wheel of morality, turn turn turn

April 23, 2012

When you have mice in your house, and I don't mean in a cage with little shirts on, it's a bad idea to keep your trash just lying out on the ground for God and the world and the mice to see. I'm not saying that we just toss litter whimsically across our floor, because that would be gross– it's inside an actual garbage bag, but then no one moved the bag and it's waiting in the middle of the floor to serve a feast to our small unwelcome guests. Or maybe they are welcome, since I seem to be feeding them*.

I can't put the trash bag away like a proper human because a month ago, for my birthday, I baked myself cupcakes and accidentally used the plain white cake mix instead of the kind with the funfetti sprinkles mixed in. When I noticed that there weren't little specks of fun and joy in my bowl I cried actual tears onto my face. Jon tried to persuade me that they were really the same thing since the specks have no flavour but we all know he's completely biased when it comes to sprinkles and is not to be trusted.

"But they're NOT the same, they're not!" I wailed, and I threw the entire slop violently into the trash can. That probably would have been fine, except unbeknownst to me the toddler had removed the can's protective stomach lining, and because I was crying I didn't see that the bag was askew so I left it there for several days brewing the world's most ulcerous case of salmonella. So you see, I can't use my trash can because it's outside on the deck covered in cake batter waiting to be sprayed with the hose. That was a month ago, and I think maybe I was hoping it would just lure the mice back outside. Look guys, I brought half a cake!

Wait wait wait, let's start from the beginning.

Our house is old. When I say that people often misconstrue that as "Herbert Hoover" old when in fact I am referring to "Ulysses S. Grant" old. That's a funny joke if you know all the Presidents of the United States in order by year or the American History of Beards, so probably not that great a joke after all. You have the google, don't you? Great I'll see you back here in five minutes.

Like most old houses it has old house problems. These include but are not limited to: drafts, uneven floors, wiring inside the walls made out of car parts, corroded plumbing, mysterious noises from within, and mice. We don't have mice all the time, because we aren't filthy and horrible, but let's just say this ain't our first rodeo roundup. I'm speaking of The Great Mouse Saga of 2010, and while I would rather forget that ever happened it is a superior story if you're not actually living it and it ends with mass muuurrrrrder, like all the best stories do.

Two weeks ago we were sitting on the couch in post-dinner coma watching My Three Deans, which is what we call Supernatural for reasons that should be obvious. In season one it was often My Four Deans, or even one time My Five Deans, but in later seasons it's actually only My Two Deans, but three is the funniest number. This is often confusing when narrating to someone in the other room who is making dinner or using the bathroom, because "Dean's going into the house!" quickly degenerates into, "Wait– which Dean? Old Dean or new Dean or Dad-Dean?" "DEAN Dean." "Okay. Got it." "Okay, now Dean is talking to Dean-Dean about vampires. Dad-Dean just walked in and hugged Dean." "Which Dean?" Annnnnd Fin, we have aligned the Möbius.

In a strikingly similar succession of events, we didn't have to go looking for the mouse because he came looking for us. He sashayed his way across the living room passing directly in front of the television before ducking under the closet door. He was walking with such determination there was no way we could miss him and I can only assume it's because his GIANT BRASS BALLS were slowing him down.

I didn't even have the heart to "EEEEEE!" properly, I just kind of shrugged and went into the kitchen. I came back resigned with a flashlight and a bowl and we emptied the closet until only one hiding spot remained. When we yanked it into the air he went flying into the living room and scurried underneath the couch where both of our dogs were in a deep, peaceful, completely useless sleep.

Knowing what was ahead Jon drove off into the night to fetch traps while I scrubbed every available surface with steel wool and bleach in a blind panic. I actually find mice adorable, but every time I see one running around my house I can't help but think about the trail of pee they're probably leaving everywhere and those ponies come back in from the pasture where they've been resting and they tap dance all over my skin. PLEASE, NO PEEING. JUST LET THERE BE NO PEEING. SEND THE PONIES AWAY.

This was how you could have found me, at 11:42pm, frantically scrubbing every piece of Tupperware I own with scalding hot water and bleach, burning the skin off all my fingers. I scrubbed and scrubbed and my hair caught in the wind, burning through soap until a branch cut a perfect line into my cheek and I flew desperately faster, gripping my box of mismatched lids to my chest and shouting back across the river, "IF YOU WANT THEM, COME AND CLAIM THEM."

By morning, though, Brass Balls was gluesomely dispatched. This time we knew what we were doing and we weren't fucking around. That didn't stop Harlan from clomping into the living room with a glue trap stuck to his foot like a canoe paddle. How he got his leg several feet behind the refrigerator I don't want to know, I suppose it's just one of the many things we have to chock up to having uncontrollable muppet-arms. Forgive him, he's still new here.

AND THAT IS THE END OF THIS NON-MULTI-PART STORY.

I hope.

*I am not actually feeding them. There's like, mostly not even food in that bag and to my knowledge and all my Sherlocking, no other mice. It might, however, be feeding the dogs who venture into the kitchen occasionally and snuffle into the bag with their noses while I yell, "Youuuuu DOOOOOOOGS!" from the other room and then still don't move the bag.

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