Dan called me from work yesterday, his voice somber. “I have something to tell you,” he said.
“Okay?” My heart started racing.
“So, how’s your anxiety?”
“Oh, for the love, you’re freaking me out. Did you lose your job?”
“No. I saw something in the garage this morning.”
“A mouse?” I said with my tiniest voice.
“Where was it?”
“I won’t tell you that.”
Now, you should know that I have a near-psychotic fear of rodents. I’ve improved over the years and even worked with a therapist to resolve some of my issues but I’d still classify myself as a grade A level phobic.
I don’t want to be afraid and logically I know they’re no big deal. I tell myself that they are just teeny and harmless.
I tell myself that what I should really do is make them tiny shoes and hats like Cinderella and encourage them to fashion me a stunning gown for the ball.
But I am as yet unable to turn off the drama. Mice trigger an intense physical reaction, panic, inability to regulate body temperature, teeth-chattering body tremors. It’s not pretty.
So I fought it as hard as I could and we did some clean-up in the garage, throwing out tons of food, craft supplies and cloth items. The mice had chewed through our winter coats and pooped in my yarn bucket. The sad thing is that many of these things were in Rubbermaid totes that I didn’t take the two seconds required to snap shut so the critters got in and violated the contents.
Knowing my level of anxiety over these bad boys, my friend Erin dropped everything and came over to help me for a couple of hours. She even took charge of cleaning out the scariest boxes, boxes of clothes that just screamed, “Build a nest in me so you can birth several truckloads of pink slimy babies!” I have yet to choose an appropriate gift to reward her bravery and valor.
We cut off their food supply, throwing out anything that they’d chewed on or opened and Dan bought an arsenal of mouse-fighting tools. My favorite is a little box that zaps them when they step inside. Then a little light flashes on the outside of the box so you know to go dump the corpse in the yard waste bin.
On top of that, to stop my adrenalin from ripping my insides to shreds in a series of panic attacks, we called in an exterminator who charged us a billion dollars for a year of service, only to tell us that the destruction in the garage looked like the work of probably one or two mice.
Well we’ve already caught two mice ourselves so that was a pretty expensive visit just to give me peace of mind. Alas. It looked like a lot of poop to me. I thought we had an army of mice out there. However, according to the exterminator, mice are incontinent and poop falls out everywhere they walk so they’re always “producing”. Then they use the trail of poop to find their way around. They are prolific poopers.
Maybe that’s why my kids never flush the toilet and leave dirty clothes, lego and pencils all over the house. They just want to mark their territory so they can successfully navigate our house.