Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Mouse in the House

`Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not ever a mouse. Nope, I caught the little sucker and I didn’t even need to rent that flame thrower I was vowing to do. It’s been decades since I’ve had a mouse in the house and when I went to the store to buy me some traps I could only marvel at the new invention d-CON had come up with. Bait it from the bottom, turn the dial and in theory the mouse goes in the side door, it slams shut behind him and you never have to see the little squatter again.

A few hours after setting it, I heard a clicking sound come from the trap. Sure enough the red mark had moved indicating that a mouse was shut inside. But worry wart that I am I got to wondering if maybe a vibration could have caused the trap to spring and it was mouseless inside. I was wishing there’d been a window where I could see the little varmint mouthing the words, “Help me!” So I got out my postal scale and weighed a trap I hadn’t set yet, then I weighed the other. Sure enough it registered just under an ounce difference. But wait! That was on the heavy side for a mouse according to the internet. Oh, my God, I’d probably killed an expectant mother and broke up a family just before the holidays! In case I was right, I set the second trap where the first one had been thinking if there a daddy widower mouse was wandering around I’d see to it that they got buried together in the same batch of trash. It’s the least I could do.

When I was growing up my folks had a summer cottage and it wasn’t unusual to find mice when we cleaning it out in the spring. My first memory of seeing a mother mouse with a litter of nursing babies was a teachable moment for my mom. The nest we’d found was in a dresser drawer and the panic-stricken mother mouse was so devoted to her family that she didn’t even try to run away when she saw three pairs of eyes starring down at her. My mother, though, didn’t have the heart to kill them. No, she told us kids to take that drawer out to the woods and find a safe place to transfer that nest. “All baby creatures deserve a chance to grow up,” she said. Over the years there were other nests with babies that got transferred to the woods and there were many more adult mice who died by d-CON. But of all the memories of have of my mother, one of my favorites is of her chasing mice around with her trusty, mouse killing broom.

When Don and I first met he had a cracker box of a house that was so “porous” there were tons of places mice could walk right in and hang up their Home-Sweet-Home signs. He was brought up on a farm and barn mice, to him, were no big deal. I’d tell him, “Don, you need to get some d-CON. You’ve got mice in your house” and he’d say, “They don’t eat much.” This went on for a few weeks until one day when he was lying on the floor reading the newspaper and he finally decided it was time to declare war on the mice. Two of them chasing each other had run right up his pant leg! His cat, seeing them go up was determined they weren’t coming back out the same way they’d gone in. It was off to the hardware store within minutes of stripping off his pants and Don set up a trap line that would have made Grizzly Adams proud.

Another memory my mouse-in-the-house triggered is one of an old bachelor Don knew from work. He lived on a farm that he’d inherited from his folks and he was a postcard collector. At the time I was trying to build a set of woman’s suffrage cards and had been at it for several years. I had just one card left to complete the series and Don’s work friend claimed to have several of them. He wouldn’t sell one, he said, but he’d let us come look at his 1909 Dunston Wellers.

This guy turned out to be a hoarder---but a hoarder with a purpose to his madness. Every room in that old Victorian farm house was filled with filing cabinet after filing cabinet full of postcards. In many places you had to turn sideways to pass through but sure enough, he had a whole drawer full of the exact, elusive card  I needed and lusted after. At the time they were valued at upwards of $100.00, but even the offer of $200.00 wouldn’t get that guy to sell us one. After the haggling ended unsuccessfully he invited us into the kitchen for coffee. Oh, crap! And I’m not cursing; it’s a statement about what we saw. There was mouse droppings every where and it was thick from lord knows how many months/years of build up. Mice were running back and forth on the counter top and when the guy saw me watching the mice he said, “Oh, don’t mind them,” and he pointed to a white sheet of 8” x 10” paper, adding, “as long as they leave that place for me to eat on, they can have the rest.”

I woke up this morning with a start. I’d been dreaming about a mouse that had moved a baby Jesus out of a manager in nativity set and was giving birth in it with a bunch of plastic animals watching. The first thing I did when I was fully awake was check the second trap that I’d set last night and I was ever so grateful to find it empty. ©

4 comments:

  1. 'tis the season for everyone to seek warmth, it seems.

    The use of the scale was inspired. So clever and resourceful!

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  2. Mama can also relate to this story. She grew up in the country and several times her Mom would find mice on occasion in the family car.

    This did not surprise us as much as a squirrel going up her father's pant leg while he was reading the newspaper outside. Mama's mother decided to give the squirrel to the local school so the kids would have a school pet. The squirrel was a mascot for Mama's sister and her class.

    Love -

    Hershey and Kac

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  3. I thought a mice running up a pant leg was bad, I can't imagine a squirrel doing it! You mamma's mother had a good idea, bringing it to the school.

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