It is a moment many a pet owner has had, and it’s never good. You look at your pet, and you think you see something moving.

And you move some fur and you look closer and you realize: It’s a flea. Your pet has fleas. Oh god, there are FLEAS IN THIS HOUSE! AAAAAAAAAAAH!

That was me this morning right after I woke up. I leaned over to pet Chaplin, and when I ran my hand up the back of his head, out crawled a big, nasty flea.

I’d seen something on him yesterday but couldn’t conclusively identify it, and decided to ignore it out of wishful thinking. However, having looked at pictures online, I knew this second one would be the start of a very long day.

I have to say this: God bless L.A. and its mobile everything. By 9:30, the groomers had picked up Chaplin and whisked him away for a flea bath.

Certainly not the cheapest solution, but money well spent in my opinion, since it allowed me to keep my blood on the inside of my body. I don’t think that would have been possible had I tried to give him a bath.

But the real pain in the ass was the washing. When you find fleas, you have to wash…everything! Every blanket, every pillow, every single thing that might possibly harbor eggs that you can cram in a washing machine, you cram.

The problem with this is that the washer is downstairs. I’m still on the pegleg, so going down stairs is a painful hassle, involving taking stairs one at a time while clinging to the railing with whatever free hands I can muster.

I can’t carry anything heavy while trying this and it’s hard enough to carry anything unwieldy with two good legs, so it was damn near impossible with one. I did five loads of laundry and I thought my shin was going to disintigrate.

But I got it done, and I vacuumed the couch and the mattress and his carpeted scratching post to get any last little whatevers out of there. I also went online and ordered up some Frontline.

Chaplin came back from the groomers smelling like Mountain Fresh Tide, and substantially whiter in the white portions of his fur than he did when he left. I’m still not sure they didn’t actually bathe him in detergent instead of flea-bath.

So now I’m left, in a substantially cleaner yet still somehow dirtier-feeling house, paranoiacally looking at every wee movement I catch out of the corner of my eye, praying it’s not another flea.

Because I am not washing all this shit again, I can tell you that much.

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