Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It Takes a Village

Returning home from a wonderful celebration weekend upstate with my sister and her daughters, I turned the key to my apartment with a subtle feeling of curiosity. Had my place remained intact during my three day absence? Would there be any surprises waiting for me? I swung the door open, and my eyes were drawn to a moving string on the stove top. I hadn't left that there. I flipped on the light to discover the string was the tail of a pudgy little mouse, who was now scooting his girth and tail down into my front burner. Of all the sights I've seen since moving to New York City last year, this was the most unpleasant. I had never once seen mouse droppings or heard gnawing sounds, so there was no indication that there were mice in my building. All the fatigue of travelling had completely left me, and I was now in a heightened state of awareness. I decided that this mouse simply needed a moment to gather his belongings and make a quick exit in peace. I took my mail key and went downstairs to allow him his space. When I returned, all was quiet. Leaving my suitcase exactly where it was in the kitchen, I called my father. He would really be sympathetic, as he had his own rodent story the day before. As I start to describe the events to him, my little friend darted out of the kitchen and into a pile of books in my living room. I screamed in my father's ear. Then the little guy darted across the room behind my printer. I lept onto my bed, and remained there for the duration of the phone conversation. My father was rather enjoying this turn of events, as he reminded me of my lack of empathy when he was relaying his rodent saga the day before. Of course, his story was quite different. He had set a trap out for the perpetrator after hearing much commotion in his basement, and when he checked the next morning, the trap was gone. Naturally, we were both horrified at the implication of this scenario. My sympathies were for the unknown creature in that case. Of course it was true, in my new unrelaxed state, with concern of unexpected mouse activities, my father now had my full sympathy at his previous predicament. He talked me through different options for ridding myself of this guy, and also threw in a little mouse psychology to allay my fears of a future face to face encounter. I hung up the phone, still standing on the bed. I was truly freaked out, and couldn't fathom ever being comfortable again in my apartment. I decided to act as though the mouse didn't exist. (After putting on very thick socks and tucking my pants into them). I unpacked, made myself a little snack in the kitchen, and even dared to use the computer which was within two feet of the last mouse sighting. I did a search for humane methods of mice removal.
The night passed without a second appearance. I purchased a live trap at the drug store, and walked to a coffee shop. The guy behind the counter was preparing my coffee, and I thought I'd start gathering information on this process. I mentioned to him that I'd just purchased this contraption, and was concerned with the part when I release the mouse into the wilderness, the possibility that he may scurry up my arm. The guy had a blank, slightly pained look on his face, that said, 'I have no interest whatsoever in having this conversation.' Instead he said, 'I have no idea,' and smiled awkwardly. He walked away to put milk in my coffee. Unsatisfied with his answer, when he returned I asked, 'But what would you do?' 'I don't know, I don't have mice.' He scurried off into some hidden corner, giving me a creepy feeling of déjà vu. I sat down with my coffee and my humane mouse trap, and heard a little voice behind me. 'Tamar?' It was my Georgian friend Sophie. It is always so nice to see her, she feels like a long lost cousin from a distant land. She joined me for a few minutes, and of course I had to drag her into the whole mouse drama. She came to life and said she recently had her own experience, where she had set a trap for him, and she was annoyed that she was the one that had to discover it and not her roommate. She also admitted she used to be more compassionate, and as a child, her grandmother was furious with her for setting a mouse free that the older woman had captured in a snap trap. What else can I say about him? In a rare case of me updating my Facebook status, I noted that I was wondering if the mouse in my house was planning a party while I went out on my run. An old co-worker responded that she just got the e-vite. I think personifying this guy really helped take the edge off of the whole concept of having a mouse in my house. So far, I haven't used the trap. I think he was just visiting.

9 comments:

paz13 said...

Tamar: Good mouse story. Hope you get rid of the mouse.

Last year I was asked to take a dead mouse out of a trap by an elderly lady.

Turns out she wanted to re-use the trap. Apparently it cost $5. I almost gave her the $5 so she could buy a new one.

Fortunately I was able to get the dead mouse out of the trap. I had never done it before and hope I never have to do it again.

Will be interested to hear how "mousegate" goes.

Kevin

tamar said...

hi kevin! That's horrible! Poor you- (and the mouse). Maybe that's why the guy in the coffee shop in my story didn't want to get involved!

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Tamar, I clicked over from Deb's blog and glad that I did. I have a smile on my face and memories of when when my house hosted a a mouse or two; my 4-pawed housemate. Alex the cat who owns me, played with them but refused to murder them. We also had an uninvited rabbit living with us for a while, but that's a much longer story.

Thanks for allowing me to vicariously experience your mouse house. I shall be back.

Ananji said...

Hello, Tamar. I, too, am a visitor after having read about you on Deb's blog.

Great story. We've all got our mouse stories to relate to your experience, feelings, adrenaline. I loved your admitting the thick socks with pant legs tucked in. I imagined you at your computer in a lotus pose rather than with feet planted on the floor.

I do hope your mouse was only a visitor passing through. It's unnerving to have to reclaim space from something so cute.

Good luck!

Ananji

tamar said...

Nick~ Thanks for visiting! Yes, I too had considered borrowing my friend's cat, but decided against it after hearing from so many about how cat's don't really solve the problem- I also imagined it might leave me 'gifts' on my bed, and a mouse corpse is not a warm fuzzy either.

Ananji~ Thank-you for visiting, too! You are right, the thick socks were not enough- though I wasn't in lotus position, I was moving my feet frequently to inhibit visitors :-)

Just_because_today said...

Hey, Tamar. Mice visits are scary but the little guys are cute...We had one in my office last year and he made even the active duty run. He was a baby!

athlondromos said...

Maybe the lil' guy just wanted to be your friend or the lil' fella wanted to be your new running partner. :)

tamar said...

Just~ He did a group run with your co-workers? Am I missing something? Well, you're welcome to come recruit my free-loader..

Athlon~ His timing is off to qualify for either position ;-)

athlondromos said...

Well, his timing may have been off to qualify, but I know that your timing definitely qualifies you for Boston when you ran in Austin. Registration opened Sept. 9th, so get ready to run in Boston, Ms. Maud. ;-)