Nor do I want to be if it involves singing to, and being friends with, disgusting rodents...er, I mean mice.
I realize that I should love all God's creatures, but I have to be honest with you, I HATE MICE. Hate them. Despise them. And truthfully, they scare me to an almost paralyzed paranoia that I realize that for a grown women is quite ridiculous. But let's face it, we are all scared of something that is considered silly by others. For me it is mice and coyotes (yes, coyotes, but I can save that for another time to share with you!)
Fair warning- this is not one of my normal blog posts. This is a simple, but true, story about, well, mice. What you are about to read is for entertainment purposes only! Hopefully, you will find it humorous!
THE PANTRY MICE PLIGHT
It was a seemingly normal Tuesday morning, one where I awoke early to do my morning workout. On this particular morning, I did a quick run (by quick, I mean I barely made it a mile as it was so cold and slick outside, thanks to our winter weather. And by run, I mean a very, very slow jog because, well, I am not very fast.) I came back into the house and entered the kitchen thinking that since it was 6am, I should probably take advantage of the fact that I was, for once, not running late, and make my son's lunch. I heard a suspicious sound coming from the kitchen pantry, that is directly left of our refrigerator. I say suspicious as I had heard this sound earlier, but let it go thinking it was another weird sound that our refrigerator often makes. Upon further review, I realized those sounds had actually come from the pantry earlier that morning and late the previous night!!!
My heart began beating rapidly. My breathing became shallow and hurried. I felt the sensation of panic creep up my spine while my stomach clenched into knots. I knew what these sounds could only be, and I prayed with all my might that I would not actually have to see mice. I crept ever so slowly the ten paces from one side of my kitchen to the other, where the noise in my pantry was coming from. Scratch, scratch. I could hear, what I assumed was my sons cereal, being tampered with and eaten. My stomach did a final turnover as I grabbed the handle to the pantry door and quickly swung it open. I held my breath as I came face to face with not one, but THREE PAIR OF EYES from the fattest mice I have ever seen! Without hesitation, I SCREAMED!!!!
I screamed "Mice! Mice! We've got mice!!!" My eight year old son, Lane, came running from his bedroom to aid in the protection of his poor mommy who was near hysteria. While he certainly was taken aback by the fact that three mice were staring at us, he was not nearly as frightened at me and responded with, "Mom, it's just mice. It's okay! Get Jeb!" Yes! The loyal Red-Bone Coon Hound that has been known to chase, and tree, the neighbors cat on the rare occasion he escapes his leash, who has a nose to smell even the slightest bunny track, the dog who has protected me from coyotes (ok, ok, so we only heard them barking and baying far off in the distance, but Jeb knew I was afraid and hugged my side the entire run, er, really slow jog, back home!) "JEB! JEB! MICE! Sic them! Kill!!!" To my horror and surprise, that dumb dog nonchalantly waltzed over, took one look at the mice, and if dogs could literally shrug their shoulders, that is definitely what my dog did. I could even tell he thought those disease carrying varmints were cute!
Meanwhile, as I was screaming like the best horror movies scream queen, those three mice went about their business, enjoying the Honey Bunches of Oats, sugar, and sweet potatoes they found so delectable in my pantry. I noticed then, there were two more fat mice at the bottom of my pantry. I jumped about five feet back (those two mice were at least gracious enough to act afraid of me and scurried to the back corner of the pantry to hide from me!) and decided it was TIME TO FACE MY FEARS! Well, okay, reality set in the I had been facing my fears for a few minutes now, looking deep into the eyes of three, very much NOT blind, mice.
I did what I could only think of doing- I grabbed my cell phone and began sending SOS messages to everyone who I thought would respond to my plea for help. Sadly, my husband, who was already at work, told me it wasn't a big deal and I could worry about it after school. (I am a middle school teacher, after all, and was supposed to be getting ready to head to school!) I was angered by the fact that my husband did not realize my urgency to ride the house, kitchen, and pantry of these mice, and all the germs I knew they had brought into my home. My two teaching partners, whom I had also texted, completely ignored me, probably wondering how strong my coffee was that morning! I had also texted my sister, who, even though was mocking me, did a decent job of talking me off the ledge. (really, I wasn't on any ledge, but she let me freak out about the mice and at least SHE understood why I was so upset that mice were no doubt defecating on our food!) So, I did what I felt was the most sane and responsible thing to do: I put in for an emergency substitute and emailed our head secretary that I had mice in my pantry and could not possibly come to work today if I knew those mice were still in my house. Luckily, I have a very wonderful friend in the secretary who expressed who concern for me, agreeing the mice absolutely needed to go! Whew!
So, while I proceeded with creating sub plans to get sent in, getting Lane ready for school, and coming up with my game plan to send those mice a-packing, I told my dog to stand guard. He decided standing guard was to lay on his doggy bed and eventually fall asleep. I left the pantry door wide open, as if to dare the mice to come out. Because what would I have done then? Said thank-you for visiting and sharing our food, even though you were uninvited, and then shown them to the front door??? No, I decided if I didn't see where they were, I was better off. I took Lane to school then headed over to our local Home Depot, where I spent nearly $50 on all the latest mouse torture and killing devices. I do apologize to those of you who will not appreciate the next part of this writing, as I do talk about how I took pleasure in finding the demise of the mice!
Once home, I put on my thick rubber gloves (because I didn't want to touch anything the mice had touched, or, Heaven Forbid! one of the mice themselves, since I really didn't know where the mice ran off to!) I had teased to my sister that I needed to wear a Haz-Mat suit to clean out my pantry, but truly, if you could have seen me that day, I wasn't too far off with all the layers, rubber coverings, and oxygen mask I wore! With the end of the broom handle, I quickly poked around in the pantry to see if the mice were still there. Jeb the dog had come over to see what I was doing, and I'm sure he was hoping for some treats out of the pantry, but when he saw me quickly filling garbage bags with everything from the pantry, he quickly became uninterested and went back to his state of "On Guard" by falling asleep on his bed.
The process of deciding what items to keep and what items to throw away took a good part of the day. Once I decided what I could handle keeping, I took bleach water and Lysol wipes to everything, trying to ease my mind that any germs left behind were now gone, gone, gone. My pantry is now so organized, and sanitary, with almost all contents double sealed up into plastic bins! I had heard that mice do not like Peppermint Oil, so I doused the whole floor of the pantry in the peppermint oil, just for good measure. I finished off the pantry with setting not one, but three different kinds of mouse traps. Then I set several more around the kitchen. Then, just because I had bought so many traps, I continued to set about a dozen more in and near the garage where I bet the mice came in from. (I mean really, it is freezing outside! Obviously there is no room in the Country Mouse Inn...but that does NOT mean I am going to be hospitable to them!!!)
My oldest son came out of his bedroom and said, "I don't want to alarm you, but I am 99% positive that a mouse just darted across my room." Bless my son's heart, after my protesting that he couldn't possibly sleep in his room because what if the mouse had rabies and attacked him during the night, Luke calmly patted my back in a "there, there" kind of way, got one of the many mouse traps, and set it in his room and went to bed! Such a brave young man!
Within an hour of going to bed the evening of that eventful Tuesday, I heard the first SNAP! Soon after a second SNAP! I smiled with glee knowing my furry friends were quickly headed off the Mouse Heaven (listen, I don't know if there is a Mousey Heaven, but since God created all creatures, great and small, and because I am not a heartless as you may be thinking right now, I like to think there are some pearly, or maybe cheesey, gates for those mice to enter!) By the next morning, four mice had found that Stoney's Kitchen was no place to find a free breakfast!
I have learned much from this experience. First, keep a clean kitchen and pantry. Don't get lazy and snack on food, letting in drop on the floor, and think "oh, I'll pick that up later" then push it into the pantry floor. I am certain that is what has happened in our home, because I will tell you, these mice really were a blessing because I didn't realize how badly I needed to clean!!! Yuck! (And just ask the poor husband, I have been yelling every since Tuesday anytime he starts snacking, because am willing to bet, he is the culprit!) Second, I learned that the Home Depot sales associates do not think I am a crazed lunatic, after all, they were making a bit of money off my extreme non-tolerance of the mice! I think they even got a good chuckle out of my story. But it was really Mr. Anderson at the Coast to Coast Ace Hardware store (I had to stop there because I had forgotten to purchase my Haz-Mat cleaning materials and luckily, the store is in downtown Centralia on my way home and they always have EVERYTHING you need!) that I had learned about the peppermint oil, Bounce dryer sheets, and that it is actually VERY common this time of the year to have grotesque, I mean, little mice come into the home. Mr. Anderson assured me I was not a poor housekeeper or home owner! Thank goodness! And the last thing I learned is this- whom ever thought up having Disney princesses befriend and sing to mice and other dirty little creatures really had a screw loose!!! Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, (shall I go on?) all giggled and told mice, or other skitter y little animals, how sweet and cute they were, picking them up and even kissing them! If that is what it takes to be a Disney Princess, I AM OUT!
Thanks for reading today. I know this blog has absolutely NOTHING to do with life coaching (although I could find a way to relate it back to life coaching, facing your fears, setting goals, being a better person, if you just gave me a little time) or anything else I normally write about, I just thought a little laughter was a great way to start your week. And it allowed me to tell you a very true, very scary, and yes, very funny story about those gosh darned mice!