Old houses and bugs

We spent ten days with my parents in their 200-year-old farmhouse before being able to move into our home. The house is where my dad grew up (originally I wrote ‘and where my grandparents lived’ but it’s obvious my dad lived there with his parents so that was a bit redundant.). I grew up in a house across the fields and creek from this house but when I was in college my parents moved in with my grandmother to help take care of her. I also lived there during college (when I came home on the weekends). 


Since the house is very old, it comes with what old houses come with – creaking steps and pipes that squeal at night, sometimes drafty windows and . . . bugs. When I lived there it was spiders that appeared and freaked me out, but during this visit, the creatures leaving my kids and me on edge were ladybugs, ants, and cockroaches that fell from the ceiling (which I never remember having an issue with when I lived there with my parents. Thank God!). The ladybugs swarmed my son’s room on the first night and on one of our last nights there a cockroach fell on his shoulder in the middle of the night. 

We discovered the ladybugs swarming in my son’s room, right before we laid down for the night. My son sprayed Raid and then hung out in my room to give time for the ladybugs to disperse. The only problem was that an hour later when he went back to check on the status of the Raid smell he discovered tiny little Ladybug carcasses all over his bed and the floor. He spent that night in the room that used to be mine with his sister and me, too tired to vacuum up their bodies.

The room that used to be mine has two twin beds that are slightly less younger than the house. The beds were used by my aunts, one of which was 87 when she passed away last year, the other who is 86 and still feisty as ever. I pushed the beds together so one of us wouldn’t fall off the tiny twin mattresses in the middle of the night. That night I had one 13-year old boy, a 5-year old girl and a 3-year-old cat curled up in the bed with me and amazingly I slept well.

On the night when the cockroach crisis occurred my daughter and I had switched rooms, moving into my late aunt’s room. My husband slept with the cat, who had to be locked in a room because my mom is allergic to cats. The door in my old room locked better than the doors to the other rooms and I have to get up and pee at night more than my husband does. I didn’t want to be chasing the cat around the house at 3 a.m. if she escaped while I went for my latest pee-pee trip.

My son ran into the room my daughter and I were in about 1 a.m. shuddering and telling me a cockroach had just fallen on him and “it was looking at me with its beady little eyes!” I told him to sleep with us but wasn’t sure if we would all fit in the full-sized bed my aunt used to sleep in. Somehow we managed to do it but the tight fit might explain why my neck hurt for the next several days after that.

One thing I’ve wondered since these bug incidents is if my son simply attracts insects. He seemed to have more interaction with the insects than any of us during our stay there and they followed him around the house as if he was the Pied Piper or the Bug Whisperer. 

I”m just hoping none of those bugs followed him to the new house.


Seven Days and Counting

If everything goes as planned, the next seven days will be our final days living in this house. The moving truck has been booked and most of the house has been packed up. The animals are on high alert; they know something is up.

Despite the craziness going on in the world around us, we’ve been told the sale of our house and the purchase of the other one can be finalized on Friday of next week.

My mind had been preoccupied with worries of a virus and empty shelves so much in the last two weeks that it was only this week that I started to say to myself “This will be one of the last times we draw on this sidewalk,” or “This is one of the last times we will watch a show together in this house,” or “This is one of the last times I’ll wave at that particular neighbor from across the street.”

Much like the news these days, it’s all a bit surreal for us right now.

My daughter played in the water that always settles in that one place in our driveway after the rain one day last week and I thought “This is one of the last times she will ever jump in that puddle in our driveway.” Then I remembered that soon it won’t even be “our driveway.”

My son rode his bike toward me and as I looked through the photos I thought “this is one of the last times he’ll ride his bike down that street.”

There are a lot of memories in this house; first cries, first steps, first lost teeth. There are ghosts too — a kitty in the corner that’s no longer there; a puppy on the end of the bed whose also no longer there. We owned four cats and two dogs (not all at the same time) while living in this house and three of those cats and one of those dogs are now gone.

We’ve lost a lot of relatives in the last 16 years we’ve lived here — grandparents, a special aunt, aunts and uncles. We’ve lost friendships and some innocence. With all that we lost we gained a lot too. We gained wisdom, appreciation of what we had, and a stronger bond with God and between ourselves.

I’m nervous about this move. I won’t lie. I’m nervous about doing it when the world is upside down around us.

But part of me is excited too.

There are new memories to be made, more experiences to be had, and maybe even a few new beginnings too.