When I moved into my house last July, I didn’t know it had foundation problems. But when I put the box spring, which happened to be on wheels, into the bedroom it slid to the other side of the room.
The cart in my kitchen upon which I put my coffee pot and a mug rack is held in place by no slip pads and I’ve adjusted to overcompensating for how crooked everything hangs on the walls.
There was one night in the summer when arriving home from a first date with a very nice boy, I had a swarm of centipede-esque bugs covering my porch and like a maniac I grabbed a bottle of Raid and drenched the entire porch. I kept screaming, “Die Bugs, Die!”
He never called me again.
The first week I lived by myself in Syracuse, my friend Brian informed me that he and his roomate Sarah had checked their windows to make sure they were too high for any robbers/rapists to break in. This is the first year I’ve ever lived by myself. My one-bedroom, first floor apartment windows began at my waist.
I slept at friends’ houses a lot last summer.
Every Thursday night in the fall I had my best friends over for Wine Night. A group of four grew to 12 or so and one night my friend Liz was sitting on my couch and she started screaming. A spider had crawled from behind the pillows. The next week we had wine night at her apartment.
In late September it started to get really cold in Syracuse. My heat went out when I was going to review my first show for Green Room Reviews. I learned how to make a hot toddy that weekend.
When I arrived home from Thanksgiving break, I had an army of ants marching from my kitchen to my living room. I showered my apartment in bug killer and bought ant poison.
I stopped screaming about bugs and started keeping my apartment cleaner.
After Christmas I found a mouse in apartment, which the man I was dating tried to kill with a baseball bat one night. After a debate about humanitarian ways to kill a mouse, I used an old-fashioned wire spring, cheese bait mousetrap. For several weeks I couldn’t figure out why so many loud birds hung around my front yard.
It finally snowed a little in February. I couldn’t see any of the trash in the lawns around my house, everything was covered up. Everything was beautiful. And the sky was bluer on days when there was snow.
I will have spent 7 full days on a train this semester. It’s five solid hours between Syracuse and New York City. But losing a week to work at the magazine and see high-caliber shows has been worth it. Every time I come back to Syracuse, there’s nothing like crawling into my own bed.
The most unwelcome visitor this year was a flock of black/green mushrooms that sprouted at the baseboard in my living room wall. When it began to peek out from behind my bookcase, I pulled my furniture away from the wall. The organism shriveled up as the light and oxygen killed it, leaving a black film on my things.
I’ve spent most of this year in a depression I’ve blamed on the weather. Last year, my mantra was “Shed it and be better.” I think I forgot you lose a part of yourself when you leave things behind.
The crooked house is a reminder that things will never be perfect. But I’ve learned how to cope. All you can do is clean everything up and move forward – often blindly.
I’m not afraid of very much anymore.
Well, except rats.