Do you remember when elementary schools would host haunted houses? They would turn off all of the lights in the gym or one of the classrooms and fill it with mazes of incredibly frightening things.
There would be monsters that would jump out of boxes and spiders would drop from the ceiling. There were always bowls that you would have to dip your hands into only to find it filled with brains (cold noodles) and eyeballs (grapes). The strobe lights would distort your reality of what was far away and what was about to get you.
Every corner you would turn would be filled with screams of fear not knowing what was going to come next. The anticipation would make your heart beat out of your chest and maybe even let a little pee sneak out. (Or so they say…it never happened to me…I swear.)
I hated these experiences. I am a scaredy cat. I always seemed to be the one the monsters would grab. (It could be that my sisters would shove me in the monsters arms and tell them to take me….but I’m sure they would dispute that fact.)
So the other week, all of these horrible moments came flashing back to me when my husband was out of town. He rarely ever travels for work but he had to be gone for a full week and I was alone….in a house…filled with monster and boogeymen potential.
During the daylight, I was fine. It was just another normal day. I did my wifely chores and errands. I planned out my meals. I was monster free!
As I made myself a big bowl of cold soba noodles (based off of a recent Bon Appetit recipe), I giggled remembering the fear as a kid of sticking my hand in that bowl and wondering if they still felt like “brains”.
The jocularity dissipated as the sun was setting. Every corner of the house got darker and I was positive that there were boogey men waiting to get me. (Boogey men stay away when my husband is around because they know they are no match for him.)
The first step was to turn on some lights. Okay, turn on all the lights. No wait, some of those lights are making shadows. How do I know if that is just a regular shadow or a monster waiting to get me? So I turned off some of them.
The next step was the booby traps. Booby traps were very popular in 1970’s sitcoms so this was an easy task. There were marbles on the floor by doors and bells on the windows. Plastic bags filled with cans were on doorknobs so I could hear them if they were jostled. I tossed some shoes randomly around the rooms so you couldn’t get past without stubbing a toe.
Strategically, I put chairs in some of the rooms so I could create a better chase if a zombie came to get me. (Everyone knows that zombies cannot handle a zigzag maze.)
Finally, I put on layers of clothing. I had on 4 pairs of underpants, 3 bras, two pairs of pajama pants and 2 sweatshirts. My thought was if a monster, boogeyman or zombie did get past one of my traps, he’d want to have sex with me and I was not going to make it easy for him to get to my lady bits. I figured he would get frustrated trying to undo at least one of the bras (because we all know men are never good at taking those off) and there were enough underpants on me to be reminiscent of a Russian nesting doll.
I was really feeling safer as I sat on my couch covered in blankets but then it got to be past midnight and I heard a bump in the night. What the hell was that? Did I forget to secure part of the house? I was really petrified.
I tiptoed around the house with the phone in my hand and peeked around each corner. I made sure none of the doors had been opened. I slipped on some of the marbles but luckily I had on enough clothing that I was cushioned when I fell.
I did stop in the kitchen and grab a few things….a bag of chips, a bowl of my cold soba noodles and a knife. (I put the knife back because even I realized that was taking it a step too far. You can’t stab a ghost! Silly.)
I climbed back onto the couch and sat on a seat that gave me the best view of all corners of the room. I just had to make it until daylight and I would be fine. I was doing great until I had to go to the bathroom. In my mind, if a scallywag is going to get you, it’ll be while you are on the toilet.
Like a ninja, I moved towards the bathroom. So far so good. I left the bathroom door open and turned on the faucet. (The running water would flush out the fiend immediately and I’d be safe because my pants would still be up!) No one popped out so I took a chance and went really quickly and got my armor back in place.
I looked behind the couch one more time before I settled in for the night. I put on some reality television (because we all know monsters had reality TV) and sat up pretty much all night.
As the sun started to rise, I felt great warmth in my heart knowing I survived the night. I waited another hour past sunrise before I disabled all my snares. (I had to make sure I gave all the intruders time to leave so I wouldn’t trap anything in my house.)
By Friday morning, I was exhausted. I hadn’t slept all week. There were remnants of my craziness all around the house. I had to sweep up the marbles, move the chairs back and disassemble the buckets of water situated over certain doorways. (These were put in place when I got a wrong number at 3 in the morning.)
I had to launder a massive amount of underwear because I had no clue what was clean or what was a shield. The pantry was cleaned out of snacks and I ate my last bowl of soba noodles for lunch.
- 8 Ounce package of soba noodles
- 1 Tbsp fresh ginger
- 1 Tbsp fresh garlic, chopped
- 1½ tsp sambal
- 2 Tbsp Light soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp mirin
- 2 Tbsp Yuzu (or lime juice)
- ½ tsp of red pepper flakes
- 2 green onions sliced, separating the white and green parts
- sesame oil
- a couple of Tbsp sesame seeds and noriflakes
- Cook noodles per package directions.
- Strain noodles well and transfer to a bowl.
- Drizzle with enough toasted sesame oil to make it shine. Put in fridge.
- In a small bowl, add ginger, garlic, samba, soy sauce, mirin, yuzu, red pepper flakes and white parts of the green onion.
- Whisk together.
- Once the noodles are REALLY chilled, add about half the sauce with the green part of the onions, your sesame seeds and the nori flakes.
- Coat the noodles.
- Keep adding the sauce until each noodle is covered.
- Sprinkle with extra sesame seeds if you like. Serve.
I survived….and I’ll be well rehearsed for next time.