Swapping House Stories

Do you love old houses?

They certainly give one lots of stories to talk about when strained for a conversation starter!

We’ve lived in a 100+ year old house for 15 years. And do I have stories!

 Signed WallOur house was the inspiration for the house Becki Graw inherits from her grandparents in Fatal Inheritance. Except I didn’t have enough space to include all the fun little tidbits I could have.

From the first night we moved into our house, we knew we were in for an adventure. My daughter, then nine, discovered a deer mouse in her room after bedtime. She caught it and showed us her new pet in the morning.

 imagine image of mouse here

I didn’t want to make anyone squirm 😉

We were a little freaked, because this was not long after a farmer out east had died from a disease carried by such mice, soooo we explained that deer mice belonged outside.

And then adopted a cat. 🙄

Of course that meant by spring—Easter day to be exact—we had kittens! We even got to see them being born. My children were thrilled.

kittensOther wonderful surprises came with spring. The former owner had been an avid gardener, so the property soon bloomed with crocuses and tulips and hyacinths and daffodils and forsythia and honeysuckle and lilacs and fruit tree blossoms. Every week it seemed we were treated to the beauty of a different flowering tree or shrub.

tulips2Being an avid gardener myself (at that time), I set to work preparing a front flowerbed for annuals and had a not-so-nice surprise!

Our basement walls are constructed of farm stones, which means lots of little holes. As I’m on my hands and knees in my flowerbed, snakes coming out of hibernation began to drop from the wall into the bed. Picture the snake scene in Indiana Jones here.

You don’t need a picture, right?


I’m not fond of snakes so let’s just say I waited a few days before finishing that flowerbed. 😕

Of course, having snakes in the wall meant that occasionally they’d find their way inside, too. One spring I went downstairs to find a three-foot, 1 ½ inch diameter, black snake lying in my path. I’d never seen such a big one outside of a zoo. Luckily hubby was home. So he donned leather gloves and carried the guy out to the woods…after admiring it for awhile. <shiver>

Our wildlife adventures weren’t limited to mice and snakes either. We had the requisite bat in the belfry, but we also had bees—wasps to be precise.

They apparently hibernated in our attic and would invade the rest of the house through light fixtures in the spring. They tormented us for several years, until one year I opened the door to my daughter’s bedroom and found a three-foot long swarm of them covering half her window.

Whoa, talk about freaked out!

If they’d been honeybees, I would probably have called a local honey guy to come smoke them out and save them, but wasps are downright vicious. We’d been stung enough times to know!

Thankfully, I had a can of wasp spray in the house that could shoot ten feet across the room. I shut the door, ran downstairs for the can, then quietly reopened the door, and using it as cover, like a cop facing down a bad guy, I blasted the swarm. It worked. Best of all, it also took care of our wasp problem.

In the years since, we’ve only seen the odd wasp in the house.

I won’t even visit the construction issues we’ve faced over the years. From the first rainstorm, when I found myself literally taping heavy-duty vapor barrier over an entire window and half the wall to keep out rain and wind, we’ve affectionately (and sometimes, not so affectionately) called the place the money pit.

Did I mention it had no insulation?

And that I live in Canada? …you know, land of igloos.

Wow, now that I’ve shared these stories, I wish I’d gotten some of them into my book. The swarming wasps would have been fun to make my heroine face.

Your Turn: How about you? Have you ever lived in an old house? I’d love to hear your favorite old house story! In fact, I won’t post a new blog next Monday, but hope you’ll stop by to read the stories that others share throughout the week.

P.S. Guess what I just learned this past weekend?! RT Book Reviews gave Fatal Inheritance a 4 1/2 star review. Yee!

She said, “The suspense is laced with the right amount of romance to keep readers thoroughly engaged throughout this fantastic novel.”