Last Thursday started as an epically craptastic day. It was the culmination of several hellish days all converging in a big ball of epic hellfire.
The previous Saturday, so five days before the craptastic day, I came home to find a piece of paper shoved into the crack of my door. This piece of paper was from my landlord and announced the presence of a most unwanted tenant in the building.
F’n cockroaches!!!! Ahhhhhh!
Now let me be clear, I run a relatively tight ship in my apartment and have not seen even the faintest shadow of a roach in my unit, but I read that note and FREAKED OUT. It’s not something I’m particularly proud of, but truthfully l locked my apartment door and just yelled. Just a pure human panic filled yell. It lasted for several hours (okay, seconds) before the cat howled at me to be quiet.
I then turned my attention to the other paper Mr Landlord had unceremoniously left behind. It was from an extermination company, they would be coming to the building the following Thursday (aka the craptastic day) to rid the structure of the vermin.
Ha za! You say? Problems solved, Sarah. : )
No! Do not be lulled into a false sense of hope, dear reader!
I’m sure some of you have dealt with roaches before and know oh too well that for the bug killing spray to be successfully applied you have to PACK UP EVERYTHING YOU OWN AND PILE IT IN THE CENTER OF YOUR APARTMENT!!!
And as further punishment, the letter warned that any specks of dust left behind would nullify the effectiveness of the spray and allow the vile creatures unfettered access to one’s home.
I read this and started to cry, quiet, dignified tears befitting a lady of my stature, but tears all the same.
I own a lot of books (obvy. Is that how you spell that? I am not hip to these things) and a lot of CDs (I went to high school in the 90s) and have an abundance of the things one collects as one moves into serious adulting, while living in the same home for an extended period of time. This all had to be packed away. I also have a cat. And we both had to vacate the apartment for the entire day while the spray was applied.
So I called my landlord and said:
“If I’m going to do all this, I might as well move.”
He laughed uncomfortably and said I was the third tenant to threaten, sorry *say,* such a thing.
Then he said the issue was on my floor.
My jaw dropped, and I literally could not form words in my brain.
And then he said it was in two of the four apartments on my floor.
I audibly gagged.
Again, he laughed uncomfortably.
At this point, I’m having panicked visions of Joe’s Apartment and every episode of Hoarders I’ve ever watched and unfortunately I have watched a lot of them. After some back and forth, the landlord reassured me that I didn’t have to pack up absolutely everything, my books and CDs could stay on the shelves. I just needed to focus on the bathroom, kitchen and moving all the furniture into the centre of the room. I could also leave my cat at home, if I locked her and all of her things, in my bedroom for the day. It would mean my bedroom wouldn’t get sprayed, but since I don’t keep food in there, I was willing to risk it.
So I got off the phone, cried some more dignified lady tears, and got to work.
And holy crap was it work. Fuelled by the nightmare of waves of roaches fleeing the spray in other apartments and running straight for my home, it took me five days to pack up everything and scrub all the walls and baseboards clean. I could have eaten off my bathroom floor. And not just something self-contained like an apple, I’m talking spaghetti and ice cream. Too far? Okay, take my word for it, you would have felt comfortable eating a meal, on a plate, off my bathroom floor. By the time I was done, my place was cleaner than the day I moved in. Which I guess isn’t really saying much considering the tenant before me had been forcibly evicted, and the landlord had not cleaned the place after painting literally every surface area of the apartment off-white. (A ghost cat was running around, but that’s a story for another time.)
So spray day, the craptastic day, arrived and I went through the arduous process of packing all my last minute items, the toothbrush, the toilet paper, into airtight containers. Then I tricked my cat into going into my room (I gave her some wet food. Not exactly trickery and the room smelt like weird chicken for a while) and then picked up my day bag and left the building, not to return until the dust had settled.
To calm my nerves, I headed to Starbucks, got a latte and navigated the group of obvious regulars situated at their obviously very regular tables, and settled in to worry about my cat and the wave upon wave of cockroaches that were scuttling towards my apartment.
After a little while, the woman next to me got up to leave. As she stood up, I noticed that pinned to the back of her sweater was a gigantic button with the word LOVE emblazoned across it. It cut through the murk and fear swirling around my brain so of course, I had to speak to her.
“I love your sweater!” I said.
“Oh, thank you,” the woman replied, shrugging into her coat.
“That button is really great,” I said.
“Do you want one?”
“Seriously?” I ask.
“Yes, I buy them by the hundreds and give them away.”
“Wow, then yes, I would love one.”
She then proceeded to pull a sizeable clear bag out of her tote that was indeed filled with a hundred or so brightly coloured buttons, each sporting the word LOVE.
“Here you go,” the woman unzipped the bag, and I selected a button.
“Thank you so much,” I told the woman, “you’ve really made my day.”
“You’re welcome. I just like to send positive energy out into the world.” Then she smiled and left.
And just like that my day went from craptastic and narrowly focused on my own drama, to fantastic and open to a world of unexpected moments of happiness, and I had a big button to prove it. : D
ps. Everything turned out fine. No roaches, no SPRAY NEEDED IN MY APARTMENT SO I PACKED EVERYTHING UP FOR NOTHING, and the cat was slightly miffed but all in all unharmed.