When I found mouse droppings under my kitchen sink earlier this week, I quickly went through the initial stages of grief. First, denial: those are “rust droppings,” I told myself, peering up at the underside of the sink, looking for evidence that it was falling apart, which I would have much preferred to the evidence of a mouse. When I had to let the rust droppings (whatever those are) go, my denial turned to rage, and I burst into angry tears. Now, I must be in bargaining, because if the whole mouse business will just go away, I promise to be nicer to people and to stop watching so much tv.
My parents, who I immediately contacted as First Responders, were not nearly as incensed and hysterical as the situation warranted, I felt. They were helpful, though. They recommended the names of some poison baits and my father even texted me a picture of their poison bait under their kitchen sink, for guidance.
Lots of friends offered well-intentioned solutions that, unfortunately, involve my interacting with a dead or dying mouse. I wanted to ask, What is the procedure for just making them go away in total?
My grandfather, typically, thinks mice are “no big deal.” That’s what he says about pretty much anything that bothers me – getting a cold, never having children, incorrectly hemming a skirt: “Well, that’s no big deal.” (Sometimes, he’ll switch it around and say it’s “all in your head,” like when my car would be cruising along the beltway at 60 mph, and then suddenly stop, which happened a few times, he insisted it was all in my head.)
In discussing the mouse problem with him, he asks me if I’ve gotten traps yet and I say I don’t want to do that because, what am I going to do if I actually find a mouse in one?
“I don’t know what you’re worried about. That’s no big deal.” Then he helpfully explains that I just pick it up and get rid of it.
“That’s touching it.”
“Ok, you don’t have to touch it. Just put a bag on the floor and kick it into the bag.” He demonstrates kicking an imaginary mouse into an imaginary bag across the living room.
“If I’m kicking it, I’m still touching it.”
“Ok, here’s what you do: you get a broom – stop shaking your head, you’re not even listening – get a broom and then -” I open my mouth to protest and he quickly finishes, swinging an imaginary broom, “sweep it into the bag, and then you haven’t touched it!”
“But then I’ve touched something that’s touched a mouse.”
Long ago, he ceased to be too exasperated by me. “Ok, a while back, I bought some of those items that emit sounds that people can’t hear but animals can. I’ll look into it.”
The next day, after a couple of people have recommended that I get a cat, I’m beginning to seriously consider and email my mother.
“Uck – you’ve got a whole other set of problems – and just wait until the cat catches the mouse and drags him all across the carpet – munching him on the way — ok now I’m grossed out. UCK”
For the rest of the day, “munching him on the way” plays over and over in my head.
I consider the possibility that at some point in my life I may have to handle a dead or dying mouse. I would much rather have someone else do this kind of stuff for me, I readily admit. But in the absence of the someone who would do these kinds of things for me, and sometimes just to prove things to myself, I take on these challenges. Years ago, I decided to buy a desk and for whatever reasons did not wait for my boyfriend to help me. I lugged the heavy, unwieldy box from my car up step-by-step to the front door, and then up another flight in the house. Then I put the whole thing together. Doing all of that by my weakling self took hours more than it would have with his help, or if he were doing it himself, but I like to think that took a different kind of strength.
All week I’ve been coming to terms with how exactly I might touch a mouse.
Funnily enough, I’ve seen nothing of the mouse at all.
On the phone with my grandfather a few days later, he tells me he’s ordered 4 mice sound machines. “19.99. Good bargain. Losing money if I didn’t buy them. You buy two and get two free, so I’ll give you a couple.”