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Happy Halloween


We had some technical difficulties with Simon trying to kill his costume this year (it had dangly little antennae) so Winter had to stand in for him.


Behold the Winter-spider!

The Amityville Holler

We’re trying to love this house for the time we are stuck in it have it but the house sure isn’t making it easy…

Besides the fiasco with the rotting tub, there’s still the rusty water to deal with (we learned how to change the water filter under the house, which probably hadn’t been done in years, and that helped a bit) and the ongoing barrage of ants. Since they come in waves, our current theory is that we’ve actually wiped out several individual colonies but then new ones find us. Oh, and even after being repaired several times, the toilet leaks and the tub faucets drip. The kitchen has a strange nasty mildew smell that we’ve been unable to pinpoint the cause of. We think it’s in the subfloor somewhere. The floors buckle and sag in weird places and there’s always the sensation that the toilet is going to drop through the floor one of these days when someone sits down. We just try to remind ourselves that our commute is shorter, our bills are going down, and it’s so peaceful and pretty out here in the hills. But there’s always some new surprise around the next corner…

Friday we came home from work and I noticed a big black fly breakdancing on its back by the patio door. “Simon, come look at the bug!” I called out, as Simon is our resident bug inspector. He came meowing from the other end of the house and looked at it, and then did the cat version of a disinterested shrug and walked away. In the office we found three more flies buzzing around, in the bathroom several more. No wonder the one in the living room had held no novelty for Simon, the cats had probably been playing with the big ugly things all day. What bothered us was that there’s only one kind of fly that is big, black and sluggish like that — and they come from dead things. Why was our house suddenly full of them?

We sniffed around the house — nothing. We then braced ourselves for a trip under the house as surely that must be where they had come from. When I opened the door to the basement, a veritable flood of blow flies came buzzing out. They were everywhere, on the windows, on the walls, the whole basement buzzed with them. Yet we found no dead animal, and didn’t even really smell anything bad other than the usual damp mildew of the mud floor basement. Granted half the basement is just crawl space and we didn’t go all the way back there, but still — anything big enough to have hatched hundreds of flies should have made a smell that we should have picked up on days before. It was very unsettling.

We had been meaning to do a ‘cleansing’ of our house since we moved in, symbolic of a clean start and clearing all the negativity that has surrounded us for so long. After the blow fly incident it seemed like a good time to do it and in retrospect I guess we should not have been dabbling in something that we didn’t really understand or take seriously. We’ve since been told that we went about it all wrong, and judging from the results, really wish we’d not done it at all. We started in the living room and went in an unconscious counter-clockwise circle through the house, wafting the sage smoke into all the corners. I should interject here that Joy has had a terrible insomnia problem since we moved in, she’s not had a decent night’s sleep since the first week we’ve been here; I mention this because as we went through the house, the smudge stick would kind of fizzle after a while and have to be relit, but when we got to where Joy sleeps it was actually glowing pretty good and as she moved it over her pillow it very suddenly extinguished with a phzt! sound.

we kind of looked at the the now-unlit stick, puzzled, and then decided it was the ceiling fan that did it. We relit it, and again when we got to that area it went out. ‘A cross-draft from the window and doorway’ was the next theory but a after closing the door and retrying it, for a third time it went out just as suddenly. Not only that, but the match we were trying to light it with sparked and threw a burning ember on me. A bit unsettled by this, and now really determined to make it burn, we went and got a candle and lit it, to keep the sage relit when it went out. The candle flame went all weird when we were in that spot, stretching straight up about 3-4″ tall.

Although we’d given ourselves a good case of the willies, we still took the sage down to the basement. I said out loud that if I had inadvertently locked any small thing in there the last time I had the door open, that it was an accident and I was really sorry, and that it should move on and be at peace. After the fly thing I really had felt terrible, as we’d had the door open for a few days and closed it the week before; what if something had come in and then gotten trapped? We looked around again, for any signs of a dead animal or scratches on the door or anything that might indicate something had been trapped in the basement and died, and saw nothing. We closed the door — which tends to kind of bind against the ground and not swing freely — when we left. I pushed the metal hasp over the metal loop of the lock as I usually do (not that we actually keep a lock on it, it’s just a habit I guess) when I shut the door.

Later on when I was in the yard with the dogs, I happened to glance over at the door as I went by and saw the hasp was unlatched and the door was a few inches ajar. It’s never come open like that before, you have to pull on it to get it to open, and I *know* I closed it when we left. I checked inside for an animal, then closed it firmly again. It’s stayed closed since then, but that spooked me a bit, and ever since the sage incident, we’ve both felt very uncomfortable in the room where the sage wouldn’t burn. I don’t know if it’s all in our heads, or if our inept, fumbling, ‘banishing’ attempt just pissed something off that had been in there. I guess that should be a lesson in messing around with things we don’t understand.

The last house we lived in, we always felt had one or more ‘presences’ and we had some strange stuff happen but we never felt as if they meant us any personal harm…though we never understood why they kept leaving us pennies. This one we’ve not had any sort of stuff like that going on, there’s just this vague feeling of unease in some parts of the house. Again, maybe it’s just the ever present awareness that the house is probably slowly rotting out from underneath us due to the water damage but I can’t quite put my finger on it and I thought it might be a good idea if we started documenting this stuff when it happens.

Um, we won’t be buying any of these products

Wired Gallery: The Most Curious Canned Goods Found Online

Warning: this link is not for the squeamish. If the thought of canned duck fetuses sends you running, you might skip it. One of the comments kinda sums it up: “I just threw up in my mouth.”

My ear-to-brain coordination is a bit slow first thing in the morning

Chris showers as usual and is making her way down the dark hallway barefoot in her bathrobe when Joy calls out from another room…

“Hey, be careful where you step, I think I heard one of the cats–”


“–vomiting a few minutes ago.”

Ah, nothing like slightly warm puke squishing up between your toes to start your day off right.