You're doing it wrong!

I remember hearing somewhere that in a certain state an EMT/Medic isn't allowed to call a time of death on a person who's head is laying less than five feet away from him.

Let me make sure I've made myself clear by posing this hypothetical.... You roll up on the scene, and your patient is decapitated. The head is laying two feet away from the body. If you were in this particular state of the Union you must now start CPR and call for med control.

(a quick sidenote... why am I thinking I heard this from Steve Barry? It was definitely a speaker at our last CEU conference...)

That mental image stuck with me for some reason...

So tonight Mr. EpiJunky sends me an email with the following picture attached:

And then he wonders (appropriately enough) why I'm giggling like a schoolgirl....

Photo of the Day...

Orlando, FL (2001, EpiJunky)

Sometimes Mom is Right. 5 Of My Very Worst Ideas

5 Of My Very Worst Ideas

This post is dedicated to my Mom, who reminds me on a daily basis that “she does indeed know what she’s talking about” and that “maybe I should listen to her on occasion.”

Contrary to popular belief, not every decision I make is a good one (I know, I can hardly believe it myself). Presented below for your reading pleasure are my five favorite worst ideas.

5. “Honey, I think we should get another cat!”

My mom told me this was a bad idea from the start. We already had one cat, and she was enough trouble as it was. (Twix the cat had an eating disorder. Nothing worse than a cat who binges and purges.) Pseudo Dad had an extra kitty he couldn’t take care of… and he was SOOO cute. And I’m a sucker for a cute kitty. Besides, my logic was what would the chances of having TWO cats with emotional issues? As it turns out Bentley, that cute ball of black and white fur, liked to leave piles of crap everywhere. EVERYWHERE. In my shoe, back in the hidden corners of closets, basically everywhere but in his very clean litter box. To add insult to injury Twix decided to start eating Bentley’s food in addition to her own, resulting in even more cat vomit. It was a nightmare. We will NEVER get another cat. Mom was right.

4. “Of course I can handle my own checkbook”

I do not have a good track record with my finances. It’s not something I’m proud of, and I’m working on it to this day. My mom made it very clear that I should not be in possession of ANY check book or debit card until I can get my spending habit under control. I was doing so well. I really was. Then last December I forgot to enter a check into the register and ended up bouncing NINE checks as a result. Most of them for small purchases under ten dollars. Each bounced check cost me $42.00. Mom was right yet again.

3. “But Mom, EVERYONE is joining a sorority!”

Let me start by saying that joining a sorority in itself is not a bad idea. Joining a sorority when you’re stupid and immature and moving away to college is a bad idea. I partied a ridiculous amount and blew off school and was in general a complete idiot.
Mom was right.

2. “I’m moving to Colorado.”

Once again, this was not something I absolutely regret. (That seems to be a theme in this post, isn’t it?) I was young and in love with Air Force Academy Cadet Boy. I loved every second I spent in Colorado Springs. But I wasn’t ready to live clear across the country from my friends and family. If I had to do it all over again I would have waited.

1. “I want to go to Medic School in Ann Arbor.”

I do not regret going to Medic School. I regret going to Medic School in Ann Arbor. The drive was close to an hour each way, and with all of the clinicals involved… Well, I can’t even imagine what I spent in fuel alone. Had I just waited and gone to a more local school I’d be done by now. And I’d have two thousand dollars spent on gas in my pocket.

Okay, so now that I’ve bared my soul to you all, you might be asking what I’ve learned from my
favorite mistakes. I’ve learned that I’m a very emotional person, and I make a lot of decisions
based on that emotion as opposed to mature, logical thought. I’ve known for awhile that I need to work on that, and I am.

Most importantly I’ve learned that sometimes my Mom is actually right. More often than not she is in fact. She has my best interests at heart, and I know that.

So this post is for you, Mom. You were right. And I was serious when I said that I’d have a t shirt printed that said the same. Okay, so I haven't bought it yet, but I will eventually :)

The Face Behind The Blog Meme

What photograph shows you in a light we don’t often see through your blog?

Fort Jackson, SC 1996 (I'm the one on the left)

EEEEEK! That's right, friends and neighbors, yours truly was a soldier. This picture was the ultimate in rebellion as far as we were concerned. It's amazing what one considers "rebelling" when one is in Basic Training... Notice the head covers askew and the fact that one of us actually posessed a camera while in basic.

Drill Sergent Marshall would have had our asses if she had seen us in such a state :)

Photo of the Day...

In Memory of Reznor ("Rez")
(1999, EpiJunky)

Photo of the Day...

University of Michigan - Law Library
(July 1997, Epijunky)

A glimpse into Mr. Epi...

He just came to me and asked what *exactly* a Heart Attack was.

I proceeded to explain (quickly, as his attention span rivals my two year olds) arteries and veins and the importance of oxygenated blood making it to the heart muscle... He asked me the "medical term" for a heart attack.... I replied "myocardial infarction"... He got a serious case of the giggles.

"In-FART" He said.

All I can do is shake my head.

And yes, I've been married to him for damn near ten years.

Photo of the Day...

Due to a nasty headache...

No photo of the day today. I feel a migraine coming on... Maybe I need to head to the ER for some of that... Dil-laudy stuff... I have an allergy to Tylenol and Motrin, you know.

Photo of the Day...

(EpiJunky 2007)

I rock. :)

Well, AD did it, so it must be somewhat cool :)
What Action Hero Would I be???

Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with
You scored as Lara Croft

A thrill-seeking, slightly unscrupulous, tough-as-nails archaeologist, Lara Croft travels the world in search of ancient relics perhaps better left hidden. She packs two Colt .45s and has no fear of jumping off buildings, exploring creepy tombs, or taking on evil meglomaniacs bent on world domination.

Lara Croft


Captain Jack Sparrow




William Wallace


Indiana Jones


Batman, the Dark Knight


The Amazing Spider-Man


The Terminator


James Bond, Agent 007


Neo, the "One"


El Zorro


Photo of the Day...

One of many things I'm thankful for...

Baby Boy (2003, EpiJunky)

Happy Thanksgiving...

We have so much to be thankful for...

Photo of the Day...

Since I'm busy waiting to see if I won that Nintendo Wii on ebay... I present you with a guest photographer for today's Photo of the Day... Future Cardiologist.

He took this with a little keychain digital camera and I promised him I'd put it up on my blog. (2006, Future Cardiologist)

Post Script.... I won the Wii. Don't ask me what I spent.

Photo of the Day...

Pseudo Dad's Wedding (2007, EpiJunky)

Photo of the Day...

Curious... (2006, Epijunky)

Photo of the Day...

Kings Island, 2007 (EpiJunky)

Photo of the Day...

Race For the Cure (September, 2005 -- EpiJunky)

More thoughts on Megan...

Blogging is a funny thing... I'm not sure of any other place where you can post your thoughts and instantly send them out for the entire world to read with such ease.

Yesterday I posted about Megan Meier. I was emotional when I posted it. In hindsight I should have cooled off a little before hitting the enter button. I never dreamed that anything I wrote would be posted on In the last day I've gone from 35 regular-ish readers to... well... a lot. And it scares the hell out of me. It reminds me that we as bloggers need to be responsible with what we post.

In the last 24 hours I've given it a little more thought. Here's what I've come up with.

I'm still angry as hell.

I still believe the adults behind these horrible actions should be made public.

I do not now, nor have I ever believed that there should be any retributory action taken by anyone towards the Drew's -- If there's something to be done, let the local law enforcement handle it. (I did use the word "shun" in my previous post... I stand by that.)

Don't be stupid, people. No one needs to beat anyone. Seriously. Let the law and karma handle things.

Picture of The Day

I remember the day we closed on our first home. Mr Epi and myself were absolutely giddy. Our first home. Our piece of the American Dream. After living in apartments and duplexes for what felt like an eternity, we were finally going to have our house.

Dream Interrupted (2007, EpiJunky)
Pardon the blurring, we were going close to 80mph at the time I took this.

It was three or four years ago that I first noticed this house on the way up to Ann Arbor. In the following years I think I must have passed it at least a few hundred times. I always wondered why it sat unfinished. What could have happened to keep what was obviously planned to be someone’s American’s Dream from being completed.

Justice for Megan Meier

(I was a little emotional while writing this, but it's something I feel pretty strongly about.
The link to the official newspaper story is at the end.)

Megan Meier was a 13-year-old girl. She loved things that a 13-year-old girl should love, she loved music, and boys, and myspace.

She wasn't without problems, but what 13-year-old girl is? She was being treated for depression, she had recently ended a friendship with a friend from down the street, and she was trying to lose weight.

Things were looking up, however. Her braces were coming off very soon, she had managed to lose 20 pounds. She had even met a boy, on myspace.

Her mother did monitor her Myspace usage, and the messages.

What happens next in this story is enough to make me physically ill.

Megan logs into Myspace to find that the boy she liked, Josh, had started to send her some hurtful messages. The hurtful messages turned into some horrible vile things said to her and directed at her through posts in blogs, bulletins, and personal messages. He was sharing her messages to him with others, it appeared. Megan was frantic. In one message Josh sent her, he told her the world would be a better place without her.

Soon after, Megan hung herself in her closet, just before her 14th birthday.

Tragic, right?

Josh...the boy...Wasn't a boy. Josh wasn't even a real person. "Josh" was created by THE MOTHER of the friend Megan had the falling out with.

This crazy sick BITCH created this boy, found Megan on Myspace, and led her to believe that he liked her. That he thought she was pretty. Once she had Megan hooked, she pulled the rug out from under her.

This "Mother" (if you can even call her that -- she barely qualifies as a person) knew Megan. She knew Megan had problems with depression. Megan had gone on vacations with this family. The two families were close. After Megan died (before her parents found out about the other families involvement) her parents stored a Christmas gift for the other family in their garage. They attended the other little girls birthday party.... I don't know how this mother could have even looked at them in the face given what she did.

The newspaper in her home town wont release the name of the parent who did this (WITH her daughter's knowledge and participation as well, keep in mind) because they want to protect the daughter.

Screw that. Her name is Lori Drew. LORI DREW. She's an evil bitch and deserves to be outed. According to the newspaper there's no law broken, or rather no law exists to prosecute this woman. At the very least she should be publicly outed and shunned.

Read the story here.
And CNN's story

Photo of the Day...

Ice Storm, 2004 (EpiJunky)

This was an ice storm that literally shut down a quarter of the state. And it happened on Christmas Eve. Parts of Newark, OH (where this was taken) went without power and/or phone service for WEEKS. Our typical three hour drive home took us five hours. The only beauty that could be found in this situation took place in scenes like this. The ice, with the sun setting behind it, was gorgeous.


I found this through Detail Medic (and she found it through Monkey Girl)

Healthcare Disfunction in Cleveland ER's

Click on the link. I've watched it three times and it gets better each time.

A good piece, I wish some of the local stations here would air something like this.

(Voice Over) "What's your emergency?"

(Random 911 callers)
"I keep peeing -- It's like I have to stay on the toilet..."
"I just can't sleep"
"I have a cold..."
"I have a boil in my armpit"

I absolutely LOVE the tone the reporter takes with some of Cleveland's finest ER patients. Priceless.

Reporter: "Is that the cut right there?" (camera zooms in on... i'm not sure what it is, a scar or a cut not visible to the naked eye)
Patient: "I was afraid it would become life threatening"
Reporter: "I didn't realize a little cut like that could become life threatening"

and my personal favorite...

(The voiceover tells us that this female had already been waiting ten hours in the ER to be seen for a bladder infection--keep in mind she got herself to the ER on her own)
Patient: "I was really an urgent patient and was being forced to wait. I didn't want to wait any longer, I wanted to be seen."
(Voice Over: So she headed home and called 911)
Reporter: "You're at a hospital, and you go home to get an ambulance to come back to the same hospital you've been at for ten hours."
Patient: (Smiling) "For ten hours."
Reporter: "Isn't this abuse of the EMS system?" (BINGO! WE HAVE A WINNER!)
Patient: "I think if you're feeling that bad and you're really in that much pain and you have a way of being seen faster... take that ride"
(Voice Over: Her strategy failed, She spent another six hours in the waiting room.)

What really just blows my mind is that these people see absolutely nothing wrong with what they're doing. It never ceases to amaze me.

Let me rant for just a second... (please pardon the liberal use of caps and exclamation points)


JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE NOT BEING SEEN QUICKLY ENOUGH IN THE ER DOES NOT MEAN YOU SHOULD GO HOME AND CALL FOR A FLIPPIN AMBULANCE! Chances are the nurses are just going to sit your dumb ass in the waiting room while they treat the people are *pauses for dramatic effect* ARE ACTUALLY HAVING EMERGENCIES!!!!

Emergency Rooms are for.... EMERGENCIES!!!!! Holy cow what a concept.

Photo of the Day...

I'm having a bit of a dry spell as far as EMS posts go (lack of working an actual EMS job will do that to you)... So in an effort to put something up here more than once a week, I present you with the Photo of the Day.

I have two passions in my life, working EMS and photography. It's too bad I haven't figured out a way to combine them, I'm working on that still :) Both of them give me the same sort of adrenaline rush (er... epi rush?). Both of them can be highly stressful. Sure, no one's going to die if I mess up at a wedding (well, someone *could* die... ME! If you've ever dealt with a Bride freaking out on her wedding day you'll agree), but the stress is still there. Getting through a tough job or run, with a positive happy ending from either job brings the same kind of exhilaration.

So without further ado... My first Photo of the Day...

Veteran's Memorial Skyway Bridge
Toledo, OH (Epijunky)

Flight Meme...

What I know about aircraft could fit into a very tiny thimble. With room to spare.

I love things that go *ZOOOOOOM*, so here are my top five aircraft choices, for sentimental reasons only.

5) T-3 (T-67) Firefly. A training aircraft that was used up until the late 90's for the USAF and the Air Force Academy. This was a tough choice for me, because the T-3 was responsible for 6 deaths (three cadets, three instructors) at the AFA. The reason I decided to include it was the feeling of euphoria it provided to a very good friend of mine. He worked his ass off for three years to earn the privilege of climbing in that seat. I remember him stressing over everything from his eyesight to his sitting height. I remember the countless hours he spent pouring over manuals and text books... But mostly I remember the sound of his voice when he'd call me after a flight. Joyous. It still brings a smile to my face.

4) Boeing 757. On September 11th 2002, I had to climb onto an airplane for the first time since the tragedy in New York, Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon. I was traveling with my husband and young son to "The Happiest Place On Earth" for a little R and R with the Mother In Law. I cried for a majority of the two hour flight there. I was terrified. The Boeing 757 was the plane we were flying on. It got me to Tampa, and back to Detroit in one piece relatively unscathed (I'm pretty sure I was drunk by the time I got back to Detroit -- Wish I would have realized I could buy alcohol on the plane for the flight down... Would have been much easier on me :)) Anyway, kudos to the Boeing 757.

3) C-130 Hercules. When I lived in Mansfield our house was about a quarter mile from the end of the runway for the Air National Guard Base (Yes, friends and neighbors, it's a good idea to really investigate your new home when moving to an area you're not familiar with, but that's another blog entirely!). The majority of the aircraft at this base were C130's. I used to LOVE watching them come in to land. I'll never forget the first day I realized where our house was in relation to the flight path... I was driving up the road and a GIGANTIC shadow was moving across the road ahead of me. Scared the hell out of me.

2) ANY Lifeflight helicopter. Seriously. I dont know if I'll EVER get tired of watching the "bird" land or take off. I did a buddy flight last year and it was the most amazing five minutes of my life. Lifeflight in Toledo has two models, the Agusta A109 and the Dauphin.

1) The A-10 Warthog/Thunderbolt. How can you not love this ugly thang? :) It's ugly as hell and it packs a ridiculous punch. It's extremely maneuverable, and it was designed for close air support of ground troops. I wouldn't want to get in it's way, that's for sure :)

All Gave Some...

Some Gave All.

Traveling Wall display, July 2004

Justice for Keith...

Robert Jobe, 15, was convicted Friday night of murder in the February slaying of Toledo police Detective Keith Dressel.

The decision was announced shortly after 11:15 p.m. in the courtroom of Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Charles Doneghy.


It's not the chair, which I believe the little fucker truly deserves...

The line upToledo Police Department Mounted Patrol
She Who Rules managing to *not* deface our flag.

The Hearse. His wife was riding in there and managed to wave to me and She Who Rules. I couldn't begin to imagine what she was going through.

The procession itself contained thousands of police cars from all over the country. It took over two hours to pass us by.

They said it stretched for miles.
I believe it did.

Rest In Peace, Lt. Dressel. Your work here is done.

I don't know if any of you have ever heard a "Last Call" done for a fallen public servant... It was the part of the funeral that really ripped my heart out. It's also the first thirty seconds of the tribute video below. I didn't make it, but it still brings tears to my eyes.

I don't know if it's justice. It's not for me to decide. I just hope it helps his wife and child.

My Uncle...

My Uncle is running for City Council, a pretty tough race for a Republican in a Democratic city...

He's winning by almost 10% with 86% of precincts reporting.


How to Get Rid Of Fleas

How to Get Rid of Fleas. What works, what doesn’t.

First of all… Are you sure they’re fleas? If you are, grab a beer and skip the next two paragraphs.

If you’re not sure, you are not alone. I struggled with this at first; I had NEVER seen a flea, and most image searches online bring up something that looks like this monstrous brown creature with hind legs that rival a member of the German Women’s Shot Put team. Pretty freakish looking, isn’t she? Unfortunately to the naked eye, the images that come up look NOTHING like a flea. If you don’t have any bites on yourself, or you have bites but don’t have any pets, you may not even realize you have them until the problem is out of control.

My son started getting some weird bites on his legs this past summer. They looked very much like mosquito bites, but they itched FAR worse, and unfortunately, they weren’t healing like mosquito bites do. I took him to three different pediatricians, an allergist and a dermatologist. ALL of them diagnosed him as having a hypersensitivity to mosquito bites. None of the other members of the house had as much as a spot on them. Yes, we had a cat, but she was strictly an INDOOR cat. We went from doctor to doctor getting the same diagnosis. Meanwhile my seven year old son was absolutely miserable. I felt like a horrible parent.

If I had only known we had fleas. I tell you all this because I feel it’s important to be informed.

Just because one member of the family has bites and the rest don’t does not mean you don’t have fleas.

Just because you have an indoor pet who NEVER gets out does not mean you don’t have fleas.

Just because you don’t have a pet does not mean you don’t have fleas.

The easiest way to confirm the presence of fleas is to do a light trap. Take some dinner plates (it helps if the plate is white, but it’s not necessary) and place them throughout the house. Put some water in them, maybe a half inch if you can. Place a tea light or other candle on the plate. Put a few drops of dish soap in the water to break the water tension. Light the candle, and turn down the lights. I know this should go without saying, but don’t put the traps anywhere near something flammable. You could also put them under a nightlight if it makes you feel safer. Check the plates in the morning. Do you have what looks like black specks floating in them? If they’re wingless, they’re probably fleas. I use these every night for several nights after attempting a treatment.

So what does a flea look like? Think of a flake of course black pepper, that’s there one second and gone the next and that pretty much hits the nail on the head. They are small (1/16 of an inch up to 1/8 of an inch), wingless, dark brown to black in color, and laterally compressed (they look flat from side to side). This was the strangest thing to me about their appearance. When they’re upright, they literally look like a flake of pepper. When lying on their side (dead fleas, YAY!) they appear much larger, you can even make out their back jumping legs.

If you’ve determined that you do indeed have fleas, read on. If you’ve ruled out fleas but want to see how miserable they can make you, read on.

I should probably insert a little disclaimer here. I’m not a professional. Everything I’ve learned about fleas I’ve learned through personal experience (the last couple of months) or through the internet. If you try something I wrote about and you end up blowing up your house or something, don’t sue me. Read all directions completely, things like turning off your pilot lights isn’t a step you should choose to ignore. Then again, hey, if your house blows up at least the flea problem is over with. No guarantees here, your mileage may vary.

Ridding yourself of fleas is serious business that requires commitment. It requires vigilance. It requires time. Please don’t be like me. Don’t waste time on quick fixes. Quick fixes like foggers and bombers don’t work when used alone. Flea powders and sprays don’t work when used alone. (I’ll go into why shortly.)

I’m speaking from experience here. I’m deadly serious.

To understand why the quick fixes don’t work (at least not on their own), you have to understand the life cycle of a flea. I’ll try to break it down and not dwell too long on it, because basically it bores the hell out of me.

Fleas have four stages to their life cycle. Egg, Larva, Pupa, and Adult.

Egg: The eggs are not sticky, and they usually fall off of the animal/bed/human/etc into the carpet, bedding, floorboards, and soil. When the flea egg hatches varies -- anywhere from two days to several months, depending on environmental conditions. These little bastards rank right up there with cockroaches; they’ll survive a nuclear blast. The one thing that will take care of the eggs is a chemical with an IGR (Insect Growth Regulator). IGR’s prevent Eggs, Larva, and Pupa from developing into Adults.

Larva: About ¼ inch long, and white. They actively move. They eat the feces of adult fleas (mostly dried blood, yuuuum), within a few days to a few weeks they spin a cocoon and become Pupa.

Pupa: This is the last stage before they turn into blood sucking adults. They can stay in their nice comfy warm cocoon for as short as a few days up to *gulp* a year. (Even longer if you believe what some say.)

Adults: The easiest stage to kill. Bombs work wonders on this stage (Unfortunately, this is the ONLY stage bombs, sprays and foggers work on). Adults feed off of their blood hosts (Spot the Dog, Princess the Kitty, and any random human unfortunate enough to be in the presence of them). Once they get their blood meal they can lay up to fifty eggs a day.

Think of it this way, every day that you don’t attack these things the problem gets worse. It’s not going to just go away… So what do you do? What don’t you do?

Get prepared.

Get out your trusty old vacuum. Get prepared to spend a lot of time together. Buy extra vacuum bags. You don’t have carpeting and thus, no vacuum? Borrow one. I’m serious; you’re going to need a vacuum cleaner and extra bags.

  1. Buy garbage bags. A lot of them. When I finally got serious about my flea issue I bought three boxes with 40 bags each. A little overkill, but hey, it’s not like you wont use them eventually, right?
  2. Buy a ton of extra laundry detergent. You are going to be doing a LOT of laundry.
  3. Get out the mop, bucket, your floor cleaner of choice, some rags, paper towels, glass cleaner, and other assorted cleaning supplies. Your house may have fleas in it right now, but it’s about to become as clean as it’s EVER been.
  4. If you’d like to go a more non toxic route, go to a nursery (of the plant variety vs. where the babies are) and buy the biggest bag of Diatomaceous Earth (the food type, not the stuff for your pool filter) that you can find. I went to Lowe’s and got a bag for $7.00. Some folks suggest Borax, which I used to a smaller degree, but I had better luck with the Diatomaceous Earth. Instructions for DE are down near the bottom of this post. It’s also possible to give your cat a non-toxic flea dip using household items, but I have to warn you, when I did this my cat got so angry she bit through my thumb nail, splitting it open. It wasn’t pretty. I’ll post the directions after the info about DE down below.
  5. Get out the yellow pages; find a local exterminator who sells Precor. Precor is specifically for killing fleas and contains an IGR that works for seven months. The exterminator I found sold us a bottle of Precor, an insecticide, and a sprayer for 40 bucks. You can find it cheaper online. Considerably cheaper. One 1 ounce bottle of Precor will treat 1500 square feet. Get enough to treat your house and then some. Make sure if you buy your Precor online that you also purchase or borrow an insecticide sprayer.
  6. Buy some tea lights and an extra bottle of dish detergent. This sounds insane, but I promise you, you’ll thank me later.
  7. Buy a package of bug bombs, the type that fog. They’re not all the same. Some require you to turn off your pilot lights, and they are very clear on this. READ THE PACKAGING. I know this is difficult for some, but you don’t want these foggers to turn into napalm. It doesn’t matter how bad the fleas are. We used Raid blue cans and Hot Shot blue cans.
  8. Buy a six pack of Bud Light. Buy a case if your flea problem is particularly bad.

Things NOT to do:

  1. Do not get rid of the kitty or the dog and believe this will take care of the flea problem. On top of being a little cruel, once you remove the pet, the fleas don’t have anything else to bite but you. Or your wife/husband, or your children.
  2. Do not set off a few flea bombs and assume your flea problems will be over. Particularly if you or a member of your family is getting bitten.
  3. Do not spray and assume that the fleas will just die. Regardless of what the can says.
  4. Do not vacuum and leave the bag in the vacuum cleaner in the house. Fleas will find a way to get out. Trust me on this. Take the frickin’ vacuum cleaner outside and dispose of the bag properly. Burn it. Or at least put it directly into a garbage bag (aren’t you glad you bought extra?) that you tie tightly and then put into another garbage bag that you tie tightly. Leave that bag outside. Or just burn it. If your vacuum bags are particularly expensive, get some gallon sized Ziploc bags, take the vacuum cleaner outside, and put the bag into a Ziploc bag. Put the Ziploc bag into the freezer. Rinse and repeat.
The Process

This is what I did. I had a pretty hefty infestation AND a seven year old who was . (Pardon the language.) being tortured by these little fuckers. I also had a semi-cluttered house. Not dirty, just cluttered. So take all that into account.

Unless you live in a McMansion or a seriously cluttered or just dirty home, a majority of the following can be done in one day.

First things first, get any pets and kids out of the house (Take the pets to the vet to get a flea treatment if you plan on keeping them, or surrender them to the Humane Society if you can’t or are too emotionally fried from the whole experience). I know it sounds cruel, but this is war. Then buy everything in the list I posted earlier.

You must give your house the cleaning of its life. A spotless GLEAMING house from floor to ceiling is a good start.

Take down any fabric window coverings and put them into a garbage bag. Pick up any clothing, stuffed animals, fabric covered toys, pillows, bedding etc. Stuff them into garbage bags, tie them tightly. You might have to make some sacrifices in this department. I have two children and an UNGODLY amount of stuffed animals, most of which the kids don’t particularly care about. Some of which cannot be washed. My rule when going through this was to be heartless. If it hadn’t been touched in two months it got pitched. If it couldn’t be washed, it got pitched. If I couldn’t guarantee that there were no fleas in it, it got pitched. I pitched a basket with probably a thousand crayons and markers in it just because it sat on a table where the cat liked to lounge. I tossed a bunch of couch pillows, some old bedding – I was brutal. I figured if I threw it out I didn’t have to clean it.

If you plan on keeping your pet (I’m sorry if this sounds heartless, I know how a pet is a member of the family), make sure you bag up all of the bedding for the pet. I would suggest pitching any litter boxes (they’re cheap, go buy another one) as well as any opened food and litter.

Once we decluttered, we dusted every surface we could. All of the places that get neglected from time to time, like the back of your entertainment center, the top of your TV, your windowsills… Then we broom swept the entire house. After we broom swept we vacuumed. We ran that Hoover over EVERYTHING. We got all of the cracks and crevices, all of the floor boards, all of the furniture, the mattresses, under cushions, in the zipper pulls on anything that’s upholstered. We pulled the stove and fridge away from the walls and cleaned behind them. We hoover’d all of the intake vents, particularly the one for the fridge. You’d be shocked where fleas can lay eggs.

An often forgotten spot to vacuum and spray would be your car. While you’re cleaning have a helper drive your car to the local carwash and give it the vacuum of its life. When you get it back to your house, give it a good spray down with the Precor mixture. Leave the windows up, and get back to the house, you have a lot of work to do.

Any clothes in your house that you can do without wearing for the next couple of days go into garbage bags that you then tie VERY tightly. Store these bags in a garage. Or some out of the way place. While you are cleaning (and this is VERY important. Get a change of clothes for you and ever member of the family, and run them through the washer on the hottest setting you can. Dry them on the hottest setting the dryer has. When they’re done put them directly into a garbage bag and tie it tightly. You’re going to have a lot of garbage bags around with clothing in them, mark this one in some way so you know your clean (flea free) clothes are in them. Maybe just throw them in the car.

I know that no one enjoys vacuuming, but think of this as sucking up thousands of flea eggs. Instant death. When you’re convinced you’ve vacuumed every surface in your house that could hide a flea egg, take the vacuum cleaner outside and remove the bag. Burn it preferably, but at the very least take that vacuum cleaner outside and dispose of the bag. Put the vacuum bag into a garbage bag and tie it. Then put that garbage bag into a trashcan far away from your house. I actually double bagged it. Can’t be too safe J Or at the very least take it outside, remove the bag, stuff it into a Ziploc bag, make sure you don’t have any live fleas on you, put the Ziploc bag into a freezer.

Now, get ready to spray.

Be prepared to be out of the house for awhile, they told us 4-6 hours. If I would have had the extra money at this point I would have just booked a hotel. Make sure that all pets are long gone, birds are particularly vulnerable to some of these chemicals. If you have fish, pay close attention to the instructions on the fogger boxes. If you’re following my advice, you’ll be spraying the Precor on ever surface in the house, and as you’re leaving, you’ll be setting off flea bombs to kill any adults.

Spray as much of your house as you can. Pay close attention to upholstered furniture, under cushions, window sills, all of your molding on the floor, all of those little cracks and crevices. Also, pay particularly close attention to your pets living areas… Those places your pet frequents. I also sprayed all of the carpeting in my one carpeted room, all of the mattresses in the house… I would have bathed my house in this stuff if I could have.

I understand that some people think that bombing on top of this is overkill, but I had a kid who was suffering. I was willing to do anything up to and including burning my house down. If you’re planning on bombing/fogging, make sure that any opened food (like fruit sitting out) is covered. I just threw mine out, I didn’t want to take any chances. Leave all of your drawers and cabinets open. Read the directions on the back of that fogger/bomber and follow them to the letter. Make sure you have enough to cover your entire house. Lay some newspaper down under each bomb. Set them off, and run like hell out of your house.

Say goodbye to the little bastards. You might even wave while you’re pulling away from your house. Or be like me and give them the finger.

At this point you need to go somewhere (I went to my mom’s house) shower and change your clothes. What you have on could possibly have fleas on it. As soon as you change your clothes, put them directly into a garbage bag, tie it tightly, or if you’re fortunate to be somewhere with a washer and dryer, just toss them into the laundry on the hottest setting available. Aren’t you glad I told you to pack a change of clothes?

After 4-6 hours (we waited five and were fine), go back home. The foggers leave a little bit of a lingering smell, open your windows to air it out. The Precor leaves no scent. Clean up the fogger/bomber mess (basically the cans and the newspaper). Crack open a beer and relax for a bit. If you still have it in you, go ahead and so some more vacuuming and sweeping. If you had even a moderate flea issue there’s bound to be a ton of dead fleas everywhere.

If you come across a few live fleas, DON’T PANIC! We were told by the exterminators that sold us the Precor that seeing some minor activity would be normal for 7-10 days. We didn’t see any for a few days, but after three or four we would see a flea a day for another week. I set out light traps every night but never caught more than a flea a night. Considering the fact that I found close to twenty fleas one night in one trap, I wasn’t completely freaking out.

If you find yourself freaking out, and you are confident that you saturated your home including those hiding places I talked about, you might consider reapplying the Precor in a few days.

Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
I wasn’t completely freaking out, so I chose to go a more environmentally friendly route. Here is where the diatomaceous earth (DE) or the borax comes into play. But I’m warning you, it may be cheaper, it may be non toxic, but it’s messy. Here’s another warning, DE is the consistency of baby powder and is irritating to the lungs. They suggest that you wear a mask when laying down DE. I didn’t use it, and had no problems with it, but once again, your milage may vary. Better to be safe, wear the mask.

Find yourself a yogurt container, or some other container that you can poke holes into the bottom of. Put the DE in it and sprinkle it over the floors. I had wood floors and it was an amazing mess. Put it under cushions in your furniture, sprinkle it on your sills, throw some behind your fridge and stove, basically, act like a child and make a phenomenal mess with it. If you have wood floors like I do, pay close attention to the cracks, crevices and molding of your floor. Use a broom and really work it into those spaces. If you have carpeting, use the broom to work it down into the carpet fibers. Be prepared to be covered in the stuff for awhile. Depending on who you believe you leave it down for anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks. I left it down the first time (Before I tried the Precor plus foggers) for three days. After getting sick of being covered in dust I HAD to sweep it up. You’ll be amazed what you sweep up after a few days of leaving this stuff down. Countless fleas. Dead dead dead.

Unfortunately when used on its own (without the Precor) this stuff didn’t completely do the trick for me. Maybe it’s because I didn’t leave it down long enough, maybe because it doesn’t work on eggs. I’m not sure, either way, I definitely put a dent in the activity in my house, but didn’t completely take care of the problem. The cons include the mess it makes, and the fact that it dries out EVERYTHING it touches. My daughter’s hair (She’s two) had to be washed twice a day, and it made our skin pretty dry. But it *DID* work to a point. Maybe if I had carpeting and it hadn’t been so noticeable it would have worked better for us.

Non-Toxic flea bath for your pet.

The quickest, easiest, and cheapest way to get rid of fleas on your pet is to give them a bath, then move them immediately to a non-flea infested area. Preferably far far away. This can be extremely difficult if you have a cat with claws who hates water.

I found an easier solution to the bath issue with my cat (after losing a thumbnail to a nasty bite she gave me) by doing the following. Get the cat into the bathroom. This can be difficult enough if your cat has been bathed before and hated it.

Cats apparently have VERY long memories.

Once you have your pet trapped in the bathroom, get out some Dawn blue dish detergent. Draw a ring around their neck to prevent the little bastards from traveling to higher ground. At this point wrap them in the biggest beach towel you can find… This way you are protected at the very least from any claws. It also makes them infinitely easier to control. There’s NOTHING worse than being trapped in a small bathroom with a soaking wet cat covered in soap who has turned into a rabid wolverine.

Douse the towel in dish soap and submerge your pet up to their neck in the water. This will no doubt piss your pet off to no end. You need to keep them submerged for a few minutes… If they can handle five minutes, you’re golden. Five minutes is an eternity when you’re doing this, pass the time by imagining the screams of fleas as they drown. Whistle a happy tune. (I know, I’m sick.)

Once a few minutes have passed, start to wash the soap out. The good news is you’ll see some dead fleas floating, and believe it or not your pet will be considerably more happy. Get a comb out that you don’t mind sacrificing to the cause and comb your pet. If you see fleas on the comb, dunk it in the soapy water. I did this once a week (I was afraid the stress was going to kill my cat or I would have done it more.)

It’s not fun, but if you have a pet who is sensitive to flea treatments, or you want to go a more environmental route, this is the way to go.

Well, that’s it. That’s all the advice I have. Having fleas is a nightmare, but you can get through it. You can even get through it without hiring an expensive exterminator. YOU CAN DO IT! Be vigilant, be brutal, and be persistent. Hang in there, and feel free to ask me anything, I’ll get back to you quickly, I promise.