Thursday, February 26, 2009

The worst part about having a mouse infestation is that it's like watching a really lame horror movie. You know they can't hurt you, but you always feel like they're gonnna jump out any second and startle the fuck out of you.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Confession (from an email conversation with old friends)

Here's a confession for you:
You know i grew up in the woods out past Osage, right? So when we were little, C____'s family were our closest neighbors and our moms were kind of friends. His mom didn't have a car during the day, so if there was ever an emergency, she would call my mom and we would go pick them up and drive them. Several times, she called after C_____ had done some terribly foolish thing and needed to be taken to the ER. Cut off his pinky with a hatchet, hit himself in the head with a hammer...
So after Mom and I moved to Indiana, I went through some really hard times. Mom always kind of blamed herself for uprooting me and moving me to a really harsh, angry town, and when she confessed this to me, telling me that she thought I would have been OK if we had stayed in Minnesota, I told her this:
"Mom, on the night before we moved to Indiana, I made out with C______." Her response: "Oh, never mind then."

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


When Eric and I met, we were talking about how we both enjoy poetry. I like to read it. He likes to write it. And I told him that once, when I was eighteen, I had written a poem that I wasn't at all embarrassed to let people read. I remember quite liking it, in fact. It was about a train.

So I decided to try to find it. I had never unpacked all the boxes of miscellaneous stuff from my last move, and thought there was a possibility that the journal, containing said poem, could be in one of several boxes in my basement. I dug. I found one box full of pictures, sketchbooks, journals, and old letters. The journal with the poem wasn't there. I'm sure I tossed it out with many others years ago in a fit of cleaning. Or a fit of never ever ever wanting anyone to read all the ridiculous things I wrote in journals when I was a teenager.

But there was one journal, a sketch book actually, unlined, with only a few entries. I probably saved this one alone because I couldn't justify throwing away all the nice clean unused pages. I'm not sure exactly when I started this journal, or when I quit writing in it. There's one entry about receiving a critique of a sculpture in art school, but another one about a friend that I don't think could have been written until a couple years after I left college. One entry stood out. I was ranting about someone named Brandon.

Brandon, apparently, had a very cold and removed view on things. He thought that emotions made for a messy life. I thought he was way off base. I said I embraced the emotional turmoil and chaos. Sure, sometimes I was miserable, but at least I knew a was alive.  Brandon thought that made me weak. I worried that his "Vulcan" thinking was going to influence my life. I wondered how I could prevent it. How could I go on living my life in all its sloppy splendor?

I guess I figured out how to insulate myself from his world view.

I have no memory of ever knowing anyone named Brandon.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


To the best of my knowledge, I've never killed an animal. Not even with my car.

Well, I did go fishing with my dad when I was little, so that's probably not true, but you know what I mean. It's not just my bleeding-heart animal rights side either, although that's a big part of it. I think all things furry are adorable and deserve to live out their furry little lives without my interference. But I'm also totally creeped out by death. And suffering.

So when I bought my house last year and discovered that it was full of mice, I just resolved myself to peaceful coexistence. The mice mostly stayed in the basement, where I rarely go, and really only seemed to want to come inside during the colder months. I didn't see any sign of them at all last summer.

But this winter there seems to have been a population explosion. I blame myself. I left a big bag of bird seed in the laundry room for a few months and didn't realize that the mice were feasting on it. They must have told their friends. And then their friends invited their extended families and their extended families posted it on craig's list... Now I see signs of them everywhere. And I think you know what I mean by "signs".

I've decided that something needs to be done. I'm a pretty tolerant person, as far as grossness goes. I have two little kids so there's poop and snot aplenty at my house. I have two big dogs: again with the poop. But when there's mouse poop on my bedside table, I draw the line.

I consulted the experts (David), and was told there was no realistic way to do this in a humane (not killing them) fashion. Although I did entertain the idea of just using live traps and bringing them to work with me and letting them go there. (And honestly, I still haven't ruled that out.) So I tried to prepare myself to cause a death. Lots of them, actually. I lay awake at night trying to picture myself loading mouse traps. Worse yet, emptying mouse traps.

Then a few days ago, I woke up in the morning for work. I made coffee and went into the bathroom and turned on the shower, curtain closed, to heat up the water. I brushed the sleep tangles out of my hair and pulled back the shower curtain to see a little gray mouse standing on her hind legs, face into my steamy shower, gently swaying back and forth, in a way that I couldn't help but think looked every bit like she was totally enjoying herself.

I turned the shower off, went into the kitchen, grabbed a plastic bowl and scooped a very wet mouse out of the bathtub and just popped it out on the back steps. If I had had clothes on I probably would have walked out and put it in the shed. I went back to the bathroom and took my shower. The whole time worrying about the poor mouse that I had put outside in 10 degree weather, soaking wet. I fretted. I wished I had given her a chance to dry off, or at least put her outside wrapped in a towel.
I told myself that I was going to need to toughen up if I was going to rid my kitchen counter of mice and make it safe to keep the tomatoes out in a bowl again.

As soon as I got out of the shower I went and checked to see if by chance she was still out there. And if she had been, I very much think I would have brought her back inside.