Our warm weather has returned, and so have the ants. They march into my home in single-file lines and circle the drains, eager for water. I dream up new ways to annihilate them while I lie in the tub, eyeing them as warily as alien invaders. Go away!

Other creepy-crawlies roam our corridors as well. They sleep in our beds. They suck our blood. I hope for fleas yet fear they are bed bugs. No matter what they’re called, they’re biting us raw. Necks and arms are covered in puffy red mounds that itch and prickle and drive us all to distraction. Go away!

Today I laundered every bit of the kids’ bedding. I vacuumed. I scrubbed. I even researched bed bugs. Good grief. Do not look up images of bed bug bites on the world-wide web unless you have a glass of wine in hand! Bed bug removal instructions direct me to take apart all the bed frames in my house and discard them. (Um…no!) I read that if that is not an option, then I should place the legs of the bed frames in containers of oil. Seriously? Little bugs…Go away!

A few years back we had a lice epidemic. One day I bathed all the kids, de-loused their hair, brushed all their teeth, put them in cute pajamasbathed the dog, brushed her hair and teeth, and even managed to wash all the linens in the house and remake all the beds.

At last I took a break, lying down on my freshly laundered sheets. Before I knew it, all of the kids, even the dog Cassidy Clover, crawled into bed with me. There we huddled under the warm linens, snug as peas in a pod.

From my cozy spot I yelled downstairs, “Grab the camera and come up and take a picture of us!” Damon had just walked in the front door, and I wanted this happy moment captured on film.

While we waited for Damon to arrive the kids and I laughed and played ‘bear cubs’ under the covers. I tickled my long-john wearing bunch, marveling that we were all clean and warm, well-fed and lice-free.

Then I felt the wetness. I heard the gasps. I jumped up and flipped back the covers. Cassidy Clover had peed all over.

Soon, wet pj’s and sheets littered the floor. Half naked, pee-covered children shivered and cried. Boys yelled at the dog and girls wailed at the boys for yelling at the dog. I stomped about removing still-warm-from-the-dryer-clothing now bound right back to laundry-ville, cursing all the while.

Just then my perpetually cheerful husband walked into the bedroom with the camera. Without missing a beat, he said, “OK, everyone smile and say cheese!”

Please, dear family, just Go Away!

Even with the lure of freshly laundered linens, my boys wouldn’t dream of playing ‘bear cub’ with me anymore. Soon my oldest son will be off to college or the unemployment lines. Then I’ll probably want him and the whole gang back.Kids are like that.They’re dirty and foul and itchy and in need of such constant laundering that you want them to just go away…until they actually do. And then you want them back. Bugs and all.

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