Here it goes: My first order of business will be to call Eric and whine. Once I've gotten that out of my system, I'll leave a message for the exterminator and see if he can schedule an appointment for Monday. Then, I have to make unpacking the kitchen and sealing up all of my food a priority. I will likely stick everything in the fridge until I have a better storage system figured out. After that, I'll be forced to scrape all the snow off my car and head to the eco-friendly pet store to pick up humane mousetraps that will keep the furry one (ones?!) alive. This is not because I actually care about the mouse (my apologies to lovers of all creatures great and small) but because it's easy to make this choice. Because I have no desire to deal with this mouse (dead or alive), I will have to figure out how to bribe my new neighbor Tony into retrieving said mouse and releasing it into a field far, far away. (If there is more than one, I am going to flip out.) Those with ovaries of steel can opt for a DIY mousetrap that lets you get cozy with the rodents.
In the long-term, I have yet another compelling reason to seal up cracks with steel wool (mice can allegedly squeeze through spaces less than 1/4-inch thick) and make sure all food and trash are impenetrable. It is a complete contradiction for me to put poison in my home, but I am also going to wipe down everything with a bleach solution because the Centers for Disease Control have introduced into my life the fear of hantavirus. I talked about bleach in my last post on cleaning supplies. Though I am unhappy to be using something that conflicts with my values, I know that bleach serves a good purpose in small concentrations. I will be re-cleaning surfaces with eco-friendly cleaner once the bleach is applied so the toxins don't linger on my kitchen surfaces.
I guess the good news is I now have a very good reason to get a cat. I'll tweet eco-friendly pet information @SimranSethi once I have her.
Your disgruntled—but determined—homeowner,
P.S. Read how this situation was resolved in Part 2.
Simran Sethi is an award-winning journalist and associate professor at the University of Kansas School of Journalism and Mass Communications. For more information on Sethi, visit www.simransethi.com.