Even though I have a career, am a wife, a mother, and a homeowner, and my age certainly implies it, I had never really had that dawning realization that I was a true adult until a week or so ago when I went to get the peanut butter out of the pantry and saw what appeared to be evidence of a mouse. In true adult fashion, I calmly went to my husband, asked for confirmation in the matter, and when he agreed that there was indeed a mouse, I volunteered to go to the store to buy traps. We set them that night, caught one gray mouse, left some other traps out for good measure, and the matter was over.
I would like to state for the record that I did not:
A) scream or cry
B) self-medicate with Benedryl
or C) sleep out on the street in the backseat of my car because my husband found it unnecessary to vacate the premises for a hotel.
Perhaps, I should back up and explain.
For most of my life, I didn't know that people actually got mice in their homes. I thought that was only something that happened in cartoons or movies, certainly not in any dwelling in which I resided. Ok, I could maybe have been convinced that it happened on farms, but definitely nowhere else. So, when I was making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the kitchen of my first house after college and saw a small brown thing shoot across the floor, you better believe that I lost my mind. I ran upstairs with such speed that I could have qualified for an Olympic sprinting event. There I informed my roommate, Lisa, of our plight and we sat crying on her bed for a good while, unsure of how to proceed.
When our respective parents suggested the logical thing to do (which was not, apparently, to never leave the safety of Lisa's bed again): set traps, we were even more terrified. Somehow my Dad's advice to not be surprised if 1) the trap made mouse blood splatter onto the walls or 2) the mouse was still alive in the trap did not make this idea sound like anything either of us could handle. At the hardware store we selected the "humane trap," which was a little clear box that the mice could go in, but not get out of. This seemed perfect until the mice somehow just pushed it into the giant, gaping hole in the cabinet under our sink. This is when I had to start taking Benedryl each night to knock myself out, as the thoughts of swarms of mice jumping up onto my bed became too much for me to handle.
After the mice outsmarted us when we were only trying to be nice, we resorted to approaching the kitchen stomping, clapping our hands, or banging on the walls to alert the mice that we were coming in to get a drink and warning them to stay out of our sight. You know, kind of like the dad's girlfriend with her sticks in The Parent Trap? We knew this wasn't a great long-term solution, but we were two scared girls who desperately did not want to come into contact with a dead mouse. At the time, my then future husband, Pete, lived only a block away and would stop over most evenings. We had not told him about the mouse infestation because if you were the only people in the world who had mice other than movie characters, you probably wouldn't want to tell people either, now would you? At first, I think he just chalked our new kitchen tap dancing routines up to the fact that Lisa and I were a little weird. I mean, he'd definitely witnessed the two of us doing things a lot stranger than that. But, the night that Lisa flew out of the kitchen screaming and jumped onto the couch, crying, he knew something more than that was up.
"Okay, you guys have got to tell me what's going on around here."
So, we unburdened our souls about the mice, and it felt great, not only because he informed us that it was not uncommon to get mice in an old house such as ours, but because we now had someone to put our traps out for us and to dispose of the dead mice! He may have regretted his offer to do this for us, as we called him whenever we heard the snap of the mouse trap, whatever time of day or night.
Fast forward to several years later after I married this man (because you just cannot let someone who will save you from mice go) and we were up late watching tv in the living room when a mouse ran across the floor. I immediately went into panic mode,while Pete, on the other hand, very nonchalantly yawned, mentioned something about getting traps tomorrow, and suggested that we go to bed.
"Are you KIDDING me!!?? I can't go to sleep knowing that there are mice in here!!"
I knew it was too late to resort to Benedryl (I had learned from the last mouse encounter that it is not a good idea to teach the youth of America while under the influence of antihistamines), so clearly the only other solution was to leave the house immediately and head to the nearest hotel. But for some reason, Pete did not see the logic in this.
"We are not going to a hotel at 11 o'clock at night because of one small mouse."
"Fine. I guess I'll just have to sleep out in my car then." I thought for sure that Pete would relent and take me to the Westin, rather than have me sleep out on the street, cramped in the back seat of my Cavalier. But, apparently, I was wrong.
"That is ridiculous. Good night."
So, I stomped off to get my pillow (scaring any mice that might have been in my wake) and headed out to sleep safely in my car!
The next morning, as the sun shone down on me from the car windows and I tried, unsuccessfully, to stretch my limbs, I realized that perhaps Pete was right--this was ridiculous. I had just slept out on the street in my car because of an animal that was smaller than my hand. I slowly peeked out the window, checking to see if any of the neighbors were out and about, and then raced back into the house. I went to work that day with a crick in my neck and the realization that even though I have let my fear of some animals (namely sloths) control my behavior, mice did not need to be added to that list.
There are definitely worse things that could get into my house than this little guy.