Pests and Predators
I’m not sure when I started growing a bit more (than usual) worried about being attacked and murdered. It was before the Ohio kidnapping and rescue story, although that gruesome reminder that some sack of shit men think they’re entitled to do whatever they want with girls and women didn’t help. I usually carry pepper spray whenever I walk anywhere, and I have a rape whistle on my keychain, but it was around that time that I bought a tire thumper and more pepper spray for my bedside. I actually did some searching on “best baseball bats for self-defense” and found spray that marks the attacker. And when the items arrived, I hoped more than I hope about most everything that they were a total waste of money and I would never need to use them.
The home is the one place everyone should feel safe and comfortable, and whenever I hear about anything ranging in degree from mold growth to home invasions, I feel a little ache for the victims who, on top of whatever else, have lost a sense of security in their homes.
I’ve had some invaders over the past year; all have been relatively minor but they’ve nonetheless been increasing in severity as the months wear on. I tend to dwell on this in the early phases after discovery, when I am angry at the world for foisting [pest] on me, and feeling by turns indignant and sorry for myself for having to deal with it. When I was wiping roach guts off my carpet, I thought about how irritated I got over spilled wine. When I saw mouse droppings under the kitchen sink I thought, at least before it was only roaches. And, now that I’ve discovered mouse droppings in and around my couch, I think, at least before it was contained to the sink.
The couch is where I read, nap, and dither around on the internet. It’s where I drink coffee, watch tv, and knit. The couch is where I live in my condo. And some mouse had been pooping and (probably) peeing all over it. My baby-soft Vera Bradley throw blankets? Covered in mouse cooties.
After I cried a bit about the injustice of it all, I accepted that no otherworldly being specializing in pest control and maid services was going to materialize in my living room.
I threw the Vera Bradley into the washing machine.
I recognize how lucky I am. I’m in a good enough situation to throw money at the problem, if necessary. I have alternate places to go, and family and friends who can help me. I have Vera Bradley!
But I’m also a woman living alone who needs to deal with a mouse in the house.
More specifically, in the couch. I managed to get the slip cover off and to move it about 6 inches, but that was it because I was worried a mouse was going to dart out of there with every pull, and then what was I going to do? My plans stopped there. Plus, if it stayed in the couch, at least it was contained. So, for literally hours I made myself too busy with laundry, grocery shopping, and other errands to do much else with the couch.
Finally, my mother came over and, shortly after walking through the door, started to turn the couch over. When I began to protest there was no plan for the consequences of this action (i.e, a loose mouse), she slid open my deck door and said it would go outside. I never did determine how exactly the mouse would know we meant for it to go in the direction of the deck and not, say, my bedroom.
All the day’s worry was for nothing, though, because no mouse popped out, even after my mother banged all over the couch and poked around in the openings with a ruler.
So the next step was to do some pest control. The store didn’t carry the poison my parents recommended, so I bought regular mouse traps and some sticky ones, too. To be clear: I do not care if the mouse dies slowly and painfully, if it tries gnawing its own limb off, or whatever. It’s too bad, but … that’s about the extent of my regret. All I care about is getting them gone in the most effective, quickest way possible, so I can go back to watching Netflix on my couch, and sleeping peacefully at night next to my tire thumper.
Later in the evening, as I was putting peanut butter in the traps, I thought about my whole day ruined and wasted on mice, the time and energy and expense needed to get rid of them, and the disgust and ickiness (both real and imagined) they brought into my home.
All day I was worried about what I’d do if I saw a mouse. Now I am hoping to see one. Dead.