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The Mouse That Wasn't
I've been dreading this, but here goes.
My nephew came over yesterday for a little chit-chat and as he was leaving he asked me if there was anything I needed done. This is the same nephew who foolishly offered to build the file cabinet I ordered from Amazon after I completely lost it when I saw the size of the box and realized it was flat. As a pancake. There must have been millions of parts in there. But he took it on, and after much cussing and swearing, ala Roy Kent, and after discovering a part was missing (oy) he got it together. Beautifully.
So the day he and his friend delivered it, they asked me again if there was anything else. They were sweating and definitely uncheerful, and it was pouring rain, so I wasn’t about to tell them about the dead mice. I sent them on their way, thanking them profusely, dreading having to go back into the House of Death.
But yesterday my nephew asked me again and, I don’t know…desperation, I guess. I poured out my story, making light of it, as if I really didn’t care that there were two dead mice in my house.
Did I mention that this nephew has health issues that prevent him from getting into small spaces? So the first thing he said was, “Why didn’t you tell us when D was here?” Because D could have gotten into small spaces.
But underneath that gruff exterior there is a kind soul (ala Roy Kent), and once he knew the facts he couldn’t bring himself to go out that door without giving it a go.
He tackled the drawer first. Now this is an old house and my kitchen drawers are deep. Arms length deep. It’s dark in there if you don’t pull them all the way out, which I normally don’t do. Which is why what I thought was a mouse was actually a shredded gray crocheted dish cloth.
Shredded, you should know, by mice looking for nesting material, so it wasn’t as if I didn’t have anything to worry about. And I was right about the droppings, too. Disgusting!
Then he moved onto the lower cupboard, which was a bigger job since it went deep into the corner and the mouse was way back in there. He sighed and went for it. He moved a big canning pot and shined a flashlight.
No mouse. There were signs of a mouse—droppings and nut shells and other stuff—but no mouse! I know I saw one. Would a mouse sleep through a big person looking at it? I admit I didn’t look for long, but I swear I saw a little gray body, paws curled, long tail. It was not a dishcloth.
So then we started cleaning. Again, it was raining, but I threw everything out on the deck: pots, pans, full drawers and all, hauled out the shop vac, the disinfectant cleaner, a bunch of old rags, put on mask and rubber gloves and went to work.
Now, neither of us are fit for this kind of thing. One of us is old and rickety and the other is just rickety. But I had visions of Hoarder crews having to come in and judge me and I couldn’t let that happen. It was as if I had been living in squalor and I just now noticed. (You’ve watched Hoarders. You know what I mean.)
So now that that’s over, I’ve been feeling guilty about getting you all involved. I thought about never telling you the truth, but I know you people. You would have kept trying to find solutions for me—because that’s the way you precious people are—and I would have been dying here, knowing I’d deceived you.
I hope someday you can laugh about this. I hope that day is today.
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