Saturday, September 24, 2011

Bitch Slapped by the Universe, Again - Part I

Hello Friends:

You know how it feels when you are cruising along, and things seem ok (or at least meta-stable) and you think you are handling it ... and then suddenly from out of nowhere ... POW - bitch slap.  You are on the ropes, hoping you don't pass out and end up TKO'd.  You don't just get a jolt, or any kind of new manageable challenge.  Instead, you get handed something about three orders of magnitude above whatever it was you were just coping with.

I've been doing a lot of travel.  A lot.  When possible, I've been posting some of my so called insights here to share with y'all.  It's been rough, but I've been having some good times, and am grateful for the chance to have these experiences.  But we are running ragged around here, not even bothering to put suitcases away before the next trip.  They just sit out on the floor and clothes cycle through them as we come and go.

So two days before having to get on a plane for an international flight ... I'm in the kitchen at 3:00am, 'cause of course I can't sleep, and figure I might as well try to get something useful accomplished.  I stop a moment, standing by the trash, and gaze out the dark, foggy window.  It is in fact trash day, which is why the bag is there, so it can be taken out in the morning.

It seems it did not get taken out quite quickly enough.

Rustle.  Crinkle.  Munch.  Scratch.

I back up and stare at the bag, my mind simply refusing to process this.  We've lived in this townhouse for six years, and although the centipedes are big enough to cart off small children, we've never had to deal with uninvited mammals.  Yet somehow the rustling is unmistakable.  I grew up in an old colonial house that was often visited by small grey mice.  The cats (and the dog, actually) kept the population at bay.  I didn't like them, but was used to the fact that they would occasionally pop up.

That was before my contamination OCD's hit, of course.

Anyway, I knew immediately what it had to be in that bag, there.  I stood for a moment, trying to talk myself out of it, when the perpetrator suddenly emerged and scampered at high speed to disappear under my sink.

I squealed in an octave I didn't know I could reach.  Probably would have jumped on a chair if there had been one handy.  Instead I tore up the stairs and woke my poor spouse, who was trying to get some much needed sleep.

It took a while to get the story out, since he was groggy and I was panicking.  A mouse (or a small rat, possibly, for God's sake) was in our house.  The KITCHEN.  As if the kitchen wasn't hard enough, fraught as it is with all my food OCD issues.  Now there's a mouse.  In the kitchen.  Holy f*#k.  I had no idea what to do, what with it being 3am and all that.  All I could think about was plague and rabies and fleas and worms and ticks and all sorts of things that somehow I never worried about as a kid.  This ... this furry thing ... was in my kitchen and spreading its whatever all over whatever.

And the floor had just been mopped, too.

Spouse got up and took the trash out, of course, and we resigned ourselves to just dealing with the fact that it was down there until morning, when we could actually be proactive in getting rid of the sucker.  I couldn't sleep.  (What a shock.)  I was still up at 6am, and went down to make tea.

And heard ... heard ... munch.  Chew.  Rustle.


OMFG.  My pantry.  All the FOOD IS IN THERE.

This was finally a bit too much for me, and I sort of looned.  I didn't have a panic attack, and I didn't run around screaming, but I decided that all the food that was not in the fridge, freezer, or in metal/glass containers was no longer viable.  All of it.

Poor, poor spouse.  I woke him up and said, basically, that he had to empty the pantry.  All of it.  And haul it out with the rest of the trash.  Fortunately for us, all this travel meant we didn't have too much food on hand.  Still, the guy dragged himself downstairs, tore out everything, bagged it, and took it all away.  There was no sign of the mouse, and so I was wondering if my spouse thought I'd imagined all of this.  But I certainly had not.

I spent most of the time he was doing this trying to hide the fact that I was crying.  What had me most upset was that I had to get him to help me.  I knew he was beat, that he had to have some sleep, but I couldn't do this myself.  It was all contaminated beyond reprieve, and beyond the point I could even touch it.  I sat on the stairs, and watched him a while, wondering how, HOW, my kitchen would ever be a place I could eat again.

And I'm sorry to leave the story there (cliff hangers suck), but I am so tired, I just gotta go to bed.  To be continued!

Your Hostess With Neuroses

Image credit/info:  Mindy Mouse by Wednesday Elf - Mountainside Crochet, on flikr via Creative Commons, CC 2.0


Kat said...

Holy fork is right! I've spent my life surrounded by cornfields, so mice are relatively common. Between our barn cats and the electronic ultrasonic mouse chasers we have in each room, we thankfully haven't had one in the house for years. (Those mouse chasers are a miracle!)

Still having dealt with the rustling and chewing myself, I totally get it. (it also reminds me of the time I found a dead mouse in the recycling bin in my classroom. It immediately went downstairs and outside. LOL)

The worst really is when you can't deal with it yourself. It always makes you feel helpless and like you have absolutely no control at all. I know it's one of the hardest things for me to deal with. It comes up frequently in my therapy sessions and when Rachel asked what I wanted to work on first, the anxiety or the rituals, it was my answers, getting the anxiety down enough to be able to do basic things (like take out the garbage or put dirty laundry in the washing machine) myself rather than needing to rely on someone else. It really sends the control reflex into chaos. : (

(PS...I keep most of my food items in plastic containers if they aren't canned or in the refrigerator/freezer for this very reason, and, like i said, we haven't had a mouse in the house for years. LOL)

The Blue Morpho said...

Hey Kat - Yep, the food's going in glass from now on!

You are so right about the importance of independence. Being able to do the laundry myself, now, is fantastic. Never imagined laundry as a blessing, but when you can't do the basic things to take care of yourself, you don't have very high self esteem. Trash is still tough, but sometimes I can handle it myself! Progress is being made.

Elizabeth said...

Hi Ladies,

I know EXACTLY what you all mean about not being able to deal with this stuff on your own. I simply can't deal with mice at all. I do go into full on panic if I see one in the house (sometimes they appear in the basement during this time of year). I freak out and feel helpless and embarrassed but I have tried on my own to deal with them and I just can't.

I am so sorry you went thru all that stress. I totally get it.


Jen Daisybee said...

I had what I believe was actually a rat in my apartment a couple years ago. It came in through a hole in the wall that it had apparently dug, where it climbed from a fruit tree. I was HORRIFIED!!! I actually DID jump up on a chair and scream my head off. My poor cat, Spooky, hid inside the kitchen cupboard for days, and would not come done, as she was so scared. She was not much help in the pest control department. Luckily that was the only time I saw it. Rat poison and traps were put out. Eventually I moved into another apartment in the same building. Hopefully it never happens again here, since the place was recently tented for pest control. They told me that could kill "anything". I still get scared when I think of that rat though. So I understand your freaking out. It's only natural.

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