Thursday, April 3, 2014

Sharknado? Try Mousenado. Way Scarier.

My morning started at 5:30am with David waking me up by gently patting my head and telling me that the tornado sirens were going off and we needed to head down to the basement. I couldn't believe he'd even heard the sirens and in fact he hadn't--Cooper woke him up, all frantic and shaking.

We got Zuzu out of bed, I grabbed my little box of Eliza's things, our fireproof box with our important documents in it, and my daily journal, and we headed downstairs where we watched the weatherman spaz out about the tornado. I was hoping that Zuzu would curl up with me on the futon and we'd go back to sleep together, but instead she thought it was super happy fun basement playtime in the wee hours of the morning. There was no going back to bed, so by 6:30am David was heading in to work to make sure there wasn't any damage at his school and I was making breakfast for Zuzu with Cooper underfoot--he's so terrified of storms.

I have a huge stack of exams and essays to finish grading before next week, so after breakfast I took a shower while Zuzu harassed me in the bathroom by flinging open the shower curtain and yelling, "Uppa! Uppa!" and then wailing when I said, "Just a minute, honey, I'm almost finished, let's close the curtain," because CLEARLY it is a violation of parental duty not to pick up one's fully-clothed toddler and hold her while standing naked in the shower and rinsing one's hair.

Somewhat related: I finally bought some real child-proof locking device things for the bathroom cabinet to replace the tightly wound hair elastic that is supposed to be keeping Zuzu out of my hairspray and lotion and toilet bowl cleaner, but I could not figure out how to make them work, so she was also entertaining herself by chewing on one half of the locking system. (I have since figured it out but in my defense the directions were rather misleading.)

At long last, we were out the door and on the way to daycare. I made Cooper go outside in the rain to pee because the night BEFORE he had pooped in the house. He's so afraid to go outside he just holds it until he can't hold it anymore. So that meant that when I got home from running errands yesterday, I got to flush dog poop, spray and wipe up the places his turds were sitting, and then steam mop the dining room floor.  Gag gag gag.

He peed, then ran around all panicky and tried to get in the car until I herded him back inside the house. I dropped Zu at daycare and then headed back home. My plan was to spend the morning grading papers at a coffee shop, but I'm also working on this little fireplace painting project (another blog post on that to follow) and I wanted to get one more coat on before I left for the day. I knew it wouldn't take more than a few minutes, as long as I didn't have Zuzu around to "help" me. So I went upstairs to put my painting shirt on over my clothes and discovered that Cooper had POOPED at the bottom of the stairs AND all over the landing at the top of the stairs (which is carpeted, with carpet that David just cleaned last weekend).

I then proceeded to clean up dog poop for the second time in less that 24 hours while Cooper cowered and shook and was so totally pathetic I couldn't even yell at him (fortunately it was easy clean up). I got my little fireplace project finished and then headed out to the coffee shop.

My day mostly went as planned--graded papers, went back home for lunch, put another coat of paint on the fireplace. I'd wanted to go to the post office and make a quick Target run but there were severe thunderstorm warnings out by the afternoon, so I decided to delay those plans until tomorrow and I picked Zuzu up from daycare. She'd had a good day today, in spite of falling asleep in the car on the way to daycare and waking up fussy in the parking lot, and she'd taken a long nap to make up for her 5:30am wake up.

It wasn't until after David got home that things got dramatic. We'd just put Zuzu to bed and I was back at work on Phase 2 of the fireplace project when I heard the wire mesh curtains in the fireplace moving. I couldn't understand how this was happening--was the wind so strong that somehow it was reaching down the chimney to shake these curtains? And then I saw it.

There was a MOUSE. Trapped in my fireplace.

A live mouse. With a tail and eyeballs and feet capable of climbing the metal curtains.

I know mice are small, but my fear of them is like my fear of needles: illogical and all-consuming. I screamed, "David! David! DAVID!" and then climbed up on a dining room chair, sort of blubbering. David had just sat down to eat dinner (leftovers) but he jumped up to see what was wrong and found me spazzing out about the mouse in the fireplace--which he thought I was imagining until he saw it himself and said it looked like a sugar glider because apparently he is some kind of rodent expert.

Long story short, I really wanted to finish painting (I'm super excited about this project) but I was afraid to be in the room with the mouse by myself (even though it was trapped behind glass doors, taped shut with painter's tape). I made David sit down next to me to protect me but eventually he had to take over my painting project because I couldn't stop screaming and jumping every time the mouse moved and before long I was actually crying. (I know it's insane. Phobias are not rational. That's what makes them phobias.) It was very sweet of David to help me out, but he is a messier painter than I am so I'm going to have to go back and touch up his mistakes, which I cannot do until this mouse situation is resolved. I left him to his messy painting and went into the other room and turned on all the lights and blubbered a little longer and then called my mom to get some sympathy.

We don't have any mouse traps and I wanted to go out and get a humane trap so we could catch the little bugger and let it go outside, but by this point we were under a severe thunderstorm warning so it's not like we were going to hop in the car and head to the hardware store. Crafty Cousin Amanda's suggestion to trap the mouse under a bowl and slide a piece of cardboard underneath got ruled out because the fireplace is dark and the gas logs are in the way and I'm probably going to have to be out of the house when David opens the glass fireplace doors because otherwise I will lose my shit (figuratively, I think, but possibly Cooper-style). So David promised me he'd get a trap and take care of it tomorrow, and I started making plans to spend the entire day out of the house so I won't have to be here alone with the mouse (these plans consist of a coffee shop followed by browsing Target and Home Goods, so basically a perfect day except that I have to grade a bunch of papers).

And then the tornado sirens went off and we had to get Zuzu back out of bed after she'd been asleep for forty-five minutes and head down to the basement. BECAUSE THE DAY WAS NOT DRAMATIC ENOUGH what with the POOP and the MOUSE and OMG THE MOUSE.

(Honestly, at this point I was thinking that if a tornado took out our house, at least that would solve the mouse problem.)

Anyway, the tornado blew on through with no significant damage, the baby went back to bed surprisingly easily, and I'm assuming the mouse is still chilling on our gas logs even though I'm too scared to look. Now I'm exhausted but adrenaline from the mouse + tornado has me wired and I don't know how I am going to sleep tonight without dreaming about a mouse climbing up the bedding and getting under my sheets and nibbling on my toes and having mouse babies under my covers and pooping everywhere and giving me rabies. You can see why the prospect of a tornado is actually somewhat less terrifying.


  1. Ho. Ly. Shit. If I had xanex I'd offer you one. Or 20.

  2. Oh Christ what a day! One of those things in a day would make for enough of a had a three day worth of crap (pun intended) in one little day. The news of tornados for you guys is all over the news here and I was wondering if you were okay.

    But they don't put mice on the news. If I had known about the mice...

  3. The whole mouse in the covers, toe nibbling thing? Absolutely irrationally right there with you. We had a mouse in our kitchen last year. I was already terrified because I've always heard there's never just one. SHUT UP! There was just the one, I'm sure of it. It's gone now, not so humanely, unfortunately, because this was the only mouse in creation to hate both cheese and peanut butter (or perhaps he was just the smartest mouse ever). Thing is -- I can't go in the kitchen willy nilly now because my imagination believes there are other mice just waiting to run across my toes and now I have the heebie jeebies. Again. It is debilitating to think I had to cook knowing that the mouse was in the kitchen SOMEWHERE possibly watching me, his little mouse mouth watering at the smell of my chicken and rice. And even though it's gone, my dreams sometimes tell me that there's a mouse burrowed in my summer clothes just waiting for me to want to wear linen. I am not helping, sorry.

    Lets us know how it goes getting him out.

  4. Ugh!! I feel for you, especially with a toddler in the house. We have had two mice in the house over the past 8 years or so (not at the same time, fortunately), and I have to say both times I was REALLY happy I did not have any small children around!!

    The first one came in through the dryer vent & chewed a hole in the hose (I couldn't figure out why my clothes were taking so long to dry...) & we think the other got in while dh was standing chatting with the next door neighbour while holding open the front door, a few years later -- the critter showed up not too long after that. :p

    The first time, we saw the mouse in the morning (in the kitchen when we went downstairs) -- fortunately, Walmart opened at 7, so we bought a bunch of traps & a jar of peanut butter, baited them & then left for work. Not that I could really focus on work, thinking about a mouse rampaging through my house (!), but I didn't really want to STAY there either, lol. Fortunately, it was dead when we got home.

    The second time, dh saw the thing but I didn't -- it was late evening. We set the traps & went to bed -- but I don't think either of us slept a wink. :p (I set a couple right in front of the stairs & then in front of our bedroom door, just in case, lol). We heard a snap downstairs about 3 a.m. I let poor dh handle it -- it was in the kitchen, again. He used my rubber gloves & a dustpan, picked up both mouse & trap all together, double-bagged it & walked over to the strip plaza nearby & dumped everything in a dumpster.

    We left the traps up for about two weeks after each incident to ensure they didn't bring company with them. But it took weeks for me to stop feeling nervous. :p Good luck!!

  5. Trying not to wake Claire by laughing hysterically over here. I'm so glad you wrote this fully entertaining day-in-the-life.

  6. LOL This made me laugh, although I would probably have been right with you on the chair! ICK!

  7. um. seriously? it's just a mouse.

  8. Let me preface this by saying it sounds like your mouse is trapped and sealed tightly in there! But when I was young, my brother had a PET RAT! I don't know what the hell my parents were thinking. Anyway, it only had a light mesh topper above the cage and one night it pushed the top off and climbed out and where did it climb?! Why up young little Caroline's stomach while she slept! I woke up thinking there was a tarantula on me (I'm from Arizona) and was releaved, yet grossed out to find it was just Jones the rat. I put him back in the cage and put a dictionary on top so he couldn't escape again. Little bastard.

    My children will NEVER own rodents of any kind.

  9. I once made Ryan come home FROM WORK to remove a DEAD mouse from a kitchen cabinet. Yes it was dead. But I could not be in the same house with it. So he came home from work after I called him panicking. I'm a treasure.

    And tornado warnings where you have to wake the kid up are THE WORST.

  10. Just came across your post and I'm so glad to hear I'm not alone! 2 years ago I woke up at 5 am, walked into the bathroom, lifted the toilet lid only to find a rat staring back at me! Rather than closing the lid, I completely freaked and went screaming into my roommates bedroom. Of course the rat escaped and was running through the house. We left and called the landlord who went to the house only to find the rat in my bed. I'm still traumatized!