Sleep tight…don’t let the bedbugs bite

Published 10:28 am Wednesday, October 7, 2015

I gazed at my watch and found the hands both pointed to 12. Midnight … and we were still rolling down the highway in search of the motel that my frugal brother found in his Internet search for an affordable place to lay our heads. We were both thankful to be on the last evening of our journey.

My tired body had been longing for a comfy bed for at least the last 100 miles. Something in my little brother’s voice should have alerted me, but so far our accommodations had been excellent. I had no reason to fear this evening’s choice would be lacking so I overlooked the slight concern in Max’s voice when he said, “I hope our room will be all right.”

“I’m sure it will be just fine, Max. I’m just ready to get there,” I answered with a yawn.

My tired eyes must be playing tricks on me; surely Max wouldn’t have booked this place, I thought, as the dingy, ill-kept motel came into view. Trying to stay positive, I attempted a somewhat feeble joke about the lovely landscaping as my feet stumbled over broken pavement.

Max retrieved our room key and we rolled our luggage into that night’s less-than-regal resting place. Much to my chagrin, an overwhelming smell of mildew assaulted my nostrils as the door cracked open. My eyes swept across the room — taking note of the cheap thin bedspreads’ attempt at concealing the lumpy mattresses.

An ugly shade of yellow covered the walls while white plaster peeked out intermittently from previous damage. It’s all about the attitude, I reminded myself.

“I’ve slept in a place worse than this, Max,” I chuckled. “It’s just for one night. You should have seen the room Glen R. and I stayed in when he insisted we didn’t need a reservation for a weekend at Gulf Shores, Alabama. That was a joke!”

My attempt to make the best of things served me well until I sat on the edge of my bed and an insidious thought crept into my consciousness. Bedbugs!

In an all out assault on the previously mentioned stench of mildew we had turned the air conditioner wide open. Its roar was of little consequence if the smell would dissipate. With this in mind I made the decision to sleep in sweat pants and a long sleeved sleep shirt so the evil creatures would have less to munch on in the night.

A fitful sleep engulfed me quickly as it was well past my usual bedtime. All through the night my dreams were disturbed as I flinched and clawed at the little critters munching on my exposed skin. Dawn finally broke, and I hopped from my bed in escape from the tortures of the night.

While showering and getting ready for the day I searched for telltale signs of the biting bugs. In astonishment I discovered none. While my brother slept peacefully I had itched all night with just the thought of bedbugs. I guess this proves the old adage true, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but gets you nowhere!”

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at