After I graduated from college, I moved in with Mom and got my first teaching job. We lived in military housing in Great Lakes, Illinois. The house was fabulous with a great kitchen, cute little sunroom that we spent most of our time in, 3 main bedrooms, and even a freaky 3rd floor that could have been haunted. It was a huge house, but very charming. We felt like plantation owners, especially when Mom hosted events and the Navy sent over cooks and servers. It was way cool.
The one thing that sucked about the house was the lack of air conditioning. Mom purchased a couple of window units, and I won the random drawing to have one in my room (a.k.a. The Mother's Guilt Raffle). Some dudes came and installed it, and I soon began to enjoy the fresh breeze of fake air. Ahhhhhhh.
One day we started noticing these weird bugs throughout the house - one in the bathtub, one in the kitchen sink. "Ew!" we'd shout, then crush it's hairy body with the nearest item we could find. As the summer wore on and turned to fall, the hairy things started appearing more often. Once I had to get up in the middle of the night and I sensed something. Normally, turning on the bedroom light just to go pee would never happen. But something was there. I turned on the lamp and what I saw still makes me shiver. There were at least 10 hairy, nasty centipedes on my ceiling and walls. I quickly killed them. Little did I know, installing the air conditioning had opened the doorway to centipede
After a while, killing centipedes became routine. Each night, I would get my trusty tennis racket (or the broom if they were in a particularly hard to reach spot) and make my rounds. In the instance that one of the bastards escaped my nightly killings, I would do what any normal person would do - I would wrap every inch of my body in the sheets, leaving a small space for my nose. I wasn't about to let some nasty bug crawl all over me in the middle of the night. (This trick also works for husbands, ladies.)
Then, came THE night. The night to end all nights. The night where my annoyance and slight fear of centipedes turned into a psychotic freak show. T was with me. In fact, I blame him a little for the downward spiral that nearly put me in the nut hut. Middle of the night. After the nightly killings. T awoke with a fright, ripped the covers off the bed and may have yelled "It's ON YOUR FACE!" I fell out of the bed, fought my desire to barf, and began to cry.
After this horrific nearly-break-the-barf-streak night, I took up residence in the sunroom. I had never seen a centipede there. I made the sofa bed and basically lived out of there for a month or two. Exterminators came and went, left traps, poison, and advice to just "live with them." Every centipede sighting set me over the edge. I screamed, I cried, I lost all control. I never slept, I was seeing centipedes in my sleep. I had an obsessive-compulsive nighttime routine. Centipedes were hitching rides in my bag and scaring the kids at school. They showed up at T's apartment when I went for visits. There was no escaping. The lowest night of all was when I saw a centipede crossing the floor and heading toward my sanctuary, the sunroom. I think I cried all night, continuously having to dart out from my sheet burqa to blow my nose. Finally, I saw a therapist.
I moved out of the plantation shortly thereafter.
And I still check the ceilings every single night.