As you may have noticed, my life consists of a series of biblical plagues.
Unlike rats, ants, lice, and flies, however, at least mice are cute. When you live next to a forest, mice are also inevitable.
Recently we observed evidence of mice in the house. Avoidance and denial immediately kicked in. The rustling noises could be ascribed to wind in the eaves. The teeny droppings in the corner were invisible as long as I didn’t wear my reading glasses. Allergies and PTSD have left me with a weak and unreliable sense of smell.
It was harder to ignore the cute little mouse as it scampered across the floor of my home office / dining room. We quickly shooed it out the door, and declared victory. In my family, if avoidance doesn’t work, stick with denial.
Eventually we bought some flimsy traps at Ace Hardware. The mice stole the bait and giggled. Finally, my landlord showed me the right kind of rodent poison. It looks like a stick of plastic explosive. Apparently it’s harmless to other species, tastes like peanut butter, and makes the mice want to go outside and wait in the woods for a quiet death with dignity.
Meanwhile, it was time to put my gloves and glasses on and clean the various trouble spots. I’m a big believer in Ockham’s razor, the principle that the simplest explanation for a phenomenon is usually correct. So I started by stripping the girls’ room to the baseboards. One of my daughters, I won’t say who, is a complete slob. More significantly, both girls have the disgusting and as-yet incorrigible habit of sneaking food up to their room and hiding whatever they don’t devour immediately. (In contrast, my room has a hermetically sealed fancy Tupperware bin for storing treats.) I didn’t find any evidence of mouse activity in the girls’ room, but I recovered a lot of missing dishes and flatware.
No longer able to ignore the ocular and olfactory proof, I next tackled the walk-in closet in the master bedroom. Someone had been gnawing at the stick of poison in the corner.
The original culprit was wedged behind a bookcase. Yes, our house has bookcases everywhere, including closets. I found the remains of a chocolate bunny with Butterfingers filling, still in the now-gnawed box. I bought the bunny at a post-Easter sale, for a gentleman caller with a fondness for Butterfingers. (Codependent people are always trying to take care of everyone else.) Sadly, like all men, he disappeared, and I repressed any memory of the rejected bunny.
The closet was due for spring cleaning anyway, and it felt good to declutter and sanitize. Along the way I ran into a groggy mouse at the bottom of the dirty clothes hamper. I cautiously carried it outside, and released it to go meet Dr. Kevorkian in the woods.
Eventually I found its nest, hidden like infant Ernest Worthing in a piece of carry-on baggage. The mouse had pilfered some of my green fuzzy fidget things, together with the lining from an old lawyer suit jacket, to make a home. I hadn’t even noticed they were missing. I don’t need them anymore. Well, not as much.