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bedbugs don't make for a very happy birthday, even when they're only in your imagination

My birthday was on Monday, but instead of waking up to breakfast in bed, I woke up to another day of dealing with bedbugs.

I had spent the previous day with box of black garbage bags and a day's wages in quarters, transporting clothes from the bedrooms to the laundromat in an endless procession of shame and disgust. I had no idea what the week ahead would bring, but I had a feeling my birthday dinner was going to be spent climbing over the contents of my eviscerated closets.

I had only been dealing with bedbugs for 48 hours, but that was long enough to feel the familiar heaviness of life-gone-awry threatening to pull me under like a sinking ship.

The last time I felt like that was the Christmas I watched my dog struggle with lymphoma while I was waiting for my own biopsy results. And yes, the thought of having bedbugs this past weekend seemed almost as bad.

I would tell myself I was being crazy, that it wasn’t that big of a deal, that I would live through it, that there were so m…

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