We’ll return to posting about Japan…eventually. Right now I have to clear my mindwebs, which are like cobwebs without insect-eating arachnids patrolling the grounds. Actually, that’s rather apt, because today’s entry deals with the home and the cleanliness thereof. Let us begin.
In the beginning, there was a word, and that word was “Hoarders“. I can’t stop watching. We burned through the first season on Netflix Instant, stopping mid-episode to run into our bedrooms and clear the bookshelves and DVD towers of anything that had not been watched or read in the last year. I scrubbed my bookshelves while Tom organized his trunk of traveling memorabilia into bags and began looking for the best online storage site to house his files as he begins the process of scanning his memories to PDF. I ripped through this house like a woman possessed, working like Madame Dorothy Breininger herself was chasing me with a list of life-affirming goals and a flame thrower powered by righteousness and antiseptic spray. How a person becomes a hoarder is fascinating to me, although I think the show is deeply flawed in its premise. If losing a home, a marriage, a child, or having nearly-fossilized cats in your home cannot convince you that there is a problem, even the glorious beacon of tidy light that is Dorothy (or any of the other mental health and/or organization professionals whose names I don’t care enough about to remember; for me there is only Dorothy) probably isn’t enough to keep you from relapsing.
And with visions of dust-catching Dorothy dancing in your head, I shall bring you into the next part of the story.
Do you guys remember when I lost my mind a little bit over the bug issue? Well, those damn freeloaders have mostly gone away, thanks to vigilance, a few baits set much higher up than they used to be, and liberal applications of tea tree oil. I have no idea if the tea tree oil actually works, but I’m pleased with the absence of bugs in my home. Those bugs have no place in a residence devoid of clutter and freshly scented with lavender and baked cookies.
Well, as the guy once said “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” There was a massive rainstorm the other day and minor flooding, which I paid no mind until I was sitting at my dining room table wrapping holiday gifts and sipping a festive Fezziwig Ale, basking in a glow of homey goodness and light. And then a little dash of black, just past the corner of my eye, bolted through the kitchen. As my happy light snuffed just as surely as if a fat man had covered it with his ass cheeks, I forced myself to look in the direction of a kitchen. And sure as rats fled the waters rushing the Titanic, so had this mouse sought higher ground in my apartment.
I’m proud of myself. I didn’t scream. I very calmly yet urgently alerted Tom to the situation and promptly renounced all forms of feminism, falling back on several generations of gender-specific absolutes to absolve me from any responsibility in the matter. MY problem HAS a name, Betty Friedan, and its name is “THERE’S A GODDAMN MOUSE IN MY KITCHEN” and quite frankly, I would rather move than kill it myself, so I’m leaving it to the Y-chromosome carrying member of the house to dispatch the cheese-stealing bastard.
[Unrelated, or possibly very related: I had a guest post submission rejected recently on the grounds that this blog is not G nor PG rated. I cannot IMAGINE how the editor might have gotten that idea.]
I digress. There was a mouse in my house and while I find tiny seed-eating gray field mice like the one that crashed my friend Kelley’s outdoor wedding adorable, I harbor neither love nor shelter for its trash-consuming urban cousin. Having dealt with rodent roommates before, Tom discussed my options:
- Poison (rejected; weight of furniture and possibility of it dying where we could not dispose of the body, smells, also the baby)
- Conventional mousetraps (rejected; Tom says they are only to be used to power model cars that he will one day build with Maggie, which I chose not to get into at the time but you bet I’ll be revisiting the mechanics of that little Goldbergian fantasy)
- Sticky traps (hmm…)
- No-kill traps (rejected; guys…I…yeah. I’m not futzing around with a no-kill trap. I’m sorry that I’m NOT sorry that I want a disease-carrying vermin of which we have a deplorable excess in the population dead. As I’m sure Tyra tells her top model rejects privately when the cameras are off, they are not cute enough to live).
This left us with sticky traps, which I had never heard of. In nearly a decade of urban dwelling this was my first mouse and I am not equipped to handle domestic crises well, so this sounded like a better option than burning the apartment building to rubble and living in the backseat of the Fit. Tom explained how the mice get stuck to the traps (in retrospect, I’m a little embarrassed he had to explain that much) and then he would dispose of the mouse.
“Dispose how? You don’t just throw it away and let it starve to death in agony, do you?” Hey, I may want it dead, but if at all possible it should be a quick one.
“Remember those big boots I got when I was at the Marine camp in Africa?”
“Death by smoosh.”
“I see. Carry on!”
Tom promised he would get some sticky traps the next day, but we would just have to go to bed with the knowledge that Mickey’s urban meth addict cousin was chilling behind our dishwasher. But my little mental gears started to slowly grind, and as the smoke accumulated in my brain I thought “What would Dorothy do?” She would improvise! She would be resourceful! She would not let her home fall prey to such an unworthy opponent!
Sticky traps, I thought to myself as I slowly worked my resolve and willpower back into an approximation of gender equity. You’d just need a strong adhesive and a little incentive. Surely I can come up with a plan that will resolve this matter before dawn!
Tom was gracious enough not to laugh at me as I lined the cookie sheet with sticky-side up duct tape and sprinkled his $7/box Kashi on top, and even called me cute, which is so much nicer than calling the mother of your child a fucking spaz. He humored my whim and we went to bed, me taking half steps and shuffling in the hopes of catching it in the act again.
Y’all, it breaks my heart to tell you that there is one thing that duct tape cannot do: it cannot trap a determined mouse and render it immobile enough for stomping. Surely this level of dismay is on par with a religious betrayal; for those of you who worship at silver-taped altars, perhaps it is. To the surprise of absolutely no one, the next morning revealed an absence of both mouse and Kashi in my homemade tape trap.
At this point, the sticky traps have now been out for a few days and the only thing it has caught is a gecko who became collateral damage in our attempt to get the damn mouse, so I can only assume that the bugs are going to return. This is what happens when Man screws with the ecosystem. I’ve had nightmares about mice crawling in my hair (oh please oh please LET THOSE BE NIGHTMARES AND NOT REAL REPRESSED MEMORIES) every night since our first discovery, but there is no evidence of other mousely activity in our home. I’m just going to keep on whipping my head around and straining my neck every five seconds to see if I can get another sighting until Tom has me committed to either a psychiatrist’s or chiropractor’s care.
Saint Dorothy, who art in Tidy Heaven, hallowed be thy cleaning spray, please let this be over soon.
ETA: So immediately after I hit publish, Tom casually informed me that our little enemy (“Tom, should we name it?” “WHAT? NO.” “No, like a nemesis name!” “No.”) was darting across our kitchen. From my birds-eye vantage point on top of the counter, I observed Tom’s efforts to drive it out from behind the refrigerator and asked a number of questions that I don’t *think* will result in our divorce, but may have definitely led to Tom’s IQ being lowered by virtue of proximity:
“What if it dies behind the refrigerator? What if it eats through the wires?” “It hasn’t yet; it probably won’t.”
“Can you smoke it out?” “…What?”
“How many sticky traps do we have left?” “Just one.” JUST ONE?! YOU ONLY BOUGHT ONE PACK?!” “I am confident we will resolve this in the next 48 hours.” “GODDAMMIT.”
“Tom…should I be live-blogging this?” It should be noted that his pause before asking “Is anyone we know still awake?” was accompanied by an expression best left to the imagination.
To be continued.