A family affair

We caught another mouse today.

Of all the life lessons my mother passed on to me, this is the one foremost in my mind, always:

“If you get mice, there’s never just one and life as you know it is over.”

There are several subsets to this rule:

  1. Do not make eye contact with them.
  2. Run away as fast as you can.. you are not capable of dealing with this.
  3. Stay in a hotel, better yet a Bed and Breakfast, until the problem no longer exists.

Now, this is what she taught me. This is what I believe.

This is number one on the list of my inadequacies, things I am not capable of.

My daughter, who has been living in the house, told me there have been several mice over the years. She says no one had to vacate the premises and everyone is alive and well.

I wanted to move home. I needed to be proactive about this issue.

I wrote to my pest control company of ten years: “Seems to me I keep paying you but mice continue to make themselves at home in my kitchen and pantry. I want Gus-Gus and all of his friends out, forever. Now.  Chop-chop. Finitus. This is a requirement of any further professional relationship we may have.”

I was confident there would be no problem by the time of my homecoming.

Shortly after my return, I told my daughter how I had taken the bull by the horns and sternly dealt with the pest control people. I was waiting to be assured there was no longer an issue.

Well, actually…

My daughter was distraught. “Why did you do that? This house is 120 years old. It has a dirt cellar. Of course we’re going to get mice every now and again!”

“This is unacceptable. We should not have mice. They make me throw up. I cannot be in a house with them. The pest control people need to do what I’m paying them for.”

“And who do you think you can find to do any better?”

“Well, I read about a place in New Jersey, I believe, that puts this material down that the vermin walk in. Then they can see with a black light where they get in and track them. Then they solve the problem.”

“So you think you can afford to bring someone down from Jersey because of a mouse?  Really?”

“I know I can’t. What am I gonna do?”

“You’re going to learn to deal with it.”

“I don’t think I can. I don’t.”

She just glared at me.

OMG. I’m going to need therapy. I wish I could talk to, well, anyone that could possibly advance me some funds for a hotel…. Not gonna happen.

What am I doing here???

This is what I am doing here:

the kids

The picture is a bit dated, but you get the picture.

I had made a list of what matters to me in life. I was surprised the list was quite lengthy as I always describe myself as rather Eeyore-like although the black clouds can dissipate very quickly on command. Can Eeyore scatter the clouds at will I wondered?

At the top of the list was family. I missed my grand babies. I wanted to watch them grow. I wanted to go to the school functions and bake for them. I wanted to hold them when they cried and share their laughter.

I want them to remember me.

One day shortly before I handed in my retirement papers, I had an experience with one of my patients. His sudden onset stomach ache turned into inoperable liver cancer. He was given two months to live. That fast.

It can happen in the blink of an eye. We are not promised a tomorrow. No one is. I wanted to be with my babies.

I look around at the Kool-Aid splashed on the white baseboards, all the Lego pieces scattered across the carpet, the stains on my dining room chairs. I look into the kitchen that I am afraid to enter because of rodent phobia.  I hear my smallest Grandson say “Can I play Subway Surfy on your first tablet (as opposed to my second)?” His smile is bright enough to chase even the darkest clouds away.

I am exactly where I want to be. Somehow, I will learn to confront, perhaps even embrace, the unpleasantries of life.

I read once that mice are one DNA strand away from us, that they are our cousins. Even the relatives that come for a visit leave at some point.

It’s just a family affair.


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