The Story Of How A Misunderstanding Nearly Gave Me Musophobia
Well, here we are, story time again. This one is admittedly not as much my fault as it might sound. Hear me out.
Any member of my family will tell you that I am my mother's daughter. I look a little like her, sound a bit like her, all that good stuff. I also have a lot of the personality traits that she did. Not all of them, mind you, but a few here and there.
One thing I remember my Mom hating was an unclean house. Now, I'm not talking about a regular amount of Tuesday afternoon clutter. She didn't mind if our place was relatively lived-in. No, we're talking about the kind of unclean where people would judge you for it. Like, if you had old food just lying around or left your stinky shoes around somewhere, she was not having that. For example, if you left your shoes somewhere they didn't belong in our house... those shoes were getting thrown out the back door and into the yard. That was... interesting in the winter time. But I learned my lesson, and I don't leave shoes where they don't belong! And I certainly make sure I don't leave random messes out when they can be cleaned.
My Mom hated bugs. Well, more specifically, bugs in the house. And I also hate the idea of bugs in my house. I'm okay with a spider here and there (they're doing a job), and the occasional house fly, but the rest have gotta go. Ants? Hell fire upon them. Fleas? Burn my carpets, kill the eggs. Cockroaches? Oh, well, it was nice to live here, but now it has to be destroyed in fire.
Okay, so I'm joking there, it's an exaggeration. But I do keep a local pest company's number handy, and I get regular preventative treatments of the house almost every year. Whatever I can do to prevent the little jerkfaces from entering my abode, I'll do. Within reason.
And I don't want to think about any furry little jerkfaces. For a little bit....there was a problem. And it's an old house, so of course you gotta do what you gotta do. The cats helped, but... the little jerkfaces were clever. Anyway, since then, they've been added to the preventative maintenance. There's been no problem for ages.
I had my eyes open for little buggies when it was time to bring in my plants from the porch (that's another thing I got from my Mom, she was a big plant person) for the season. They'd gone through the recommended quarantine period to make sure there weren't any stragglers that I brought inside. It ended up that Downtown James Brown (RIP) had some caterpillars in his dirt, and Kibum had some aphids (NEEM oil works, btw, but it smells Disgusting), but overall, everybody else was doing well. Regular Sized Rudy, here, for example, was doing much, much better than anticipated.
Then, after a couple of weeks of everyone settling in, getting used to the colder weather, I saw....this.
OH SHERT. That looks... well. It looks like mouse poopie. There were a lot of them in one area of the kitchen. So, I went into Go Go Gadget Intense Clean Mode. I scoured every cabinet, every dark corner, every last nook and cranny of that kitchen. I bleached, I wiped, I scrubbed, I disinfected. I called up the pest control company and they came to check the traps*... they hadn't been eaten on.
And this one had been sitting up there in that same area lately.
I mean, she's not a Certified Mouser, but she's pretty good. If she'd seen something hanging out, she would have at least scared it away, right?
So I went back to the drawing board. I bought new containers for my snacks (seriously, if you haven't seen the Rubbermaid Brilliance line, check it out. They're a little pricey but they work like a charm and stack easy). I cleared out the lower cabinets. I lit up corners and reduced hiding places.
And yet.... I'd keep seeing these little black things. I was about to lose my ever loving mind. They were just out in the open! Just there, all over my dryer! I didn't understand. There was no food there. It was practically all locked up or in the fridge. Clearly, this had become personal. They were angry at me for removing their ancestors from my home in the past. Now, they were here to stay. They wanted revenge, and they were going to take it more cruelly than Jenner did in the Secret of NIMH. I don't believe in God, but I was ready to make a sacrifice or something to Gertrude of Nivelles. I resigned myself to making Matt Mergen's life a lot harder**, and then tried to distract myself for a moment. I thought, well, I'll just water the plants, we'll call The Man tomorrow.
Then.... it clicked. Finally. The little black things aren't mouse poopie. They're SEEDS.
Regular Sized Rudy had been leaving seeds for me every time I would water him, and his seeds look just like little mouse droppings.
Oh, Rudy. Rudy, Rudy, Rudy. You nearly gave me a heart attack. Or Musophobia. You're lucky you're pretty. The wave of relief that washed over me has not been felt since Linda Evans was told there won't be a Mitchell 2.
And now, every time I water Regular Sized Rudy, I wipe up the seeds and smile to myself. I've won this time, mouses***. I've won this time.
LOOK: 30 fascinating facts about sleep in the animal kingdom
Gallery Credit: Katherine Gallagher
*How it works, or as it was explained to me by Steve's Pest Control (not a sponsor): the traps are put out with a kind of poison that smells/tastes like a treat to them. Then, the poison makes them incredibly thirsty, they go in search of water outside your house, and they die there.
**JOKE, Joke, you guys. Matt's my insurance agent for my home. I'm not about to admit to plotting to burn my house down to get rid of mice. Or am I? KIDDING.
***I know it's "mice".