Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Corpse in My Closet

Warning: photo illustrations in this post are not for the squeamish or faint of heart.

I have a little secret, which up until now was only known to one other person. Why I'm broadcasting it to all of bloggersville I do not know...therapy? sympathy? snickers? boredom?
Here's the deal: I hate mice.
I mean, I really, REALLY loathe mice. A lot. More than just about anything.
This is not a problem so long as mice obey the rules and stay in their wild and natural OUTDOOR habitat. Unfortunately, some maverick mice exploited a small crack they found in the garage floor and ended up INDOORS, specifically, inside my basement food storage room. And let's face it--a basement food storage room is pretty much Mouse Nirvana. Just like Lehi called to all of his family to come taste the fruit of the Tree of Life, my rodent invaders apparently invited the clan over for a tasting fair, compliments of Wendy's grocery stash.
My specific complaint with mice is their tendency to bring out the most freaky aspects of my character. I pride myself on maintaining control in all situations, keeping a cool head under stress, and dealing with life in a mature fashion. Mice blow that all to heck. Even dead mice. The one and only time I dealt with a dead mouse in a mousetrap all by myself was not a pretty scene. It took me three days to talk myself into doing it, which was enough time for the mouse to start decomposing and smelling rank(er). I changed into old clothes that could be thrown away afterward. I tied plastic grocery bags over my shoes so that I wouldn't accidentally track rodent-germs anywhere else. I used three garbage bags--one to put the mouse & trap in, another to put the first bag in, and yet another to hold that double-packaged parcel before dumping it all in the outdoor garbage bin. I used latex gloves, but still couldn't bear the thought of picking up the mousetrap, so I found kitchen tongs--very long kitchen tongs--and tossed them in the garbage after The Deed was completed. If I'd had a spare Hazmat suit sitting around the house, you can bet I would have suited up. It took ten minutes to get down the half-flight of stairs into the basement, mostly repeating positive affirmations out loud, like: "I can do this, I can do this, I can do this, I can do this--for crying out loud, Wendy, get a grip! It's just a dead mouse. YUCK! A dead mouse!!! I can do this, I can do this..." By the time I got to the mouse I was hyperventilating. And crying. And feeling extremely grateful that no one could see me. I only screamed a tiny bit, though, so I think the positive affirmations worked.
Loads of De-Con and cases of mousetraps later, not to mention several sealed-off holes in the garage floor and the passage of nearly a year, I have just recently started to feel semi-comfortable going down to the basement again. It's been about ten months since the last mouse sighting; I'm starting to hope that my home has been taken off the list of top-ten rodent vacation spots. The thought of cleaning out the room is a bit overwhelming. For the past few weeks I've been making a weekly trip down to the storage room, filling one garbage bag at a time with junk, and hauling it out. Just knowing that mice have been there is gross, but since there aren't any actual mice, I've actually been handling the cleaning task with a modicum of maturity and sanity.

Until today. I pulled out a bag of pasta and came eye-to-eye with this:

Yeah, that would be a mostly-decomposed mouse corpse, surrounded by mouse feces and I-don't-want-to-know-what-else.

You bet your sweet booty I screamed. Loudly. I made it up that half-flight of stairs in one leap, and that's no small feat for a chubby, huffy, nearing-middle-age Mommy.

I won't tell you what it took to get me back down there to take the picture, but it involved ingesting pills that made me feel all floaty and nice and even able to think about mice with only a little bit of shuddering and whimpering. This is SOOO not cute.

On the other hand, these folks have the right idea. If only their aim were better.

I think my plan at this point is to lay big ol' cinder blocks across the doorway to the storage room, with thick layers of mortar between them. The mouse vault can be sealed off from the rest of the house. I'll keep food storage items in the laundry room. The rodents can rest in peace and I can give the happy pills back to B.


Monica English said...

I'm SO proud of you! Talk about brave. Okay, I'm laughing too ... Good job, way to be mama bear.

Becky said...

That was hilarious! I'm all for feel-good pills for situations such as yours. We should call you Wendy Braveheart for your courage in confronting the evil Knight Sir I-almost-got-away-but-died-in-your-food-storage-instead. I wonder how much that HASMAT suit of armor would cost? You should have seen me and Chris last winter in a duel with just one mouse. He somehow sneaked into the outer back of our frig behind some cardboard designed to hide the electrical stuff. We hit it pretty good back there with our broom. We didn't even consider that that might be bad for the refrigerator. We never saw him again. I didn't smell anything so he must have taken his bags and left after our simple gesture of unwelcome-ness. I too am not a fan. Oh ya, and we also plugged up holes with towels and the buggers chewed right through them!

Tiauna Elise Beckes said...

Just for the record, and in the interest of saving various reputations, the aforementioned happy pills attributed to me, Ms B., were over the counter, benign Happy Pills, and not even labeled as such. Wendy was simply using extras that were lying around in my drawer. I'm just glad she stayed awake long enough to dispose of the mouse! Icky, icky mouse!!! (giggle)

-Ms. B., not Tiauna, but I don't know how to change it. She does have a lovely picture, though!

Edgy said...

You need a dog. Just sayin'.

The American Homemaker said...

You sound just like me!!! The thing is, I've had mice in other houses I've lived in and FREAKED every time I've had to deal with them dead or alive.

In the house I'm in now, I've found five snakes IN MY BEDROOM in a year!!! Snakes are WAY worse than mice! At least mice are cute in their disgusting disease-filled, ruin everything way.

Megan B said...

LOL!! Oh, Wendy, I don't think you're that crazy. I feel the EXACT EXACT same way about mice. I've told Justin that if I ever see a mouse in our house, we're moving within the hour. Period.