Making Peace With Basement Living (AKA Spiders)(AKA Killing Them ALL)

Dear Reader,

This year, I have the privilege of living in a lovely basement apartment. It’s part of a house that belongs to a good friend’s parents. That’s right – I’ve graduated from several years of not living in my own parent’s basement and progressed to living in someone else’s. But that’s okay. It’s affordable, it’s super convenient, and most of all, it’s so goddamn cute. I had free rein to paint, clean, and re-decorate as necessary, which is good because before me, aforementioned friend’s abuela lived here down for many years. After she died, the place was randomly inhabited by kids and relatives, but nobody put any work into it and the collection of family stuff over the years had grown mountainous.

My friend and I spent a solid two days packing away old pictures and school assignments, throwing things away, and cleaning. After she left, I spent four more days, painting every paintable surface, deep cleaning, and stacking abuela’s old books into storage (and pausing regularly to read them – I could tell I would have liked abuela simply by her book collection. Every Gabriella Garcia Marquez book ever written, in original Spanish). Abuela also had left much of her old furniture – at first, I wasn’t sure what to do with it, as it’s very old and very heavy. But, characteristic of furniture made in the pre-Ikea era, it is beautiful and sturdy and actually looks quite nice when it’s clean and surrounded by other adorable items.

I addition to painting everything, I personally put up a subway tile backsplash in the kitchen that I bought on Amazon, and if you didn’t know the tiles were actually sheets of stickers, you would never guess. I even used an Exacto knife and a screwdriver to do it, so I guess you could say I’m pretty handy.

The best part of the house – well, it’s all the best part, but my favorite, favorite part – is the Reading Room. With great glee I inform you that one room in my apartment is dedicated entirely to the (well-organized) storage of books, the activity of reading, and the completion of homework, all done in complete and total cuteness and coziness. There is an ancient recliner that is enormously comfy, and next to it is a table full of whatever I happen to be reading, and in front of it is a fake fireplace (which makes heat and flames, which actually look quite nice), and all around it are old shelving units that I painted to look fresh and new, stacked with loads of all my books. Sometimes, when I’m sitting here at night in the middle of August (with the fireplace raging and the heat on because the basement is freezing), I look around me and the feeling of utter contentedness is so strong that I literally can’t even. My treasured belongings from world travels are scattered throughout the room, and on one table there is a globe that was left in the basement, so old that what is today Russia and the surrounding countries are all together, labeled as “The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.” Isn’t that awesome? Isn’t that, just, like, so awesome?? And because I am wise, and good at planning, I have strategically placed chapstick, Kleenex, and nail-files in all the places I am likely to be sitting for extended periods of time, so I never have to actually move to get anything. It’s heaven.

I will now stop singing my praises of the apartment and my interior decorating skills, and turn both your and my attention to the only drawback of living down here: The eight-legged critters that roam freely, where’ere they will, causing me great surprise and anguish. Even though my body weight is approximately 8.845e+7 times that of your average house spider (yes, I Googled the math), they still scare the shit out of me. I’m actually sitting on the toilet as I write this paragraph, just in case.

But lest you think I’m just going to sit back and let these fuckers take over my living and headspace, fear not. I am waging all-out war. I actually paid for a bug guy to come and spray the fuck out of the house foundation and my entire apartment. Then I bought a spray at the store and did it again, just for good measure. Then I purchased little satchels of oils and such that are supposed to repel spiders, and placed them in the corner of the windows. Then I bought sticky spider traps and placed them strategically around the house (so as not to interfere with outrageous cuteness of everything). Then I bought a vacuum so I could perform my once-week carcass removal operation, and, lastly, I never walk around the house without shoes on.

Reader, I wish I was kidding when I say that I got up just now and mercilessly squashed a spider making its way across the middle of the Reading Room (thanks for making my point, little guy, and sorry for killing you; it wasn’t personal). I’m working on increasing my emotional toughness so that my kill-mode heart rate remains within 50BPM of pre-and-post-spider confrontation, but progress takes time, so I’m being patient with myself and absolutely crushing the opposition in the meanwhile.

So that’s it. That’s the new place. You gotta come visit and have a drink from the specialty Old-Fashioned dry bar.

The only other drawback about this house is too gross to mention. What’s that? You really want to know what it is? Okay okay fine, I’ll tell you, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. The toilet bowl was designed by someone who clearly does not shit. I say this because 1) The water level is consistently far too low, and 2) The angle of the bowl’s slope is such that every time you pinch a loaf, it drops squarely onto porcelain, and slides slowly down into the small pool below.

I, being a woman, do not poo, so the only reason I know this is that my brother came over and left a nice big smear inside. No, but seriously, every time someone defecates, the toilet bowl needs to be scrubbed. So if you come over, just know that you’re always welcome to leave a present of your excrement, but you’ll have to clean up after yourself. Oh, and you’ll probably see a spider.

House party next weekend!!!!!!!!!

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