13 September 2013

The Moving Fiasco

We are renters. I've blogged about that. With renting comes the possibility that you could find yourself in a house that's for sale and you aren't buying it...which means you need to move. That's the place we currently find ourselves. No biggie. Go on Craig'sList and find a new place, right? Unfortunately, it isn't always that easy. Combine our family size (which, yes, we CHOSE) with the tight and expensive rental market in the Bay Area (and yes, we choose to live here) and you find affordable pickings rather slim.

We found a place back in early July. We were stoked. It was in our neighborhood and a nicer house than the one we currently live in though almost identical. It had a little more square footage and NO PINK CARPET. After some negotiation, we agreed on a tenancy start date of mid-August. We gave notice on our current place and go about the prep for moving in, offer to take care of some stuff at the new place to ease the stress of the owners, get their approval and appreciation...looking like a dream landlord/tenant match. Then one day...

For nearly a month, the house had been vacant except for our casual comings and goings to plan what would go where, the painter taking care of some stuff, a flooring guy repairing a problem, cleaners cleaning. Once all this was done, my husband started loading a few things into the place assisted by X.

X: Daddy, what is THIS????? (she points to her feet and lower legs)

Daddy (looking closely): Ummmmm... (examining his own feet and lower legs now, too)

X: How is dirt moving?

Daddy (looking skyward with a very pained expression, heaving a huge exhale): It isn't dirt. It's fleas.

The place was infested.

Some people are completely nonplussed by fleas, but neither of us were interested in taking on the beastly task of eradicating them or holding the population at bay or ANYTHING to do with living amongst fleas.

We did a lot of research on fleas and how to eliminate them from a house. We learned so much...life cycles, resistances, etc. What we determined is that the previous tenants had a cat (we saw the cat). The cat had fleas. When they moved out, they flea-bombed and vacuumed and shampooed the carpet. This got rid of the adult fleas, but the eggs hatched and the larvae pupated and the pupae were taking their sweet little 4 weeks to mature. They then felt the vibrations and heat of potential hosts when we started moving around in there. This triggered their emergence as adults, wherein we discovered them. Yay.

Getting rid of the adults isn't that difficult. There are ways to render the eggs no longer viable that aren't too invasive or time-consuming. But the pupae. Their little cases are like concrete. Eliminating these is next to impossible. You pretty much have to wait their 4-6 week maturation and then provide them with a host or they'll just hang out in a dormant, suspended state waiting for just that. Ugh.

And so began the communications that ultimately led to our legally terminating the lease, getting all of our money back and not moving in there. It wasn't fun, but we're counting our lucky stars that it went fairly easily.


We had given notice on our current place. We have negotiated an additional 2 weeks. What that means is: We now have one month from Sunday to find a place and move into it and completely vacate our current home. Just a leeetle bit stressful. Yes, the home ownership conversation has been opened. I'm not sure if we could make that happen by October 15th...and still not sure if we want to take on those different sorts of headaches. I guess, wish me some luck!

Hope all of you are enjoying peace and sanctuary in your homes! And no pests!


  1. By the end of this, you had my skin crawling. So gross. I hope you find something soon!

    1. The exterminator told my husband that it was the second worst case he'd seen in 20 years on the job. HIS skin was crawling it was so bad :( Gross is right. Thanks for the hope :)

  2. Ugh......

    Good luck finding a new place! Hopefully it all works out even better than you'd planned. That way maybe it'll be worth some of the extra stress.

  3. GROSS! Hope you find something that works out (and is pest-free!).

  4. Ack! That's revolting. We rent, too. It kills my real-estate attorney husband, but our location is so perfect and the rent so low we'd be crazy to buy. Our rent is less than most people's flood insurance.

  5. Ugh. We may be in that mess soon, and I'm not looking forward to the stress. I'm sending you all my best housing karma...

  6. Moving is SO stressful, especially in a market like the Bay Area. It sucks about the fleas, but at least you found out before you moved in *and* got your money back. I hope you find a new home soon!

  7. Oh wow, that is So stressful. I have moved 9 times but never in less than a month. You are going to find a great place, something amazing will open up, it's just going to be a wild ride til you get there. Just take deep breaths and buy yourself some tequila to sip when need be ;)

    The idea of all those fleas crawling around....creeping me out.

  8. Ugh oh lady I am so sorry!! Feel free to come here our house has been on sale for a few months. it is pretty much bug free and wubby picks up the rest lol ;)

  9. Not a nice position to be in but still better than fleas. All the best in your quest for a new home!

  10. OMG! That's a little nasty! :< Hope you find a comfortable bug-free place soon! Just keep looking! :)

  11. Great post! Cool! .. Thanks for posting!

  12. What is the latest on this?


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