Last week I hunted a cockroach. I spotted it skittering across the living room floor at 2:00 am on one of our first nights home from vacation. In contrast to the cool evening breezes of Maine—or even considered all on its own—the night was a stifling one in our apartment. On hot city nights the temperature hardly dips from sunrise to sunset and the effect is magnified when you live four flights up. Faye had been restless and so I was up myself when I spotted the interloper.
I’m not a cockroach novice. They were unavoidable when we lived in coastal Carolina, and I became adept at both avoiding and murdering, but I am out of practice. And I never enjoyed the hunt anyway.
While I flapped around the apartment trying to exterminate the thing without also getting too close, my heart raced. I finally found success when I wielded a winter boot in my attack. The insides of the cockroach splattered out across the apartment floor and over the white curtains that we have hanging by Faye’s closet. I knew white curtains might have been a regretful choice when I put them up, I just didn’t realize they’d meet their demise due to cockroach guts.
I’ll spare you the morbid details but suffice to say that after successfully lifting the stain and washing the curtains and ironing them within an inch of their life, I realized that I’d also managed to shrink them an entire and improbable five inches, leaving a silly and unsightly gap between curtains and the floor. Curtains no more.
It’s fraught work, these little attempts at homemaking.
My cockroach story isn’t met to elicit any particular sympathy. (And I’m sorry if it’s elicited any disgust.) It’s just to acknowledge that cockroaches happen. Pillows get torn apart by puppies. Door jams get gouged by heavy furniture. Lamps got knocked over by toddlers. In the daily efforts we make to keep our spaces beautiful or practical or useful, sometimes the living part gets in the way. And sometimes the living part has six spiny legs.
Biting back means scrubbing at your curtain stain until it comes out. And when you discover that you’ve done even more damage in the process, you take a deep breath, fold up the curtain, and find another solution on another day.
I’m not sure what I’ll do about the curtains. Leave them off for now is the plan. I’ve got a little painting project in the works for that space, which I’m hoping might make me more excited about showing it off anyway.
In any case, the beat goes on.
More tiny apartment survival tips, RIGHT HERE.