Tag Archives: roommates

Fire + slow shutter speed = art

2 May

While the s’mores were good, my roommate and I had more fun drawing with the flames after tonight’s bond fire.


January bonfire

8 Jan

Last night was a fairly mild for January, so my roommates and I decided to make the most of it by making a fire in our backyard. This was my first excursion to the backside of our property.

Cathleen headed up the construction of the fire, selecting the best branches from the yard and arranging them just so. She was our resident expert having built so many fires at her family’s camp in central Pennsylvania.

I gathered what I would call “urban kindling” – dryer lint and junk mail. Admittedly, our clothes smelled a little funny from all the weird stuff we burned.

The other roommates made a run for s’more supplies. I had been craving their chocolatey toasty goodness forever so the treats definitely hit the spot – even though we had to use gluten-free marshmallows because our closest grocery is a health food store.

The change of scenery (and the brisk air) made for a refreshing Saturday night. We often spend our downtime watching movies, so it was nice to hang around the campfire. Without leaving DC, I was transported back to  my Girl Scout camping trips and college retreats. There’s some kind of quiet nostalgia about watching the flames flicker as you get comfortable in your sweatshirt.

Oh, rats!

9 Nov

Rachel and Cathleen (reenactment)

So this is how I found my housemates Monday night — screaming their lungs out on top of a chair.

We thought we had a mouse – it had woken me up at night with its scratching, it had spooked us before, it was driving us crazy. But the thing we spotted tonight was most certainly not a mouse.

Rachel and Cathleen were watching TV when out of the corner her eye, Cathleen saw something dart across  the floor. She thought/was hoping it was just the moth that Rachel wanted her to kill. But then it moved again and she knew: not a moth.

Cathleen starting screeching and pointing, and sprang to her feet on top of the chair. Rachel also thought it might have been a moth, but when she realized and in a single bound, leaped to join Cathleen.  They decided that if they kept screaming, someone could up to check up on them.

That someone was me. I was stirring the chowder for dinner when I heard the sound. At first I thought it was someone outside, but then I realized it was coming from upstairs and I knew exactly what caused it.

Cathleen exclaimed, “It was the biggest mouse I’d ever seen!” Rachel stopped her, “Now, no need to exaggerate, was it [gestures] this big? , or [gestures] this big? ” “This big,” Cathleen cried.

After the girls climbed off the chair, we started checking the room for our furry intruder. Rachel climbed onto the safety of the armchair and I watched from afar as Cathleen moved the couch. Nothing. As we sent to send her to check the blue chair, I used my foot to wiggle the red chair in the middle. Out shot a huge, gray blob  –  and it darted right between Cathleen’s legs on its way to the guest room.

Rachel screamed. Cathleen screamed and launched onto a rolling office chair. I screamed and started bouncing up and down, the readied camera forgotten and photo opportunity lost. Judging from the hindquarters that I saw, I estimate that the creature was the size of a guinea pig, not a mouse.  Yesterday one of our housemates saw it and said was the size of a hotdog bun.

Anyway, we regrouped and started to move in on the rat again. “Wait!” I said. “What are we doing? We’re not going to do anything if we find it other than scream. We just keep scaring ourselves.” From beyond the door way, I shone my flashlight into the room and peered into the darkness. No fuzzy pelt, fleshy tail or beady eyes stared back.

Over dinner, the housemates named the rat “Wormtail” after the rat in the Harry Potter series (although I wanted”Lucifer”).

At 11 p.m., Rachel kept me company as a I boarded up the huge hole in my closet that was probably Wormtail’s welcome gate to my room.

The next morning, while I was at work, the rat found an abandoned bagel in a Target bag and tried to drag it under my bedroom door for breakfast. I almost cried when my housemate Matt told me. Our hallways and door jams are now full of scarves, towels, boxes and cardboard to block the rat’s path.

This morning, however, the humans had a victory. I heard Wormtail’s scratchy pitter patter shortly after I turned off my alarm. What a way to start the day, I thought.  But when I walked into the kitchen, Matt told me the rat had been wounded. There was a smear of blood and a broken mousetrap in front of the dishwasher. So close!

Now that our landlord has agreed to pay for an exterminator, the rodent’s days are numbered. Though, I’m afraid, the rest of us might suffer from PTSD. At a prayer session at the office Tuesday night, Rachel and I heard a noise and immediately gasped and glanced at each other, silently exchanging the same thought – “rat.” Our housemate Kelly (of the hotdog bun comparison) saw a little piece of paper move at work and jumped.

Every little sound, every small movement is cause for suspicion and alarm. Even if the rat is gone or dead within a few days, it’ll take us much longer to recover.