blame it on the corn cobs

I really wanted to write about mice and about how they’re so cute in pictures and maybe in the woods but then they somehow morph into these scary monsters if they’re, oh say, in your house, and about how I’m strong and smart and independent, but part of my smarts is being able to make someone else go check out the mice situation.

But then I got distracted and very stressed about other things, so I thought I’d write about those things instead, but the writing process did not help me work through my feelings and refresh me, it just made me depressed, and so now those entries are half-finished and mind-numbingly boring and would crush your spirit. If you’re lucky, I’ll trudge through them and post the depressing things later. Something to look forward to.

For now, I’m going back to the cheery subject of mice. Theoretically, I think mice are cute. They have those cute little eyes and whiskers and ears and they scamper along on their little mice feet. What is there to be afraid of? Just this past weekend, I fed a wild squirrel from my hand with no fear at all, and squirrels are much bigger than mice.

The thing that makes mice scary is their location inside the house. If a squirrel were in the house, I’d be scared of him too. I don’t know why just their being inside is scary. What, are they going to gang up on me and trap me so they can scamper all over me with their little feet and gnaw me to death? And since I’m inside I’ll have nowhere to run and I’ll be unable to open the front door because they’ll have barricaded it with their stockpiles of cheese?

Whatever, they freak me the hell out.

Several months ago, the new and improved management company for my apartment complex left me a note that I needed to get rid of my bird feeders because they could be attracting mice. I noticed many other balconies with bird feeders and in fact, several ground floor apartments near me with huge dishes of bird seed right on the patios. Surely my bird seed specifically was not so much more attractive. So, I went in and asked, and no, this was not a blanket policy and no, they weren’t asking everyone to remove their bird seed, it was just that a guy from the pest control company noticed mine and so that’s why I got the notice. And that made no sense and irritated the hell out of me and so I told them I was leaving my bird feeders out. Neener.

I did check to make sure I was not unduly attracting mice. I was not secretly excited about the idea of a mouse buffet on my balcony. I keep my bird seed in a heavy duty trash can with a locking lid, and I keep that in the storage closet on my balcony. I looked to make sure the lid was still locked (it was) and that no little mice were inside having dinner (they weren’t) and that they hadn’t managed to gnaw a hole in the trash as an all-you-cat-eat tunnel (they hadn’t). Satisfied, I forgot all about the mouse problem.

A month or so later, I went back to the storage closet to get a suitcase. When I brought the suitcase inside, I noticed what appeared to be a few mouse, erm, gifts. So, that was kind of icky. I washed the suitcase up, inspected the inside for any other tell-tale signs, and then once again, forgot all about it because I was in that state of panic before a flight when I don’t know what to pack and I don’t want to get on the plane and I’m trying not to hyperventalate and there is no room in my freak out process for mice.

I did mention it to P. later: “you should check my balcony for mice.” He’s just about as lazy as I am, with possibly a worse memory, so he ignored me.

Another month went by and I had a burst of cleaning energy. I wanted to clean the balcony and storage closet, but then I remembered about the mice. I’m not going into a teeny, dark closet if mice are in there. Nu-uh. So, I made him come over and check. We opened the closet to find evidence of mice everywhere. They had quite a bit of fun during that month that I ignored them. So, P. started taking everything out of the closet while I looked on from inside the apartment, screen door between us just in case. Also, I put on hiking boots in case a mouse ran out, managed to open the screen, and crawled on my foot. You just can’t be too careful.

“Why do you have corn in here?”

And then it hit me. I had bought a big bag of corn cobs to feed the birds, but I had never put it out. I never put it in the nice locking trash can either. The mice had found their buffet. We (and by “we”, of course I mean “P.”) took everything out of the closet and cleaned the whole thing out. The mice appeared to have moved on as the corn cob supply was exhausted. They seemed to have enjoyed sleeping in my golf bag and chewing on my beanie babies. (Well, at least someone enjoyed them.)

Could I have faced the potential mice alone? Yeah. But I help P. with his scary taxes, so I figure he can help me with my scary mice. It all evens out in the end.

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