Triumph of the House

The last time I wrote on the subject of the home I’m living in, we had just discovered something bizarre (and gross) in the oven.

Prior to that, I lamented quite a bit on the struggles of living here due to the home’s age and lack of upkeep on the landlords’ part. I also ascribed to the house a somewhat sinister personality, as if it were taking a page out of a Stephen King novel.

I really wish that were the end of the shenanigans. Since my last update, we discovered we had a mouse in the kitchen (January 1, in fact). He’d created a “nest” at the bottom of our trash can. We have a “fancy” trash can that has a separate inner liner than the outside of the can where the pedal is. The mouse had figured out a way to get in through an infinitesimally small vent hole on the underside of the trash bin and began chewing larger holes on our inner liner.

We laid some poison traps and the little guy liquified shortly after that at the bottom of the can. I really wish I could talk sense to mice instead of having to kill them outright but it’s just not how it works. A month or two later, we discovered another invader had found his way in but he liked to crawl around on our kitchen counters. A fast-acting mouse trap did the trick then, and ever since, we have been blissfully mouse free.

Oh but I’m not done yet.

A couple of months ago as I came home from work, I had another lovely surprise awaiting me. As I crossed the threshold of the front door, an eight-inch green garter snake fell from the door jamb above me and fell onto my neck and shoulder before falling to the floor. I promptly proceeded to scream bloody murder. Thankfully, Kevin was already home and was just in the kitchen, so he came running. He managed to grab the snake by its tail and throw it out into the front yard. Why was there a snake in the door jamb? Why, indeed. It’s just this house. It’s “quirky” like that. It’s not because it wants us gone or anything.

As you can imagine, between the recent rodents, the snake(s), the bugs, our strange landlords, and the fact that we can barely keep from getting hypothermia in the winter, we put up our white flag.

White flag

Courtesy of gct_ch on Flickr.

You win, house. I just don’t have it in me to battle this shit for another year, particularly in the winter.

By the end of January, we’d made up our minds that we’d be signing a new lease elsewhere, vacating sometime in July. Due to the competitive nature of rental homes in our area because of the influx of students and professors, we started immediately. Turns out tons of people prefer to have a relatively spacious place to live with multiple bathrooms, a great location, a driveway and/or a garage, updated appliances, and a decent landlord who allows dogs.

If we really wanted to get everything on our wishlist, we were going to have to compromise in rent. By a LOT.

After being let down with a few properties and at least one landlord, we incorporated apartment complexes back into our housing search and to make a long story short, we eventually found a townhouse apartment at a place that was reputed to have great service and actually maintained the premises. The entire experience of working with them is how things should go with a prospective landlord.

So our little housing fairy tale has a happy ending, after all.

We’re counting down the weeks until we move. Even Kevin is thrilled and moving is his number one most hated activity. We also successfully endured our landlords showing the place to potential renters for five weeks, which is a separate story unto itself. A set of new people rented the house by some grace of God. I wish I could leave them a note of how best to handle winters and everything else here but I know it’s not my place to do so.

The house may have gotten the best of us but I couldn’t be happier about surrendering.



  1. Oh My gosh Zoe! I don’t know how you and Kevin managed to live in that house for as long as you did. After the snake experience, that would be “it” for me as well. I hate snakes and anything else that crawls and everything that should NOT be in a house. Man, you have had some really interesting stories and I could not imagine going on living there. Good luck in your new place, but hang some garlic so ward off any vampires! LOL

  2. Oh, girl. I’m still grossed out from your oven horrors. Glad you guys are getting a fresh start!

  3. Glad that you have somewhere else to go, and soon. At least you didn’t have to rent the house yourselves! What will you do for entertaining blog entries?

  4. Surrender or victory? Bottom line, you’re getting out of that miserable house, sounds like victory to me! 🙂

  5. OMG i cant believe a snake fell on you!! I would have freaked out too! EEK. I am so glad you guys are moving. Can’t wait to see pictures of the new place once you’re all settled in!

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