I was taking a shower, which was uneventful. Having finished, I got out, toweled off a bit, and then thought "Hmm, those sandals have been in the shower stall for awhile*, I shall move them."
I did so.
There were live wormy things under them. Small, black, very much alive...worms.
It would be nice to say that I handled this with my usual unshakable aplomb,** but the truth is that I screamed like a little girl, dropped the shoes, yelled an obscenity, staggered backward, skidded on the wet linoleum, yelped, and found myself on the opposite side of the bathroom, shuddering uncontrollably and frantically checking my feet to make sure nothing wormy had come in contact with my toes.
How the hell does one get WORMS in a shower? A second-story shower? I mean, sure, the spot under the soap has that kinda sticky build-up, okay, yeah, we get the hard water staining along the little metal door lip, but this is a reasonably clean shower! I have had cleaning PMS at this shower! NOTHING SURVIVES THAT!***
My first thought--they were very small, black, perhaps twice the size of a maggot and comparably shaped--was that we had somehow acquired shower leeches, which I don't think really exist, but was enough to make me consider taking my feet off at the ankles, just in case, or perhaps just bathing with the garden hose for the next decade.
Once I had calmed down a bit--mostly by Cloroxing the hell out of the worms, flushing them, throwing the shoes away, and then freaking out at Kevin, using words like "scrub" and "bleach" and "non-negotiable demands," which he handled very well, with assurances that he would scour the shower down to the porcelain, as well as some gratifying cries of "WORMS? WTF?!"--I went googling, and discovered that apparently this is not a terribly uncommon phenomenon, particularly for people on septic systems. The worms were in fact the larvae of the drain fly, which feeds on organic matter trapped in drains, the adults of which we had noticed, but which were sufficiently small that we just assumed it was gnats or fruit flies or whatever. The larvae generally stay in the drains, but possibly the area under the sandal was sufficiently protected and moist as to provide a habitat.
Fortunately for my peace of mind, it's not due to failure of cleaning, but apparently to the set-up of the drains as to whether there are nooks where organic matter can hang up, and whether there is sufficient water flow to flush it out--which, for a bachelor living mostly alone for over a year, there probably wasn't--and being on a septic system makes one much more prone to it.
The only solution is, unfortunately, pesticide. Much as I am opposed to pesticides, here I draw the line--I will NOT share the shower with maggots. If I have to pour poison down the drain, so be it. I am as ecologically minded as the next person, but there are limits.
Blaaaaarrrggh. That'll wake you up in the morning...
ETA: Okay, I found an enzymatic drain cleaner that's supposed to be safe for septic systems and will clean out the gunk from the pipes. It's at least a stopgap until I can order the stuff that's supposed to eat the slime and whatnot, and apparently it will not require poisoning the world. At any rate, I needed something that goes down the pipes NOW, TONIGHT, because I cannot handle taking a shower with the knowledge that there is a swarm of little wigglies just under my feet. I have limits.
*You know, the usual "Something vile has happened to these sandals, and while they have been cleaned, I am still a little iffy on them, so I will toss them in a corner of the shower to steam clean for a bit. Then I will forget they are there."
**I keep hoping that if I claim to have it, it will become true.
***Seriously. Men have died.