Well It Wasn’t A Sandwich

I’m back from the basement.

Still alive. Although after several dive bombings from the flies, I wasn’t sure if I’d make it.

Friday, after freaking out about the swarm of flies in my basement, I mustered the courage to get out of bed.

Got dressed in pants, a tank top with a long-sleeved t-shirt, sneakers, and a scarf that completely covered my head AND ears.

Did I mention I was wearing PANTS? And a LONG-SLEEVED shirt?

I’ll save you the suspense –

I smelled lovely by the end of the day.

After suiting up in layers of fabric, I grabbed our trusty shop vac and headed to the basement.

creepy basement stairs

{And yes, cleaning that mess of a staircase up happened later in the day.}

My plan was to open the door to the apartment while deftly wielding the hose of the shop vac. The shop vac would suck all the flies out of the air, instantly kill them, and all would be right with the world.

Foolproof. Right??!

{You see where this is going.}

I tentatively reach out and open the door to the apartment.



Sitting on the side of the fridge. On the walls. On the ceiling.


Shop vac is on. I’m waving it around where the flies are, frantically trying to suck them up.


I suck up one here. Maybe one there.

But all my flailing about is only stirring things up. Instead of perched unsuspectingly on a flat surface, the flies are now FLYING around.

Maybe if I go into the apartment, closer to the middle of things, I’ll have more luck.

{Brilliant, huh?}

I move into the main living room of the apartment, dragging the shop vac behind me, camera slung over my shoulder. {Cause my public will want pictures!!}

Before making any sudden movements, I remember to take some “before” shots.

Cause who wouldn’t want to see picture of my fly infestation?!

black flies on a white wall

See all those little black dots on the white wall and ceiling?

Those are flies.

Now imagine about that many ALSO flying toward my face in protest for trying to kill them.

I should get a medal for being this brave.

5 more minutes of futile death-by-shop-vac and, not only am I completely skeeved out, but I’m getting frustrated too.

“This is for the birds,” I remember thinking. “Where’s the chemicals?”

Sorry, Earth. I want to be green; only eat locally grown organic foods, compost my scraps, grow veggies out back, use all-natural cleaning products that only contain ingredients I can pronounce. I really really really do.

But when there is a swarm of disgusting, black flies, swarming around my head, buzzing in my ear and – FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY DON’T YOU DARE FLY UP MY NOSE – I’m done.

Off to the big orange box store for $38.37 worth of fly-killing products.

Sticky tape traps, bag traps you fill with water, bug bombs, and – my personal favorite – the aerosol flying bug spray. I bought it all.

Upon reaching the basement door for a second time that day, I decided the most direct route would be best.

No waiting 2-5 hours for the flies to find their way into an environmentally responsible sticky trap.

No indoor foggers that required 2 hours plus airing out time.

The instant-kill aerosolized spray was my weapon of choice for round 2.


dead flies by the window

I don’t know if you’ve ever killed large quantities of flies before, so maybe you haven’t noticed this. But flies make the loudest, most horrific buzzing sound as they die. 10 times louder than they do when they’re alive and well. TMI? Ooops.

Fast forward past my massive killing spree {the spray smells kinda good, or maybe that’s just my dying brain cells}.

Dead fly bodies now litter the floor.

dead flies on floor

I clean up. Dead flies vacuum up SO much easier than live ones, btw.

I check the trash bag for something rotting. Nope. Nothing there.

I check behind the piles of tools for a little mouse carcass. All clear.

I check in the cabinets waiting to be installed in what will eventually be the kitchen. Some rat poop, but no body.

Bathroom maybe? There weren’t any flies in there but it’s possible. Still nothing.

Oh well. I guess that’s good.

I finish cleaning and get everything ready to spackle in the morning.

I even clean the outside steps –

steps after

Much better, right?

creepy basement stairs steps after

Go to sleep feeling very pleased with myself. This girl conquered the flies! RAWR!!!


Saturday morning.

Mom & Dad come up to help with the basement reno. {YAY!}

Dad & I are assessing the patch & spackle needs of the apartment.

Dad says, “That looks like it was eaten,” referring to a patch Rob & his Dad put in a few months go.

basement wall with eaten patch

“Huh,” I say, “That’s gross.” We decide to pull the patch and redo it, since nothing has been taped or mudded yet.

Yup! Certainly eaten.

eaten drywall

We pull the panel and instantly –


Houston, I think we found the source!

pulled panel

Need a closer look??

what used to be a rat

That, my friends, used to be a rat.

And yes, his fur did in fact ooze off his now mummified body and settle around him like a fuzzy moat.

Say it with me now –


Yuck. Yuck yuck yuck.

With gloved hands, face masks, and protective eye coverings, it came out in one piece, stiff as a piece of 1/2″ plywood. Placed directly into the trash. Fur and all.

Well that’s not entirely true.

Dad did have to pick up a few clumps of hair that remained.

I vacuumed the space with the shop vac.

And promptly bought a new filter for said shop vac.


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13 Responses to Well It Wasn’t A Sandwich

  1. Anne says:

    Told you it was Master Splinter…I had an incident like that in VA once…only there were two, one was alive and hissing( yes hissing…I know they are supposed to squeak but not this bugger he was hissing) one was dead…enter 90 lb dog, I scoop up dead rat, he handles live one ( who was not live for much longer). Worst part of day…convincing dog that he should not in fact enjoy the spoils of his kill….sigh

  2. Oh dear. That is disturbing now isn’t it. I give you MAJAH kudos for tackling the flies chica.

    Listen, I know I haven’t been doing too much of the blogging thing since becoming a new mama but make sure you stop by and enter my giveaway. It’s a real goodie. A $70.00 gift certificate to use at ANY of the over 200 CSN stores!

    Maybe you can by fly swatters en mass?


  3. KMLiving says:

    Glad you bought a new shop vac filter….

  4. cindy says:

    yuck indeed! that picture should be entered in some kind of disgusting picture contest, I had to look away. great post.

  5. EWWWWW…. I seriously hate any types of rodents. That last picture was like a train wreck… I couldn’t stop looking at it.

  6. Well, that is terrible. I just had to bury a poor little chipmunk that must’ve been poisoned or something. I tried to save him when I found him, but water and granola had no affect and I came home from work to his little stiff carcass. Too bad.

  7. Wow. You are a brave, brave soul. And I’m so glad you found the source of the problem. YUCK.

  8. Erin says:

    ew. ew. ew. ew. ew…..
    I agree, a medal should be awarded for that degree of bravery! good thing you guys decided to fix that whole spot and not just patch it!!
    Oh and did I mention, EW!

  9. Quinn says:

    Sheesh I was reading this post like a suspense novel, just knew there would be something awful at the end. Thanks for the visual!

  10. Q&Z says:

    Best Story Yet.

  11. MEA says:

    I threw up in my mouth a lil… GROSS

  12. Katie says:

    Carrie! This post was hilarious! I laughed out loud and at work too…. oops!

    eww and that rat – grroooosss is right. i was not suspecting a close up picture of a dead rat when i scrolled down 🙂

  13. Pingback: Finally Some Pretty « brick city love

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