Thursday, March 12, 2009

House Guests & Shame


I woke up this morning, ready like Tigger to bounce out of the house and to the gym; I have been slightly appalled at the "fluidity" of my arms in my cooking videos and so I have decided to put a stop to it. Ha!

Anyway, as I was walking through the kitchen, I noticed this in my fruit bowl:

I pulled it out on the counter, so I'd remember to ask Bren about it when he woke up. I figured maybe he'd seen a brown spot or something on it and dug it out with his fingers. It seems like the kind of yucky-boy thing he'd do. :)

Ah but it's an even yuckier thing. When I got home, I asked Bren about it and he said he hadn't touched it. We both looked closer, and Bren confirmed my deepest fear: tiny teeth marks. We have mice.

Deeper investigation uncovered a gently nibbled cherry tomato. I love that the mice in my house have turned their noses up at my rice and oatmeal, in favor of my fresh, organic fruit. Ugh!

And (excuse me while I throw up), mice poo:

Now, I always laughed at those men and women who jump up on chairs when they see a mouse. What's the big deal? But having a mouse as a house guest? That's a different matter. At first I felt uneasy, as if I had been invaded. I imagined them sniffing around all my precious cumin and mustard seeds, which from past experience, I've learned they quite like. I'll have to replace them all! And no more keeping any food on the counter, especially fruit. But my fridge is so full already (thankyou God!) and you can't keep tomatoes in the fridge because they'll lose their excellent texture and and and....

I was spiraling.

Then, my fear turned to shame.

"Wait a second. Does that mean my kitchen is (GASP)..... dirty?"

Freeze that scene for a second, as I give you some background. I come from a family of horrifically comprehensive cleaners. I doubt there is a house on EARTH as clean as my mum's. I'd even let those two British ladies on the BBC inspect my mum's house and I bet they wouldn't find a cotton-pickin' thing.

Having worked in hospitals overseeing sanitation and cleanliness issues, Mum is the gestapo of cleaning. In addition to interrogating you about your cleaning techniques and schedule, she will run her finger over the top of your window moulding, inspect the yellow'd arms of your white workout shirts, and scrub all your tarnished copper and brass pots by hand... FOR FUN. Mum mops the floors everyday, cleans the bathroom every other day, only uses her bath towel for a week tops, changes her sheets ever week.... and so on and so forth. (Don't tell me you do this too! I don't think I could live with the shame!!!). I remember how appalled she was when visiting me at graduation in Evanston; she whispered, "Is Bren really going to wear the same shirt he slept in to lunch with us?". I nodded slowly, my shame keeping my from making any eye contact.

You can see how having anything resembling a dirty kitchen is sort of like letting the family legacy down. In a haze, I instinctively reached for the dish soap and started washing the dishes.

Luckily, we have a pest-control company in the family! (If you're in Boston and you need envrionmentally-conscious, yet effective, pest control, look EHS up. They're the best. Plus you're keeping in the family. My family I guess. Which I'm happy to share with you, if you ask nicely.)

Anyway, Bren reminded me of all the stories Bren's brother Jed has told us of going to the best, fanciest restaurants in Boston, and finding all kinds of rodents, no matter how clean the kitchen was. Where there's food, there are rodents. Bren managed to talk me off the ledge a little, but I've still got my pinkie toe on it. And I'm going to tackle that kitchen bit by bit, giving it the legendary and oft-feared Sequeira treatment.

Ground Zero

Bren shot off a quick email to Jed, and we're set on our mouse-trap strategy to persuade the little buggers that they might find another home more... hospitable. In the meantime, every little sound makes me suspicious. I'm trying to send out mean vibes to any critters in my vicinity and hoping that'll make them scatter, because honestly, I'm kinda scared of seeing what the mouse-traps snare.





Patte said...

Mice are so cute but they need to go. Looking forward to hearing the stories of how the traps work.

Patty Jean Robinson said...

I understand completely!

Mice definitely happen whether you're super clean or not.

My family had a run with mice a couple of years back. And even though we had mousers in our family, we couldn't catch up. It did feel icky having them there.

Sorry for the inconvenience of the mice showing up!

And I could never have your mum visit my home. She'd faint out of shock! :)

Good luck with showing those little buggers who's boss!

Anonymous said...

oh please don't get inhumane traps! i know that sounds silly but i grew up with a similar mom's house was a dad chastised me for "the 1/4 inch of dust" he said i had in my apt when i was 21...still rings in my ears causing me shame...this is the same man who went around and smashed mice's heads in with a hammer...that was his pest control...get the kind that makes a sound they can only hear and makes them run away...the other kinds are torture...there i've said my piece...

aartilla the fun said...

laura -- those kind do sound a lot better. but do they work as well? jed? sarah?

i can't believe your dad hit mice with a hammer. that's horrible!


aartilla the fun said...

now i want this:

sarah said...

This is Jed- The Federal Trade Commission has put a cease and desist order on companies making devices claiming to keep mice away using sound waves. Because they do not, nor have ever, worked.

sarah said...

Also, over a year, a pair of mice will produce about 36,000 droppings and more than a pint of urine. Mice are also linked to Salmonellosis, Hantavirus (which has no cure and has caused death in humans at a rate of 100%), and a host of other nasties.

sarah said...

Just sayin'.

sarah said...

This is Sarah now, I have two words for you, bubonic plague(Yersinia pestis). It's either you or them, and you pay the rent.

Rosesq said...

Towel change is twice a week - Aarth!! How could you not know?? :)) Are you sure you are my daughter?? I am wondering if they swapped you at birth in the hospital?? That could explain those non - Sequeira/Harrison eyes:)

Good luck with the mice!

Rosesq said...

Anyway, now that we have you, we wouldn't swap you for all the treasures in the world.

You are stuck with us!

bodaat said...

Mum = "gestapo of cleaning"....that's awesome!! well i hope the mice go shooed out of your home. much like you, i would be on the ledge ready to leap off but then we grew up in the same household, so that explains everything. although i'm an animal lover i would suggest that you use whatever method to get the mice out. you guys don't want to get sick. ps - you can borrow Shila if you'd like! she would LOVE to chase mice!

Rosesq said...

Gestapo!! These boots were made for licking the Sequeira cleaning genes into shape?

That's not fair, I am sure I was not that bad!! Was I? :(

Merlin said...

Aarti, now you have put your foot in your big, ok, medium mouth. Mum is cross with you for lowering her status to just "gestapo of cleaning". As you should know, her title is SQUEAKY CLEAN SUPER GESTAPO.
We, as in royal WE are not amused!

Rosesq said...

My only reply to all of my treacherous family - "Cleanliness is next to Godliness"!!!

Anonymous said...

i didn't know that about the soundwave traps...i guess i was hopeing you wouldn't use the ones where they stick to the paper...the regular traps seem horrible too but i guess what r u gonna do?

and if they were deer mice they do carry hantavirus...

good luck

Patty Jean Robinson said...

I think I love your family!

My dad used the ones where they stick to the trap. But really, anyway you look at it, it's not humane, because the poor buggers are in trap that will either starve them to death or snap their little germ invested cute necks.

It's not pretty. But it's you and Bren vs. them. Good luck!!

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