I ended up in Williamsburg with the family for a neat getaway, and stayed at a swanky resort. I requested top floor accommodations so that nobody would be stomping on my ceiling, a relatively common irritation. The hosts were happy to oblige, but failed to offer one important tidbit of information: our particular building had no elevator. So up we trudged, kitchen sink and all. As I was still fresh out of the operating room, I was not supposed to pick up anything heaver than a booger - but that did not stop most of the family from allowing me to carry nearly everything up …

The suite was quite nice, complete with hot tub in the master bath and outside balcony with a view. That did not stop the kids from complaining, though. You would think that with all the niceties they could at least ignore a horde of flying ants. Wait, what?! Apparently in the first thirty minutes they had fought valiently against an airborne army. And mostly won. I called the front desk to explain the situation and request assistance. The person on the other end of the phone asked “This is in the front guest room, right?” Why yes, it was - and that question told me that today’s was not the first battle fought in that room. Great.

A maintenance worker showed up ten minutes later with a big can of Black Flag. I asked whether using that can was his first and only plan. Of course it was, but hey - it was lemon scented so should not be that bad. I sent him packing - no way was I going to stuff any of my family into a room filled with a poisonous fog. Our options were clear:

  1. request a new suite, requiring us to move all over again in this sticky 85-degree weather
  2. demand a refund, again requiring us to move all over again in this sticky 85-degree weather
  3. fight and win the battle ourselves

We opted for the latter, and my wonderful wife concocted a very simple mixture of water and essential oils and gave me a spray bottle and a wink. I proceded to spray every corner/edge/seam of the windows in the affected room. The kids removed the remains from the previous battle. We filled and fired up a diffuser, just in case. And viola, the rest of the week went off without another flying ant to be seen. We met with some close friends from my time in the military. We swam in their pool, played with their cats, ate too much food, and enjoyed each other’s stories. It was good as usual, and as always it was over too quickly. But they sent me home with something to remember them by (more on this later).

Fast forward to the end of the week, when we drove from there to Kure Beach. Between the two, we enjoyed food on VA Beach and turtles at the Virginia Science Museum. We arrived at Kure beach just before midnight, and tip-toed into the rental house we were sharing with the six other family members who got there first and were already in bed. Again I carried more than I should. My wife unpacked and arranged our stuff and got the kids settled while I worked for a few hours. From midnight to 5am on a Sunday. In the bathroom, where I was being sick in two less than fun ways. Apparently what I left my friends’ house with was the GI bug their son was recovering from … yay me.

The next morning, we found out that my sis and her husband had trouble sleeping too - swatting at bugs while in their bed and eventually moving to the living room couches. Yay, more bugs. These were tiny little things that looked like moving pepper flakes. I tracked down several hundred of them and took up-close-and-personal pictures with my camera. Photo nerds call these macro shots - I know this because I am a photo nerd. After a whole lot of thinking, searching, photos, and googling, I determined that these were bird mites. Once I figured out that much, finding the source of the problem became simple. We left the fixing of the problem to the landlord, who was super awesome about the whole thing - refunding the full rental amount, promising a discount on our next trip, and coming and staying in person days later to ensure the problem was fixed correctly.

We left that day, not wanting to get bit any more, and stayed with my sis at her own house. That turned out to be a lot of fun for multiple reasons. I spent a few days working via wifi at a nearby coffee shop (the folks at the Hampstead location are fantastic). In my off hours, the kids and I chased down the cutest and tiniest frogs I’ve ever seen, and raced gokarts at a local fun park. While not what we signed up for, we had a good time. And no bugs.