Squash That: On Starting Over
Ok, full disclosure, I have no recipe for you this week. And not because I didn’t make anything, because I did. Pumpkin muffins to be exact and they were gorgeous and smelled wonderful and seemed to be a keeper.
But looks can be deceiving.
Instead of whisking me away to memories of pumpkin pie they fell utterly flat on taste. Don’t get me wrong, they tasted fine…just fine. But they should be and can be so much more than okay. So though I have nothing delectable, spicy and pumpkin-y for you this week, I’ll get back under the hood this weekend and return with a much superior and recipe box-worthy version next week. For photos this week, I have some misc ones from the past few months that never found their way into a proper post. Plus, I needed a little spring and summer on this rainy, wind-crazy day…
…and a few laughs. So why not chat about Zach and I’s first apartment? Much like the muffins, our first place was full of promise and potential on first glance but on the second, third or fourth glance – anything but.
We were fresh out of college, broke, and 50% unemployed. The employed half, Zach, was working in the library of a DC think tank and though the feel good factor overflowed, the paycheck did not. With my employment status uncertain and full of naive enthusiasm, we signed on to a “deal” of an apartment in a really nice neighborhood in upper Northwest. Chic, big city living here we come!
Reality: It was a basement. The faded and stained red carpet, not even stapled down, slid and shimmied under foot as if we had our very own moving walkway a la The Jetsons. The shower was tiny. So tiny that shaving your legs required an act of contortionism typically reserved only for the cast of Cirque du Soleil. A leak in the foundation meant that a good hard rain turned the living room into a swimming pool and left tufts of mold growing on the toes of my pointy black boots.
Then there were the crickets. Commonly referred to as cave crickets, spider crickets or camelback crickets, I know them as my worst nightmare. Long creepy antennae, spherical mushy bodies and the rear haunches of a rabbit combined with remarkably poor vision, mean they jump unexpectedly high, spastically and directly at your face.
They carpeted the cinderblock walls of the entryway, crept up through the drains and waited in dormant luggage for your next trip. One fateful night, a leaky upstairs sink brought a waterfall of them cascading through the wet and dissolving drop ceiling of our kitchen.
Zach bore the brunt of the mania – trudging into the darkness to fling a flip-flop, clean up the bodies and talk me off the ledge. And finally, a job offer arrived for yours truly and with it, a way up. Leaving that first apartment, though a relief, meant swallowing a heavy dose of pride but hey, we all have to start somewhere.
It’s taken nearly 4 years, lots of tinkering and starting over, but we’ve finally landed home. I still find the occasional cricket mocking me from a dark corner in our basement laundry room but I’ve developed impressive sharp shooter skills with bleach spray.
If all else fails, I know my better half will trudge in to my rescue, flip-flop cocked, and swat swat away.