As October approaches, thoughts drift to cooler weather, changing leaves, and Halloween. Oddly enough, when I was a kid, I liked the holiday for the candy, and that was about it. I put some thought into my costume, but didn't get super excited about it. As an adult, Halloween became a much bigger celebration. It was an excuse for a big party. And when I was single, I lived in the best party house. At some point, I will delve into more background on my old stomping grounds, but for this post I will start with a brief synopsis. (And I'd also like to give a tip of my hat to Lori at In Pursuit of Martha Points for inspiring this post. She will probably NOT be thankful for that acknowledgment.)
A.C. and B. H. (After College and Before Husband) I lived in a duplex with two awesome guy roommates. I'll call them Roommie S and Roommie B. They inherited the place from a friend, and when I moved in I learned that the owner didn't really want to be a landlord so the deal was that they didn't raise the rent, and we didn't complain about anything that was less dramatic than a wall caving in. It was a perfect singles place for parties. The building was a piece of crap, so it wasn't a big deal if beer got spilled or furniture got moved and marked the wall, and the rent was cheap - CHEAP - so we usually counted our blessings.
Sometimes though, we would complain about how awful it was, and friends would say it seemed fine. Roommie S would then give a perfect analogy regarding the state of our home: You know how you go to a bar, and it seems really cool. You open a tab, get drunk, forget your credit card, and the next day, you have to go back to get it. In the daylight. And then you see what it REALLY looks like. And it... is.... disgusting. That, my friends, describes our duplex to a tee.
I did my best to be a clean roommate. The guys were very tidy, I'll give them that, but cleaning was not their forte. When I moved in, I dusted the fireplace mantel and the dirt was so thick I said something about when it had last been cleaned. The boys looked at each other and said, "Uh, never?" BLECH! Even with my additional cleaning, the place was far from perfect, but it was good as it possibly could be under the circumstances.
What circumstances you ask? Well, because there were gaping holes at all intersections of the facets of the building - between the window panes and the walls, between the flooring and the walls, between the doors and the floors - we inevitably had.... infestations.
Every July it started with roly-polys. Aw, you say, roly-polys are cute! Yes, yes they are. Outside. In quantities of two or three. We would get dozens of them on the main floor. I would vacuum them up what seemed like every day, but was probably once a week. (I know, ew.) August came around and then the roly polys disappeared and the crickets joined in the fun. Much grosser - bigger and crunchier. Ew, EW. Then in September, we got spiders. I. Do. NOT. Like. Spiders. At all. I get the heeby-jeebies just talking about it. In the winter, we always had some silverfish and mice. (full body shivers!) Don't ya wanna come visit?
Why, you say, why WHY did you keep living there? For FIVE years? Did I mention it was cheap? And, well, to be honest, I drank a lot. And I was almost never home. I worked a lot of overtime, I played volleyball and softball and traveled and went out with friends. I really enjoyed my single years. And like I said, it was C-H-E-A-P. I wasn't making much money, and the money I was making? I wanted to spend on traveling. And booze.
So the day came when Roommie B got married and ditched us. A week after his wedding, I got engaged. So we decided it was time to say farewell to the ol' duplex. We had an annual Halloween party that, if I do say so myself KICKED BOOTIE. We went all out with costumes and themes and food and drinks, averaging 50 - 75 guests.
Roomie S and I were prepping for the last Halloween party. We were in the basement covering the walls and ceiling with black trash bags to help transform it from a dank, dreary, prison-grey dungeon into a rockin' dance floor with glow-in-the-dark paint/black light/strobe light/fog machine accoutrements. We were about halfway done with the ceiling when we heard something that sounded like a raindrop on the plastic. Then we heard another. And another. We looked up and saw tiny wormy-looking things dropping over the edge of the trash bags. WTH?
We went upstairs and (brace yourselves) the carpet was MOVING. It was covered with thousands and thousands of these little creatures. Some had even started to climb up the walls. OMG. Roomie S grabbed a flashlight and ran outside to see where they were coming from. His report was not good. The entire foundation was covered by them. I wanted to run screaming from the house, but all I could think was, we're going to have dozens of people here in less than 24 hours. What the hell do we do now?
Roommie S ran to the hardware store praying they wouldn't close before he got there. In the meantime, I vacuumed, and vacuumed, and vacuumed some more until I was satisfied not one of those little buggers was still inside the house. Roommie S came back with the news that they were millipedes and had some spray that supposedly would rid us of them. He sprayed the hell out of the foundation, and we went back to decorating and held our breath. Thankfully, there were no more millipedes that night.
I went to bed with nightmares of a crowded basement dance floor and people being crushed in the stampede to get out when bugs started dropping on them from the ceiling. We kept an eye out all the next day, but never again saw a millipede in the house. Talk about a truly creepy Halloween!