I read the most amazing and hilarious story by The Single Cell , and it inspired me to reminisce about my own rodent experiences.
My mice were nowhere near as dramatic or diabolical as hers, nor did I vanquish them in quite so Tom-and-Jerry a manner. My mice were at my rental house in London, and I was living there alone at the time.
When I discovered the first mouse-chewed bag of rice, I was a bit concerned. I proceeded to move things around in the cupboard and realized just how truly screwed I was – it was like a tiny army of rodents had invaded my cupboard overnight, and chewed and pooped on everything. Bakers chocolate, potatoes, flour, Mr. Noodle, everything. They’d even nibbled on the labels on canned tuna. I had dreams for months that a mouse was crawling across my bed, or through my hair.
“This would never have happened if I had CATS!” I wailed to my mother over the phone. I seriously considered my neighbor’s offer (my neighbor at home… a 2.5 hr drive from my rental house) of a loan of her cats for a few months, to get rid of the mouse problem. I also seriously considered emptying out the animal shelter’s supply of adult cats.
My coworkers rallied and sent me home with a bag full of the cartoon-like snap traps. It was only minimally difficult to coat them in peanut butter and set them up and circle my kitchen with them – it only felt like I’d broken a finger when a trap snapped shut on me. I’m pretty sure that the trap I stepped on in my sleepy morning haze actually broke my pinky toe, though, but sacrifices must be made in the battle against the rodents.
I fell asleep in my bedroom, the head of my bed up against the shared wall between my room and the kitchen, secure in the belief that my mouse problem was over. My mouse-traps were lined up along this shared wall (but I hadn’t thought quite that far ahead), near the fridge which apparently had a colony of mice living behind it. Just like in the safety-first commercials, these mice would see the traps and see that I meant business, and they’d get the hell out of Dodge!
I awoke with a SNAP four nights in a row, as a mouse trap went off, seemingly directly underneath me. Nauseous and trembling at the idea of killing a living creature, I rolled over and attempted to sleep, only to lie awake in the darkness. The worst night, I awoke with another SNAP, but this one was followed by a scritching and scrabbling of tiny feet, mixed in with the awkward shuffling noise of a mouse-trap being dragged across the floor. Bolt upright, hugging my knees close, I waited and hoped for the noise to stop. It didn’t, and my overpowering guilt at making the mouse suffer pushed me to my feet and into the kitchen, to face the mouse. I cried, but I dealt with it. A much faster death by drowning than by painful starvation and broken leg.
The death SNAP occurred 6 times, only one of which failed to achieve death immediately. I felt like an evil murderer.
Paranoia at this awful experience led me to clean EVERYTHING. I spent an entire weekend with the entire contents of my kitchen including the drawers themselves spread out on the lawn until they could be thoroughly sanitized and put back in the house. Pasta, rice, flour, sugar, bakers chocolate, cereal… if it wasn’t in a can or already in a jar, it was put in a mason jar or jumbo-sized Tupperware for protection
My roommate thought I’d gone nuts when she came back at the end of the summer, but I think she was happy that I had chosen this brand of crazy, instead of the crazy-cat-lady alternative.
Roomie didn’t adjust well to the jarring of all our dry goods. Possibly because all of the jars looked alike except for what was in them.
I came home one day to find that she was making a roux (cream sauce) in order to have macaroni and cheese. As soon as I showed up, she began a tirade against Ontario and its strange and not-like-Calgary weather, as she stirred her little pot of (basically) flour and milk. What was wrong with Ontario’s weather? It must be the reason the roux wasn’t thickening at all. I suggested adding cheese, since maybe that would help thicken it up. With no knowledge of the roux-making process, I had no suggestions for her when the cheese did nothing but ball up into gross little globules in the milky substance that stayed perfectly watery.
She called her mother and began the tirade again. Her mother started grilling her about what ingredients she’d added, and it was at this point that I realized just what had gone wrong with the roux. She was picking up each ingredient she’d put in as she went over the recipe with her mother. Roomie explained how she had added the correct amount of flour from her mother’s recipe, but when the mixture hadn’t thickened she added more flour. She explained this while gesturing frustratedly with the mason-jar of powdered sugar. The unlabeled mason jar that I had assumed was quite obviously NOT flour, since the flour was in its original packaging, but tucked inside a big Tupperware container. Confectioner’s sugar is WHITE-white… a glowing incandescent near-blue white that in no way resembles the off-white beige colour of flour. And that’s not even considering the difference in texture. I made a clearly incorrect assumption that this difference was apparent to everyone.
Once we had that sorted out, and she made it clear that I was no longer invited to have macaroni and cheese, and that I was a crazy person, I went about labeling all of the mason-jars. I don’t think she appreciated my “chocolate chips” and “pasta” labels, but she never mistook the confectioners’ sugar for flour again.
Bike update: I went to a spin class last night, sweat like there’s no tomorrow (pretty gross, but my bike shorts were actually wet right through the padding), and signed up to do a boxing class tonight after a few hour long walk with Gwynn. From what I can tell, this gym might not actually have any kind of A/C… Which makes me grateful that I’m not going to be inside and doing these classes much longer – my 20 class pass expires on June 11! Before it ends, i’ll get a ‘before and after’ picture of my face… it is strange just how red my face goes with even the slightest bit of heat or exercise… and how that redness doesn’t stray past my jaw-line…