


Elbow grease

In my online search for flea killing and excavating solutions, I found just about everything.  I found people who’d salted their carpets to dehydrate the little monsters to death.  I found recommendations for different flea collars and pills for the cat and dog.  I found the community of pet owners besieged with these demons and offering advice is bigger than I would have imagined, and, after trying numerous cures with varying degrees of failure, I found that sometimes this mother does know best.  At least when it comes to conquering fleas.

Early my war, I stumbled onto a flea forum wherein a debate over natural vs. nuclear solutions had raged for several years.  I had been bombing and cleaning and laundering for a few days already, so my preference leaned toward any idea that involved a quick, painful, poison-filled death for the vermin.  While mine was not the prevailing sentiment on the forum, one post stood out not only because of the poster’s willingness to experiment with any carcinogenic flea solution, but because his query had, in less than 100 words, evolved into a complaint.  

The rant was an exclamation-filled diatribe decrying any natural or ‘hippie’ solution as the poster prayed that someone knew of an effective solution for fleas.  If a post could sound like a whine, this one did.  I knew it because it was a sound I had indulged in a few times over the last few days as I fantasized about a magic cure. 

But like anything in life, there was no magic.  Ultimately, there’s been experimentation and cleaning and vacuuming.  Every surface of our house has been vacuumed and dusted and mopped and then vacuumed again.

We don’t live in filth, but our house has long been an homage to clutter, so daily cleaning (as opposed to the pre-company preparation our house sees once every month or so) has been a big change in my routine.  It’s also been incredibly effective – as evidenced by the now-empty DIY flea traps I’ve set around the house – and it’s made me think about a response I would give to that angry post if I had energy or desire to confront anything but flying dust specks. 

I wouldn’t have the hippie solution.  I’d have the mom solution – probably the one my mom would have suggested.  It’s the stop-whining-buy-a-case-of-vacuum-bags-and suck-it-up (literally and figuratively)-until-the job-is-done solution. That’s the kind of advice I would have once received when faced with a  bedroom to clean or a mountain of homework to do, and it still works.  Score one more point for Mom.