Unfortunately, I have discovered that the correct answer to the question: Which scenario results in a piercing-scream and panicked-stricken, OMG-I-don’t-think-I-can-do-this-anymore, frantic calling of your husband’s cell phone five times in the middle of his business meeting until he freakin’ answers his phone? Options:
A. Seeing two mice running around your foyer while being perched like a statue at the top of the stairs, or
B. While cleaning up the dog’s water bowl your 17-month-old spilled all over the floor, you pull the dog bowls from the wall and come face-to-face with a dead mouse while on your hands and knees holding a wet dish towel.
Well, as you may have guessed, the correct answer is B.
I know. I know. There are mice all over the world. This could happen anywhere, as my Facebook post after Incident A told me. But I’ve never actually had to deal with mice in my house in
Dallas. Sure, we had a rodent man – he had a trap
outside our house. He proactively baited
it, and after that, I don’t know what happened.
At all. Ignorance is bliss.
I’ve said it before, but I love our house here in The Netherlands. It’s over 100 years old, adorned with lovely chandeliers and hardwood floors. It’s elegant, but like anything or anyone who seems a little too good to be true, it didn’t take long to uncover its few, dark secrets. Last fall I discovered mouse droppings in my kitchen. I freaked, like any good American would. We called the owner of the house. He said good luck with that, and gave us the number of a mouse exterminator to call and pay for ourselves. Fine. Cool. Whatever. Mouse Man came out and put boxes of poison all around our house. As I watched him investigate the corners of our home – were they in this room or were they not. . . I communicated with him in broken English. “Oh yes, there are a few mice here,” he says. “MICE! As in MORE than ONE?” I asked, panic and dread seeping through my veins. I clutched my squirming 1-year old in my arms. “Oh yes,” he reassures me. “There are more mice in the world than people. They are everywhere.” How did I miss this fabulous, fun fact? “It will be a week or so until they leave. It takes a while for the poison to work,” he says. Weary of the little boxes all over my house, I began to wonder – what is worse, a live mouse or a dead mouse? “So. . . they eat the poison. And then what? Where do they die?” I ask. He smiles with a bit of a crazed look in his eye, like the Wizard of Oz or Willy Wonka, “No one knows!” and his gaze lingers on the imaginary horizon for a beat, then he goes back to his work, filling his boxes. In my naiveté, I’m satisfied with his answer. I imagine the little mice going out into the field to die or simply evaporating. In retrospect, there was something severely lost in translation – Mouse Man really meant – they could die “Anywhere.”
We had a peaceful few months and then we started to hear it (them?) again. They’re nocturnal, which amazes me how anything can sleep in this house during the day – I mean, really?? I have two screaming, crying toddlers. But my husband and I would hear scurrying starting in the evening. He’d play it off like they were running on the balcony. It wasn’t until we went out for a date in
Amsterdam one night
and came home to our (brand new) babysitter, telling us that she had seen the
mouse. If there’s anything more
mortifying, it’s an American mother being embarrassed that the babysitter saw a mouse in your house. Cue:
Death Look to Husband. Luckily, she’s
Greek and apparently used to mice, played along saying “mice are a problem in
this country” and stuffed her 50 Euros in her pocket and went home.
Instead of calling Mouse Man and paying the dude 70 Euros to put poison around our house, we decided to do it ourselves. V Google translated the directions and found that mice, if so inclined, would eat through the bags of plastic poison. After a few weeks and seeing two mice running around our foyer one night while he was at Dutch class, I went through the house, opening the plastic packages and emptying the poison contents into the boxes like the determined woman I was. Clearly, these mice were not motivated enough. Thus. . . it worked. . . and thus. . . the dead mouse in the kitchen incident.
Panicked and terror stricken, I walked my kids around the neighborhood and train station until V got home that night. The trash is picked up every two weeks and had just come that morning. Instead of putting the poor sap in our bin for two weeks, it has been properly buried in an unmarked grave in the back yard. My husband, the caretaker, I’m sure said a prayer for the mouse’s elimination and a hope for the return of my sanity. In the meantime, I hope that my negative feelings towards my daughter’s Minnie Mouse doll fade soon.