So I’m about to tell you a story so scary, so awful, so terrible, it’s going to make your blood run cold. That’s right folks I’m about to tell you the horror of home ownership. So, here we go. In the middle of September, as I was cleaning, I noticed droppings. I’ve seen these droppings before. It happened when we first moved into this house. We had mice. OK, I think to myself, not going to panic. Sure, I don’t have any money, but I’ll find a way. So I call my exterminator. I like this lady because she’s a woman and she’s a small business owner. I try to support female-run small business as much as humanly possible. She has dealt with my house before so she comes lays down bait and traps for the mice then says to me you know you got carpenter ants in the basement. I’m going to spray. OK, great she comes back a few days later and sprays the crap out of it. Perfect, I think. Not so much a week after one of those really hot September Thursdays, I come home. I’m dying of thirst so I decide I’ll make a picture of ice tea. I go to reach into the tea cabinet. I opened it up I see the scariest thing I’ve ever seen: a wall of black ants. I start screaming. I reach for some spray I had and I just start spraying the shit out of it screaming and throwing things out. My girl and 3b are standing there looking at me like I’m insane. 3B says it’s no big deal, just ants. I tell him to fuck off. I spray like I’m blowtorching something and call my exterminator. I tell her you got to come back you got a spray these friggin things. They’re all over. She comes back, lays down some industrial bait, we all cross our fingers and hope for the best. So far I haven’t seen any. I’m pretty sure the mice are still living in my house but eventually, they’ll get hungry eat the poison and hopefully die a painful horrible ugly death. I did try some natural remedies the ants snorted the peppermint like it was cocaine and laughed at me.
This brings me to two weeks after that. Now we’re going on six weeks of terrible things happening in my house. I get up one Sunday morning.
I am not only on time but I am early. I got to blow dry my hair. I was flat ironing. Then, from the bathroom, I hear a blood-curdling scream. Now let me preface this. My daughter screams that everything. She screams at bugs in her room. She screams at moths. She screams if her laundry is not done. She screams if her socks don’t match. She screams horrible, deafening, up your spine kind of screams. I have learned to not answer right away because chances are she’ll either figure it out herself or she’ll just keep screaming.
“What now?!” I yell into her
“You need to get in here.”
At first, think maybe she has begun her lady days and is terrified but when I got to the shower I realize it was worse than that. It was broken. The faucet part of my shower fell off and water was squirting everywhere tiles were coming off the wall it was an Armageddon of tile! My girl does what she does best; panic and scream. I turn the water off. I tell her to knock it off. It is 6:30 in the morning. The people next door have a baby and you’re gonna wake the neighborhood up. She starts to rant and rave about how unfair it is that she can’t take a shower. Here’s the kicker. She was going to her father’s where she has her own bathroom at 9 o’clock that morning. I don’t know why she needed to take a shower but she felt as though she did and now it was broken. She carried on and on until I threatened her to a sponge bath with steel wool. She stopped. I freak out for a few days and even try to put on a rubber pet hose to the broken spout. It backfires and the leak goes to behind the tile and leaks down into my kitchen. So much for DYI. I finally have to say, UNCLE and call in a bath company that will repair the leak and put up a new, tight, leak proof, no grout bathtub and shower walls. Good bye tile and hello new shower and around five grand. Did I mention that I am broke ass broke. Scary right. Fuck horror movies, fuck zombies, this is scarier than any sewer clown with bad teeth. I want Stephen King to write about my house and its bad plumbing and how much it cost. Fuck you Pennywise and your sewer.
Monday they came to install the shower. I had to work so my sister (Mary Sally Jr.) was going to sit and oversee the project. They finish on time and she calls me at work.
MSJR: Well, they are done. How long has the kitchen sink been broken?
Me: Dunno, a year.
She lets all the air out of her lungs with a long, sad sigh.
MSJR: How do you get hot water?
Me: I use the pliers to turn the hot water on.
MSJR: I was going to help you and clean your house. It is dirty and smells like dog.
I will give it to her; it took a lot of restraint to wait until the end of the day to tell me I am a bad housekeeper. In all honesty, since the mouse/ant/shower/no money thing, I shut down and could barely function. I got the bare minimum done each day but really I wanted to just sit in my chair and stare into space.
Fast forward to yesterday (Wednesday).
Tuesday of this week I enjoyed showering in my house and not running across the street to 3b’s apartment every morning to shower. MSJR and I take Capri out for her birthday lunch and tea and treats. We have a great time and my baby great nephew was perfect the whole time. That night, me and my girl go to El Presidente and the First Lady of Albany Poets house and have an amazing stew and some laughs. Wednesday morning rolls around and I have my usual morning call to my sister.
We are having a conversation about pretty much nothing where out of the blue she says this,
MSJR: You know what you need?
This always makes me nervous.
Me: Jesus Christ, what?
MSJR: A good degreaser.
How else would this saga of house horrors end? Again, it took her two whole days to find a way to work it into the conversation. She didn’t kick me when I was down and she loaned me the money to pay for the bathroom so I really do have to take this. I told her I had to go and spent the next six hours cleaning my neglected house.
A side note
Halloween is the anniversary of my mother’s passing. Yes, she died on Halloween. It will be six years since she died and as much as she drove me crazy, I miss her. On Tuesday, in her memory, play the lottery, have three or seven Bailey’s and coffees, write a bad check, cheat in cards, or yell “I was going to say that” after you get the answer wrong in Jeopardy.