Wednesday morning I borrow Troy’s car. Every time I sit in his driver’s seat I have to push the little button that moves the seat forward. It’s slow, and it takes forever to finally be a normal distance from the wheel. I find it funny each time. Head to Tara’s work. When I stayed over the other night, I of course left something behind – my phone charger. She works in Studio City, which is super close to us, so she says to just stop by and if I could also bring her movie I borrowed – The Descendants. Mike and I watched it the other night and I cried about eight different times. It’s really sad with some funny moments. George Clooney is obviously really good in it (might even earn him some awards this season).
Tara asks me to come in a little early because George will be in today. So crazy. I pull up outside her office and she runs down. We say a quick hello and make the swap. She runs off. Feels like we just did a drug deal.
Mark stops by later to collect rent and Troy and I talk with him for a bit. We are hoping to get some kind of discount for all the problems we’ve been having. He and Ines say “we’ll revisit it at the end of our stay.” Mark is pretty cool and understanding about it. This has nothing to do with the fire – that was out of anyone’s control, but it just seems to have been one thing after the other. First with the roaches, then not having heat the whole first month of our stay, then the dishwasher needed to be fixed and stunk up the whole place, then the kitchen sink overflowed and flooded the kitchen floor so we couldn’t use the shower for a day. Things could be worse, I guess.
They really could. I could have bed bugs. Bed bugs. Gross. The absolute, hands-down worst experience of my life. It was senior year of college and I was living off campus for the first time – and so excited about it. Moved in with an awesome group of girls who were my friends, but I had never lived with them. Two soccer players and two lacrosse players. Super sweet girls. I moved there in August for preseason and found out I had beg bugs about a month later. Had my own room and the bed came with it – sweet deal, right? Mike and I were together at this point, and he slept over a few times. One morning I woke up with a rash and Mike had nothing on him, so I thought I had an allergic reaction to something. It started to get really bad and I had to go to the nurse. She had no idea what was wrong with me, but she didn’t think it was a rash. She brought in other nurses and whoever to look at me and analyze me. I was a freak show. Wake up one morning, go to the bathroom, pull down my shorts and sit down on the toilet, and there, on my thigh, is a tick. That’s my first thought. I quickly trap the thing, run downstairs for a tupperware container, and head back over to the nurse, itching and scratching the whole time. She looks it up on the internet. Bed bugs. No question. Excuse me? Those things are real? Like, goodnight, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite? (I will never say that to my kids). Bed bugs. The hockey team was nervous to be around me. What’s worse is that it itched so bad and even worse when I sweat, so I had to sit out of practice sometimes. I’d sit on the sideline in the grass and pull my socks down, take out the chin guard inserts and scratch my legs. It was humiliating. Mom and Dad didn’t want me to come home. They didn’t say that in so many words, but they didn’t have to. The worst part about it ending up being my roommates. I had gotten it the worst – my room was badly infested and bugs just love me anyway – but my roommates were OK still living there. Meg was downstairs and the bugs weren’t really down there, and Mo, Kate, and Erica had a “few bites sometimes” but it wasn’t a big deal. Our asshole landlord wouldn’t be held accountable. He would pay for the exterminator and that’s it.
One night, after the exterminator came, we cleaned everything in the house. Nothing was left in my bedroom except for the bed frame. I threw out my nice, new computer chair and a lot of other things because I was afraid of carrying the bed bugs with me. So it’s night now, and we’re all downstairs. I decide to sneak upstairs, turn the lights on in my bedroom, and see if I can see the things. I’m scarred for life. I turn on the light, walk over to the bed frame, and they are crawling EVERYWHERE. Those things were crawling all over me every night, sucking my blood so much that it didn’t look like bites; it looked like a rash. I’m disgusted. I sleep on a cot downstairs for a time. I cry a lot, especially when I realize that the girls are fine still living here and not even paying less for the rent. I call Mom sobbing. I feel like I’m in the twilight zone. This is not normal.
I’m saved by Allie and Kristin. Allie was my roommate for the first three years, and her and Kristin were my best friends. They were living together in an apartment off campus. Kris started student teaching and stayed home at her parents for most of the time, so she said I could stay in her room at their apartment. If she was there, I’d just sleep on the couch, but most of the time she was living at home. I still had to pay rent at the infested house, so Kristin didn’t ask that I pay for anything at her place. They really saved my life that year. You’d think senior year would be the best year of college, but it definitely wasn’t for me. I’m just lucky I have awesome friends. And I was rooming with Allie again. Roommates for four years.
Thursday I finally see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. So excited for this. Troy and I head over together, but split up when we get there – he’s going to see The Artist. It’s two hours and 40 minutes of awesomeness. I’m pumped afterwards. The theatre is attached to an outside mall so I walk over to Starbucks to wait until Troy gets out of his movie. Never been in an outside mall like this – it’s pretty cool. Reminds me of Crazy, Stupid, Love when Ryan Gosling takes Steve Carrell shopping. Call Dad because I never do and he’s happy to hear from me. He keeps trying to think of things to say and tells me his lifestory like I’m never going to speak to him again.
For dinner tonight I make grilled chicken. It’s been marinating in an assortment of mustards all day – honey, spicy, sweet hot, and a little mayo. I don’t know. I try out Phyllis’ corn pudding to go with it. Hmm doesn’t taste the same, but still good. Mike eats everything.