I love living in an old house. It’s solid and packed full of character. The ceilings are super high. Nearly every room has wood floors and there are tons of windows. It was built in 1926 by a doctor who ran his practice out of the house. We are only the third family to live in the house. So yeah, it’s a great house.
There are some downsides to living in an old house, I’m not going to lie.
Animals. The animals can get into the house. This is not my favorite part. More than once, while taking a bath, suddenly there came a large amount of beating and banging coming from the wall behind my head. The first time it happened, I completely freaked out. Now when it happens, I turn my ipod up louder. I have learned from much internet research that most old houses feature dead animals that have gotten stuck in the walls and died. But they can also feature live animals. Some things are better left alone and in my opinion, this is one of those things.
The animals don’t always stay confined in the walls. Oh no. In fact, part of the reason we ignore the wall animals is because there are plenty of them running wild through the house. I’m not talking about my cats. We found our first mouse last fall. It was standing on a canister reaching for the cabinet door. I don’t care for mice hanging out in the open in my kitchen. We felt very triumphant when we caught mouse #1. Then came the next two mice. Entering the kitchen became a really frightening event. I would make enough noise to wake the dead when I walked toward the kitchen or “mouse headquarters.”
After the capture of #2 and #3, husband set about mouse-proofing the kitchen. He put steel wool in every possible hole. I read that mice don’t like the smell of peppermint so I drowned everything in peppermint. I also read that you could sprinkle used cat litter around the perimeter of your house to discourage mice so I did some of that too. My mom also threw a bag of dirty cat litter out of the window and it burst all over the place and we were pretty thrilled. Surely that would discourage the mice, right? Wrong.
I am actively trying to block this whole experience out but I believe we finally caught eight mice using traps. The final mouse (#9) was caught by the cat. You might be wondering to yourself, “Don’t these crazy people have three cats? Where were they during this adventure? Had they gone to summer camp?” Well they might as well have gone to summer camp as much good as they did except it was winter. The cats appeared to be as afraid of the mice as the humans. Poor Rugby didn’t seem to know we had any mice until he caught the last one. He can’t see because he has googly eyes like the old man from “The Tell-Tale Heart.” But that little blind cat caught a mouse and I was very supportive of him for several minutes after.
Our basement is one of the creepiest basements that I have ever seen. The first room you walk into when you walk down the stairs is very normal and basementy. But that is where the normal basement ends. The rest of the basement looks like the catacombs of Paris. It is terrifying. We try really hard to avoid going down there at all after dark.
I am considerably more afraid of the basement after watching “American Horror Story: Murder House.”
This leads me to the next issue which is the electricity. If you plug more than one thing into one outlet, the electricity could all blow out. The train tracks lie less than a mile from our house and it rattles the house a bit. This could rattle the fuses right out of the box which has happened before. Oh and we are still using the old fuses for 3/4ths of the house.
The last time this happened, I was still suffering from PTSD directly related to “American Horror Story” so we all had to troop to the world’s creepiest basement to check the fuse box with flashlights. This is not my favorite and most cherished memory from the house. My job was to hold the flashlight and I did not abandon my husband in the dark and for that, I should be thanked profusely, because I really did NOT want to go down there. *shudder*
Turns out, the fuse box we needed was on the back porch anyway so if we’d been eaten by ghosts, it would have been for naught.
Living in and old house is a constant adventure. You never know if you are going to blow all the power out by plugging in a lamp or when a mouse might scurry by while you are cooking dinner. Oh and the closets are not really set up for hanging clothes so it requires some creativity. There may or may not be lead paint on the porch. But I completely love this house. Just don’t ask me to hang out in the basement.