VIRGINIA LUCAS HART

Desperate Measures

apartment, NYC, storyVirginia HartComment

Sure, New York City has its glitz & glamour. You might stumble upon Johnny Weir filming his reality show riding a mechanical bull at happy hour. (Friday night) You might take Little Lady's advice and go to ABC Kitchen and end up sitting next to Laura Bush and her daughters. (wink) You might even have the opportunity to see incredible talent within walking distance of your apartment. (Amos Lee concert Saturday night. Check him out here.)

But one must keep in mind that there are things that are not desirable about living in this city: public transportation, crowds, battle wounds from a runaway suitcase on an escalator (yes, that was yesterday's fun little adventure as I listened to my iPod and wondered what on earth that noise was that kept getting louder and louder...), paying a fortune-and-a-half for a garage-sized apartment that probably has some very odd quirks, and what "visitors" you might greet in that apartment - to name a few.

Remember when I mentioned my first encounter with a mouse in the city? And how it ended with me peeing in my pants on the sidewalk? That was fun.

And then remember how I had to wait on my super, Mario, after I spotted a mouse during what was supposed to be a leisurely Sunday afternoon of art and Pretty Woman?

Well I thought all was fixed!

Saturday, I decided to tackle about a month's full of chores in one day.

Oh who am I kidding? I do the same crazy amount of self-inflicted chores every weekend.

I hadn't deep cleaned since my vacation, though, so I wanted to be extra thorough. I started by running a million errands, making a couple trips to the laundromat, etc. It was actually a little bizarre because a group was filming on my stoop and I kept awkwardly interrupting scenes. "'Scuse me, 'scuse me!" (as I dropped my keys and tossed my laundry bag over my shoulder, knocking over microphone equipment...)


why my stoop?


Anyway, I decided to clean some cooking pans & utensils I rarely use just to keep things fresh. I store them beneath my kitchen sink and when I pulled out a platter, I noticed some "evidence" of a mouse and began to gag uncontrollably. I stood there yelling at the cabinet after I looked around the apartment and realized "oh right, I live alone and this is solely my problem to clean up". (Revised grocery list: milk, bread, peanut butter, husband) I figured the only thing to do was to pull everything out and either throw it away or soak it in boiling water and soap, wipe with Clorox disinfectant, then wash it again with boiling water and soap. Defeated, I bent over to start pulling everything out of the back of the cabinet mostly thinking things like, "why do I have this large ladle? Like I actually cook stew." And just as I let my guard down, I saw something that made me squeal at the top of my lungs. No, it wasn't a mouse. No, it wasn't the Bronx Zoo's cobra. It was an enormous.dead.bug. We're talking HUGE. Size of a small mammal. Not okay.

You've got to be kidding, I thought.

Panic-stricken, I put on shoes and a coat and searched for someone who could help. I thankfully didn't have to go far since I stumbled upon a kid and his dad in the hallway. And then I did something that seemed completely normal at the time.

I paid the kid $5 to pick up the dead bug and throw it in the garbage.

Excited at the opportunity to get out of whatever lecture his dad was giving him, he ran into my apartment and I handed him a wad of probably 17 paper towels. "Where is it?", he asked. Too afraid to look at it again and thinking the dead specimen could somehow hear me, I whispered and pointed, "over there...be careful...it's ginormous." "Oh wow! Kewwwl!", he shouted. At this point, my front door had slammed shut and both of his parents were now out in the hallway talking amongst themselves probably wondering if it was the right time to call the police. Meanwhile, the overzealous kid was almost entirely inside the bottom cabinet fetching a rotting carcass. I quickly opened the door and professed my undying gratitude to them and their son. They all just sort of just stood there smiling at me, happy they could help, as if this transaction was a completely normal situation.

You pick up bug, I hand you money.

Afterwards, I went to the drugstore and bought a million cleaning products and rubber gloves that went up to my elbows. I proceeded to spend almost two hours throwing out and disinfecting everything in proximity to the crime scene.

It was not until later, when I was sucking on a pomegranate popsicle on my fire escape and my blood pressure returned to normal, that I realized that my little hero was the long-haired boy that was filming on my stoop earlier in the day. See him standing on the bottom step? Awesome. He's going to grow up to become famous and will likely respond to a question in People Magazine asking him about the easiest money he's ever made. "Well this one time I was like 8 and there was this really helpless lady..."

Knock on wood, there hasn't been any more mouse evidence. Super Mario is supposed to seal up the wall in my kitchen once he gets over the flu.

As I believe Kelly Ripa once said (along with many others), "you're not a true New Yorker until you've had a mouse in your apartment."

I'd like to adjust that.

As the Little Lady once said, "you're not a true New Yorker until you've paid a random kid actor to enter your home and throw out a dead bug in your kitchen."

What can I say? Desperate times call for desperate measures.

until next time,

g