Tuesday, September 04, 2007

A Night to Remember

I have very recently completed moving into my new home.  For at least the next school year I will be living in a house off-campus with some of my former floormates.  We all spent the past weekend getting settled in, and on Saturday night I had my first night in the house.  We aren’t in the worst of neighborhoods, but there are better.  Our house is over 100 years old, and while we love the charm that provides, some aspects of the age are not as charming.  However, after painting most of the walls, getting new carpet in the living room and a new floor in the kitchen, and moving our furniture and trinkets into the rooms, the house is really quite cute.  It is going to be a nice home to go to after a long day at school (and I will have some very long 14 hour days this semester).  But let me tell you about my first night in the house.

I had spent the better part of the day there, unpacking, putting things away, rearranging furniture to find the best possible feng-shui.  So that night I was tired.  I turned my bedroom lamp off at 10:30 and I was so exhausted I assumed I would be out cold in a matter of minutes.  Not so.  My room in front-facing, so since this was a Saturday night things got rowdy outside.  For the first hour or so it was just cars driving by with loud music.  Being unaccustomed to the noise, I was unable to tune it out.  I had a fan running in the window to pull in some cool air and make some white noise, but my fan turned out to be nearly silent.  So I was tossing and turning and then a large group of noisy partiers settled into the park across the street for some good old-fashioned rabble rousing.  They sounded like they were having a great time, and I didn’t begrudge them that at all, but I was really tired.  There wasn’t really much I could do besides close my window, though, and that was not going to happen.  It would have been impossible to breathe if I had the window closed - it was that stuffy.  (Remember, we’re upstairs in a 100+ year-old house at the end of a hot summer).  So I lay there doing my best to ignore the noise and go to sleep when all of a sudden I felt something move under my pillow.  Not a desirable event.  I gingerly lifted my pillow to stare into the startled eyes of a little gray mouse!!  In my bed!!  My housemates are glad that I am not by nature a screamer.  I gasp instead, but that’s quiet enough that it didn’t disturb them (who were slumbering peacefully through the noise in the park, too).  In my fiercest whisper I ordered the mouse to “Go away!”  And he did.  Great.  Now I don’t know where he is and I panic a little at every creak and rustle.  I imagine scenarios in which I wake up in the morning to find all my clothes chewed to shreds, my computer cord frayed, and my little enemy fat with his victory.  Did I mention it is 1 a.m.?  Two and a half hours after going to bed, I am still hoping to go to sleep sometime in the future, although at this point, with the adrenaline that is coursing through my veins, I honestly believe it could be years before sleep is a possibility.  So as I lay there paranoid, striving to hear the mouse-noises over the people-noises, something else disturbs my non-peace.  Gunshots!  In the park across the street!  I know what a car backfiring sounds like; I know what a firecracker sounds like; this was not those.  Ten or fifteen shots were fired in quick succession followed by terrified screams and the sound of people running.  At this point I gave in, put on my glasses so that I could see more than a foot away, and sat on the edge of my bed peering out the window.  People were squeezing into cars and driving off as fast as possible, begging their friends not to leave them behind.  It was only a matter of minutes before three police cars showed up complete with flashing lights and search beams.  They drove into the park and searched for half an hour before giving up, having found nothing I presume.  The morning paper also said nothing of the event.
Really the only part of that whole unsettling hour that made me fear for my personal safety was the mouse, though.  I figured that as long as I stayed in my house I would be safe, but that mouse had been in my bed.  He had invaded my one sanctuary.  Old houses get mice; I understand that.  I don’t really even have a problem with a lone mouse hanging out in the walls or the duct work of the house either, so long as there is no reproducing and no dying.  I don’t want more and more mice or a rotting stench.  But in my bed was crossing the line, so mouse traps have been purchased.  I intend to set them tonight when I go home and check them daily from here on out. 
Other than that first night, though, I have loved being in my house.  Everything is set up so nicely now, and there is so much room.  I hope I never go back to living in a dorm room after this!

Posted by Emily MacLeod on 09/04 at 09:30 AM

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