"Mouse in garage."
I shook my head, "What?"
"Oh, I saw a mouse in the garage this morning. Guess, I need to find the traps."
My heart began to beat a little faster and I felt the beginnings of a cold sweat. It's ridiculous really. As a science teacher I led dissections, held cockroaches, snakes and all sorts of critters. So why this thing with mice?
All I can say is that it started three years ago, when I was beyond exhausted with a newborn who wouldn't sleep or eat and two kiddos I was carting back and forth to school each day. And as I sat bleary-eyed on the couch trying to nurse, I witnessed first one rodent, then another, scurry under the couch. Fleeing to the upstairs, one ran out at me from my daughter's room while another rounded the corner of my bedroom. I made a hysterical phone call to my Dad at 6:30 in the morning. Oh never mind that he lived ten hours away, I needed my Dad. In the midst of my tears and hysteria I heard him say "Pest man". He also said get everyone in the car and get out of the house.
Now, don't get the wrong idea. My Dad did not believe for one moment that we were in any danger, not from the mice anyway. I believe he heard in my voice the beginnings of complete meltdown. I could barely talk, my heart was racing, and my entire body felt like it had been submerged in an ice bath. I remember telling him this on the phone and that if I saw one more mouse I wasn't sure what I might do. He knew the only way I was going to get my head on straight again was if I left the house. So I did.
We drove to Sonic. Isn't that where everybody goes when their house has become infested with mice? We parked, ordered breakfast, I nursed and waited until my husband would be out of his morning meeting so I could relate the whole ugly ordeal to him. I have a confession here. I seriously wanted WB to get in his car the moment he heard the news and come home. Tell the guys at work, "Hey, sorry. I know I have half a dozen meetings today and the refinery might shut down if I don't finish this project I'm working on causing gas prices to go to 6 dollars a gallon, but my wife is having a rodent crisis at home."
When I talked to WB he thought I should call the pest man,the one who advertised in the back of our church bulletin. It became clear he thought I was much more stable then I felt. He believed I could just walk back into that mouse house and wait for the pest guy. He had no idea, unlike my Dad, that his wife was loosing it. I think I told him fine I'd call, but I wasn't going back to the house until he came. WB responded with "Okay, that's fine. Just go do some shopping." I had a newborn and it was 8 in the morning, we went to the park.
I left a message with the pest man. Poor man, I think my message went something like this. "Hi, This is Kara. I got your name from the back of the church bulletin. I have a newborn and two little girls and this morning an army of mice invaded my house. (voice cracking) They are running under my couches, up and down the stairs, and in my children's bedrooms. We just moved to this house out in the country and I can't have mice running around with a little baby in the house." ( I'd been having these vivid images of mice chewing on my babies arms and toes while she innocently lay sleeping in her crib, I told you I was loosing it.) "Would you be able to come out today? I'm in town here's my cell number."
That sweet man called me back within the hour. He had the calmest, most fatherly voice. He told me that he would be there that afternoon. He assured me that I should not have mice in the house, especially with little ones running around. I felt relieved and just a little less crazy.
I met him at the house that afternoon. He had white hair and a white short beard with kind dark eyes. I liked him instantly. We had a long discussion about all the critters that live around my house. He told me why he used live traps vs. poison or snap traps. He told me that I probably only have a couple of mice, but that they run around a lot and I more than likely was seeing the same ones. He checked out my house and determined the only way in was through the back garage door. He told me they were looking for food and water and therefore, wouldn't stay upstairs for long. I think he was at my house for over an hour. Maybe he sensed my uneasiness. I'd like to think I wasn't the first hysterical woman he came across. He set up some live traps, told me to call if I needed anything and he'd see me next month.
I'd like to pause by saying that he or his partner come to my house once a month to spray the outside and to check on things. It's been three years now and every time I see their little white van pull into my driveway I always rest easier that night. Really, I'm thinking there needs to be a special award for Pest Men everywhere!
Here's the good news, it's three years later and I haven't been locked up in a little padded room somewhere. My baby finally started to gain weight and eat, we're getting better with the sleeping, and I am no longer an exhausted, worn out momma. Well, most days I'm not. I'd like to say the mice never returned to the house, but I can't. You can read here for a post on their return. Remember how I said "live" trap, well I bet you wondered what happened to the mice once they were caught. You might be surprised by my reaction to the captured little rodents that caused me such misery. You can read about that here and here.
So that's my story. All brought on by three little words. I'm off to find the live traps and trying not to think about the fact that I'm sure one of those critters is at this very moment watching me from inside my house.
Would you like to share a mouse story with me or just an "I'm just an exhausted momma, I'm not really crazy, story"? I'd love to hear:)