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May 4, 2007



About bying a "new" house -  or the cat in the sack...




The sea nearby was shining and twinkling against the white high old house - standing on a little hill – from a December gold looking-sunset.

- We approach it scrutinizing it and then knocked at its front door, where a beautiful Latino-American woman came rapidly to the door and opened to us. She took us rapidly upstairs to a kitchen which smelt taco-like.

- Passing by, we said a "Hello", to the older man which was seating on a big chair in the living room; reading a book, and smoking his pipe.

- An old iron-oven was burning wood which crackled warmly around us.
The living room-floor was covered with a white, thick carpet. It was so sunny
all around us; an old big cozy house with the view from the glittering sea
and with a smell of ovens baked dinner.

- So, we bought the house. We thought it was so beautiful

- They got exactly the amount that they expected for the house

– Well, one time must always be the first. For everybody I mean ...

The loan finally past at the bank after getting a little help of a terrified mother in law...

- And in early January we moved in our new house.

- But our neighbours started to ask us. Why moving? Why we moved?

Well, we were pretty uncomfortable to speak about the reason, or the reasons. My brother-in-law saves us that day, calling Thorvald cel phone at the exact time of the question! The new couple over us, in the old flat, were always "doing it" all the time. And we just could find a diplomatic answer to tell them.

The situation was becoming crazier from day to day. We couldn't even go in our bedroom with the baby for a nap in the middle of the day - because they were there at the time; yelling, and screaming and mourning while their bed was cracking with a mysterious and nasty sound.

We couldn't sleep anymore. We felt strange. – I had to try to buy a house...

We had bought a lot of things from this ultimate owner; because they could not get so much stuff with them in the trailer that was going to Spain, where they have planned to move.

- While my friends and I were carrying furniture upstairs; Thorvald was lifting heavy things for the elderly man. Lots of things. Even if he had his own men working for him. And we said that they did not need to wash the house before leaving.
- They were so nice...


In January and February I was sneaking around trying to find something fun in one of the many closets, both upstairs and downstairs.
I found some clothes and lots of things. Many.


- I was noisy and excited. It felt like treasure hunting in my proper house!

- So I went along in "Carmen’s" T-shirt, and the elderly mans slippers. (- Like big, tight, warm socks ...)

- One early spring day I even found a wonderful little vase which was written under it ‘’Hecho en Chile’’, Made in Chile.

Outside the house, people had for so many years ago planted a nice cherry tree.

So enduring that beautiful month of May - it blossomed with thousands of big,
white flowers in the twinkling from the sea.

Yes, life was smiling at last, and to smile was becoming a lifestyle.

***


- So, I went out gardening at that particular time.

The soil was full of weeds; and I could not get a space in between each
flower. Later, I heard "easily" from many "well-meaning" people that it was
Skvalderkål, Norway’s most harsh weed. Not to Even Get Killed By Poison.

- Another day in the spring, I became more and more aware of some funny looking bugs crawling downstairs where we had a bathroom with a bathtub - cozy for the kids - and we had a big room where I wanted to have a TV-living room for my husband - he and his sports together forever ... alone!

- And then it started! Thousands of bugs were passing through in just a week.

- I began vacuuming the two rooms every day, but it didn't help.

- They were all over the place. It was really embarrassing when people came and their children cried out for: "Help! ‘’Mommy Help me’’!


- They were crawling on the floors and upstairs, and also on the walls. My
little Matilde began to squeeze them between her little fingers and tasted
them. Yarrkkk!

And when my two girls had taken a bath: they were running up the stairs with
their foot soles grey of half dead bugs on them. By June they were mostly disappeared, and I forgot about them all.


- June was already there and there was more gardening to do!

One day, as I was standing full of sweat having my brake; me and the spade - I
saw something strange: There were big brown ants walking one after the other; like proud, young soldiers in a parade – penetrating into several small holes on the wall. My shocking eyes saw plenty of giants-ants walking into our house, from the outside.

- And there was nothing to do with the garden, too full of weeds; both up in the air and down in the ground - where their roots laid tight like remarried white worms in spasm.

- We had to tear apart the inner walls to see where the ants lived - kind
of, said an antibug-man to us. And, - he continued - we had to find the queen-ant, the once who were even bigger and had wings. And we found not just one, many.

- Me, who had taught my oldest daughter to under almost, almost any case, never-ever kill something that could move their bodies. (I was alone with her at a time and I was shivering by horror while I was taking spiders out from the flat softly in some paper - with very long arms - or by the hand, depending on the size ...).


-Well, I vacuumed 5 full bags of crawling ants, with and without wings.
We had to ask for a new loan at the bank, in order to rebuild the wall and the floor at first floor.

- Then August came, and my 1 ½ year old little Matilde could not sleep anymore during daytime. All days and evenings, were becoming like ...

- My other girl had had a nap until she was 5 years old.

- The little one became more and easier on her foot, always on the run.
All she ever did (I felt) - was taking full ashtrays and coffee cups; and what
there was on the tables; and threw it hard on the floor. On the white, thick and expensive carpet we bought.

It became very spotted, white and brown. It was nasty. The big white carpet.
In September, I celebrated my girlfriend’s marriage, and we had lots of wine,
and all kinds of cheese. (Who does not love cheese?)
We set the garbage out in, well - two days I think.

- I got me a new friend after that - a rat. Several rats.
It was running from the kitchen door each time I used the door - and that was
often.

- And around the neihbors there were rats, we could see them almost every day. I was scared to death nearly, and we had to spread around rat poison in the
cellar.


- Against all my principles again!

We had bought a rat-trap but I hear that we should not use those, because
I have heard that they could start screaming so loud if well catch - and load when they
got caught.

Then October came, and in November we had located the smell we had had in our noses for some time. It came right from between the kitchen and the stairs.


- A rat had died in the wall, and we couldn’t afford to tear down the walls again. It was a horrible odour that we had in the passage, kitchen and all the large living room for 3 - 4 months I think.

We should celebrate Christmas Eve with my sister and her family here - but I
was thinking several times to go to another place - because this home was a
very smelly one.


A smell of Death.

***

And it went a year or two and one morning the oldest girl should go to school and I was only going down the stairs to fetch a jacket to her, and I couldn't believe my eyes:

Water; like a shallow lake all over; shoes were floating around. The jacket and the coats were pitching - like in tiny waves.


- The snow had melted too fast and went into the mountain where the house was standing, and all that water came down to the first floor.


After that it began to be cold again. Real cold.


- I was missing the warm slippers which the old house owner left (for me...).

- One girlfriend said to me: Are you really walking around with old slippers from a strange man? And I got really embarrassed and threw them in the garbage.


So I was knitting slippers all the winter, wearing warm jackets.

- All I really did that winter was knitting colourful big socks for the whole family, although it was only us here who were freezing... There was an ice-cold breeze coming all the time from that open basement.

***

- The ants are still visiting us from time too time - when it's cold in the winters - and their queens are sitting hundreds together on an outside wall on the warmest summer day.

- And all the weird looking grey bugs are here - and they live here through March and April and again in September through October.


But no rats. I shall not tell you what happened when we got cats...

Irene Carlsen

Arendal, Norway, Spring 2006

Visibility: Everyone
Posted: Friday May 4, 2007, 12:54 pm
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Irene Carlsen
female, age 49, separated, 2 children
Arendal, NU, Norway
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