What’s your breaking point?

I found mine.

We are in the midst of a kitchen remodel, so our house is filled with dust and the basement is now our primary living area. I work from home, so I basically never leave our basement. If you need me, you can find me underground, attempting to work and simultaneously comfort our sweet geriatric Big Doodle, who is very unsettled by all the traffic and noise in our house. Lil’ Frankfurter isn’t as emotionally invested, but barks about every two minutes, just to cover his bases.

There’s a lot of panting.

But one of the calming activities for our pack is our daily walk. Combine that with our usual afternoon session of TENNIS BALL MADNESS in the backyard, and you have a couple of pooches who just might be too tired to freak out at full-force. Or at least that’s the idea.

It’s autumn. The days are lovely. Walks are pleasant. Except … my fair city is in the midst of an oak mite infestation of epic proportions. These microscopic bugs drop from oaks and bite whatever they land on. You can’t see them, and they are immune to bug spray.

Every street in my neighborhood is lined with trees. Oak trees. Big, huge oak trees.

You can see where this is going.

I have oak mite bites all over my neck and décolletage. I know they are oak mite bites because my book club got real personal the other night and we all compared bites. Everyone has them, so I’m not a total leper.

However, as we have seen this summer, I tend to have crazy reactions to bug bites. Or, as my brother so aptly put it, “Ugh, you have a weird relationship with insects. Weird and potentially fraught with inflammation.”

Needless to say, my neck and lady décolletage aren’t just covered with oak mite bites, but with giant, welty bites that hurt. I must say that I’m pretty proud of how I fashioned what appears to be a scarf …

… but is actually a dishtowel wrapped around an ice pack. Because a) I was able to find a clean dishtowel amongst the kitchen remodel madness; and b) I finally bought a real ice pack for $2.69 instead of just using a bag of frozen peas. I have passed some sort of adulting milestone. Also? The ice pack can also be microwaved and become a heat pack. I had no idea such a thing existed! This technology is amazing!

So, I’ve been trying to keep it together, me and my neurotic dogs and painful oak mite bites and fashionable neck accessories and dust-filled house with no kitchen. I was pretty successful.

Then, my husband called me. He has to travel for business in about a week and wanted to know if I’d like to tag along. This was sweet of him, and is a perk of working from home. But leaving in the midst of a remodel and abandoning our neurotic dogs who can’t be boarded didn’t seem like a smart move. I pointed this out.

My darling husband considered for a moment and then said, “Oh. I forgot about the kitchen.”

I clutched my ice pack and surveyed my basement lair. He forgot. He forgot because he gets to leave every day. He forgot.

I got gracious because when there’s a homicide, they always investigate the spouse and I’m a bad liar. We both agreed it wasn’t a good time for both of us to be gone. Fine. We moved on and I only held the tiniest of grudges.

Later that night, I realized that at some point, some worker had removed the light fixture from the ceiling of our kitchen. The fixture that we were still going to use in the kitchen. It was nowhere to be found.

I had a bad feeling. I emailed the contractor, whom I like very much. His response was basically, “Hmm. Well, if you don’t see it laying around, it probably got thrown out. Were you going to use it somewhere?”

Yes. We were going to use it RIGHT WHERE IT WAS.

You wanna know what my breaking point is? My breaking point is when people remove my light fixture from the ceiling of my house and then throw it away. That is my breaking point.

And to add insult to injury? If you weren’t sure, you could have asked me. Because I never leave the house. Because I’m in the basement with a freaking-out dog and a freakin’ ice pack. Man up, look past the welts, and ASK. Ask before you remove pieces of my house and throw them away.

Words were said.

Thank God My Guy and I take turns freaking out, because he was calm and nonplussed. “I’m sure it was an honest mistake. We can get another fixture,” he soothed. Eventually, I believed him. But not before gaining some valuable self-awareness.

This. This is my breaking point. Good to know.

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  • Reply Andrea October 20, 2016 at 11:53 pm

    Would it help if you thought about all of the mite bites that guy was attacked by while possibly throwing out the fixture? (seriously though, who doesnt ask?)

  • Reply Cinny October 21, 2016 at 4:38 am

    I flashed on a vision of you herding your canine companions down a tree lined street … you were fashionably dressed in a full body hazardous waste containment suit. [Surely available in petite] Ta da! No bugs falling on you. Plus the contractor, plumber etc. are already there so building you the decontamination shower in the garage would be no problem and you could at least emerge from your basement without fear of the invisible critters. Holy buckets. Sorry you had to find out what your breaking point is. Hopefully nobody will push you there again ever.

  • Reply Becky October 21, 2016 at 12:59 pm


    The scarf however, is lovely. So you've got that. You may have missed your calling as a designer of fashionable bandages.

  • Reply Nance October 21, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    I am seething for you, and on all fronts. Please–find a boarding situation for your dogs and go on a Solo Jaunt.

    (He. Forgot. !!!!!)

    I mean…!

  • Reply Anonymous October 22, 2016 at 6:07 pm

    Congrats on the kitchen remodel….I have had mine on my to-do list for 3 years now, since we moved in, because I have beautiful country-blue countertops. I don't have lovely hunks missing outta them, though, so you have that up on me. I was going to take the plunge and had contractors scheduled to come in and quote me up, but then I was waylaid with a spidey bitey and now my new kitchen has become a giant hospital bill. I guess I'll live with blue counters for a few more years – you made it 5, that's a good benchmark 🙂

  • Reply Green Girl in Wisconsin October 23, 2016 at 1:50 am

    That is super rotten. Between the bug bites and the missing light on top of the usual chaos that occurs with a remodeling job, it's impressive that you didn't check into a hotel and toss him the house keys and the leashes. You are a good person.
    Hope those bites are healing. You do manage to make an ice pack wrap look pretty darn stylish.

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