Genma Speaks

Entrepreneur/ Writer/ Radio-Host

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Dinner and Fleas? How not to Entertain 101

I attend many social events in Nashville. My fundraising has evolved into a full-time love affair for the causes I support. And because of my passion, I get invites weekly to parties, events, fundraisers, and social gatherings galore. I am out and about often. I met a nice lady several weeks ago, who attended a fundraiser where I was honored for my work with young people. We talked briefly and promised to follow up with each other.

After exchanging several emails and phone calls, she invited me to a dinner party at her home. She seemed very sincere about helping others and she was aware that I speak often at environmental engagements around the country. She was also curious about the ecological products I use in my business. We shared common interests and had mutual clients.

I accepted her invitation to her party. Her home was in an exclusive neighborhood and I was guaranteed by another party lover that I would enjoy myself and make contacts that would be worth the forty minute drive to her home. Being the professional networker that I am, I could not wait for the big day.

At the party, I saw others I knew. Her home was exquisitely decorated and there were staff to attend to every whim of her guests. Salomon, caviar, smoked trout, and to my surprise, fried catfish nuggets, were just a few of the tempting tidbits that was so beautifully displayed on gigantic silver trays and platters. A bar was stationed in every room downstairs of the home. The décor was summery and southern, no detail spared. I sneaked off to the kitchen to introduce myself to the cater, to ensure I would have a goody bag of catfish to take home. After peeping in the kitchen, the caters were friends and I felt relieved that the food was being prepared by folks who I knew. (Part of my home training from Mississippi is to always know who is cooking the food.)

Thirty minutes into the party, I felt a sting on my leg. Immediately, my spidey senses were alarmed. After being in the pest control business for nearly two decades, I have been stung or bitten by every little creature on earth it seems. Bug repellent for outdoors, antibiotics, antidotes all go in my makeup before my lip gloss. Two minutes later, I felt the second, third, and fourth bites. I excused myself and rushed to the bathroom to give myself a once over. In the powder room, I was not alone. Another guest was intensely looking at her legs. I said, “Oh my, you too”. As we were inspecting ourselves, I pulled out an alcohol swab and started dabbing at a growing red bump. The other woman introduced herself quickly as Julie and said, “You are prepared”. I told her that I owned a pest control company. She knew who I was right away. I poured the contents of my purse out and I spent the next ten minutes doctoring on both of us.

We returned to the party and I noticed several other women were swatting at their legs. I went to the owner and asked if she had any pets. She said yes, several terriers and two chows that were put away. Her babies she informed me. I told her that I was bitten and she had fleas. She said, “I thought I got rid of them.” I stared back stunned, and asked about her treatment schedule. She had her home treated earlier in the week, she informed me. Now, I am pissed because I know she did not use my company and it takes at least two weeks to get fleas under control. The follow up is done in ten days, so she could not have had a follow up treatment. As I was talking to the hostess, we were interrupted by another guest who said she had been bitten by 'something'. The guest then turned to me and asked was I there to take care of the problem. What the hell? No, she didn’t. Yes, folks she asked me to kill the fleas.

I could not get out of there faster enough. I came home with my legs riddled with bites and I was insulted on two levels. I was invited to someone’s home who knew I owned a pest control company, who had conversed with me for several weeks to come to her party and had the audacity to use another pest control company. I have three in college, that job could have bought three text books and a coke. Second, I am at her party as a guest and I was asked to exterminate the pests. In my new BCBG dress, are you kidding me? Now if I had worn something older, sure.

And to add to my burning anger, I left my catfish! Damn. What a night.

After all the planning that was put into this event, the hostess forgot one of the most sacred tenets of entertaining, making sure your party is not remembered for the uninvited guests;ants, spiders, roaches or fleas. This tale of entertaining horror could have been prevented. If you are not using Holmes Pest Control; do not throw a summer extravaganza.

Photo Credits: Erik Johnson,ASAM, HPC


Cheri Paris Edwards said...

Love your wonderful description of the party leading into your encounter with the fleas. I didn't know that dogs could leave a trail of fleas capable of biting folks like that! Can't believe she tried to put you to work, but then again I can, with ladies swatting and scratching flea bites all around. How awful! Another confirmation of the well-worn life lesson that its often taking care of what is "less visible" that's most important. I think I would have to cook me some catfish though...

EMERGE said...

You tell em Genma.

I'm sorry about your bites, but I had to laugh.

Love your blog by the way...

one maestro said...

I am SCREAMING!!! You are hilarious, cousin! OK...I can't talk. I have a zoo (cats and know me), AND I live on an acre of land. I moved into a house, that had fleas, and it has been miserable. Can you hook me up with some products? Let me know the cost. I use Advantage, and it takes care the critters on the animals. I haven't had any bites on me, ever...this lady must have had it really bad!

carol said...

I'm feeling ya, Genma, regarding the fleas, bugs scenario! One summer night, when my children were younger, we went to a lake, near our home, to watch a Monday night movie. Sitting on our blanket, on the grass, was cozy and comfortable, but we were not prepared for what laid ahead of us. We had carried fleas home with us, and they were imbedded in the carpet in the family room!!!! I had to purchase some flea bombs to get rid of them, but before they went bye, bye, they nearly ate us alive, and drove us crazy!! The hostess would have had happier guests had she burned citronella candles in her outdoor areas. They're excellent for getting rid of mosquitos, too!

Good for you for leaving, and not being treated like the hired help! Some things never change! Next time, before you get mad and storm out, get the food!

Muzikal203 said...

Oh that is not good at all. How can she be LIVING in that house and not know she STILL has fleas?

Justice58 said...


Dang, the fleas really bit you up. How awful! I'm sorry about your bites. The itching must be maddening.

For crying out loud....How can someone have a dinner party and know they have fleas? Geez!

Daña said...

what a story. Your description of the party scene (pre-flea bites)is exquisite and gives no hint of the troubles to come. The bites look awful, and the insults must've hurt. So rattled as to forget your catfish?!? unspeakable.

(chuckling at imagining the moment you remembered that you forgot)

(aka MadCityWomon)

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