Sunday, September 07, 2014

This Week Was Exam Week

This week we found out we had mice.  We live in the woods, so  I guess that's not completely unheard of.  But we have 2 dogs- and one of them likes to catch chipmunks.  So  you'd think the mice would just stay away.  It's not like there isn't any meadow, grass or woods outside our house.  There's tons of it, in fact.   The mice can have most of it.  I just want the part where the house and garage are.  That's not too much to ask, is it?

Friday when we found the 2nd batch of mouse droppings in an ice cream bowl left on the couch (around 5 pm, naturally, so everyone has gone home for the weekend), we were told by some pest controller to check under the stove- that's where they really like to hibernate.  Yup, sure enough there was evidence there, so Sat.  was cleanup the kitchen day.

Also known as Exam- part 1.  Because that is one of my big, big triggers.  Anything black that i don't recognize, or that doesn't have wings somewhere on it gets 'mouse dropping' as first go-to idea.   So now that it's real- do i throw out all the cabinets?  I did that 5 years ago when we were moving into this house.  The owners had just left all the evidence (hidden conveniently by dish liquid and other bottles under the sink.  I got so upset that i just threw the drawers into garbage bags and out they went onto our front lawn- literally.  That was a 10 grand ocd expense, but when we had the cupboard guys put in new ones we asked for backings, so there is no moving from place to place, drawer to drawer, should there ever be mice again.  Also because there were mouse pellets in the drawers where their utensils and everything were, i  was afraid they had contaminated themselves, left the house to go to work etc. and picked up their mail on the way from the community box and the end of the street.  Thus the mailbox was also contaminated.  ( Touching that mailbox and the mail inside became my first ERP about a year later.)

And i have to say that that worked.  No mice droppings in the food cupboards.  Just under the stove and in the cheap pantry cupboards we had, whose doors wouldn't even close properly.  In fact, there were only spots on the bottom shelves of each pantry.  The mice had put some popcorn bits on one side of the pantry and some chewed up dog food on the other side.  This was a mouse storage room.  That's not too good!

Bruce cleaned those pantry cabinets and wiped off all the food and other containers (even on the shelves without mouse droppings) and i wiped out other cupboards to see if there was any evidence on those shelves.  Fortunately, none, so my cupboards got a good cleaning and like I mentioned above, the mice couldn't get into those cupboards, thanks to their backings.

Bruce meanwhile, cleaned out the stove drawer, putting the baking pans into the dishwasher if they didn't have any evidence of mice and throwing them out if there was actual stuff in it.  Meanwhile i was putting any open or cardboard foodstuff into the cupboards I had just cleaned so the pantries would not give any more food sources to roaming mice.    I then washed the floor while Bruce took out the garbage bags and then had a shower.

So this time i didn't freak out, but in an orderly fashion helped in the cleanup of the kitchen- letting Bruce handle all the really dirty stuff this time, though.  So far, i feel that the foodstuff we wiped off is clean enough to open and use.  Bruce dumped out any open containers of food- like corn starch, or the coconut bag.

The really odd thing about this happening this week is that last week we spent time cleaning out the living room, our bedroom and the playroom upstairs, so we could move stuff around.  We threw out a ratty couch, and old desk and then turned the upstairs into our bedroom and our bedroom into Katrina's playroom.  This meant that all 3 rooms were completely cleaned out, vaccuumed etc. and had most of the furniture moved around.  Then our son, Tom, who was home from university and helped out with the heavy lifting, went back to university.  This weekend was supposed to be finishing up moving the small stuff like closet stuff and decorating my new bedroom retreat.  Instead we found evidence of mice in the kitchen the day before he left.  But since there wasn't any evidence on the floor, just on the table and in the popcorn bowl left on the table, we wondered if it was some other thing.  We really didn't want it to be mice!  Bruce put paper on the kitchen table to see if there would be more black pellet thingies the next day, but there werent.  We didn't eat on that table the rest of the week!  And Saturday we threw out the table cloth too.

I didn't throw out the clothes we wore, tho.  I used the ' sanitary' setting on the washer for the first time.

Part 2 of exam:  Cleaning the living room up- making sure there isn't any stuff behind the couch (which there wasn't last week when we moved the couch from upstairs to that spot)

I spent 5 years getting comfortable again, being able to stick my hand down the side of a couch in our house without thinking that there was probably mouse droppings toching anything i pulled up.  Ditto for the floor.

8 years or so ago, i imagined that our couch and living room floor had mouse droppings on them even tho there was no evidence of anything of the sort because we had come home from a friend's place.  These people had been helping their son 'clean out' a house, to the studs and from the way they were talking, (to my ocd-freaking mind at the time) this meant that they had been cleaning up mouse droppings.  That day they were cleaning up their trailer etc. so MAYBE some of that crud had come to their house, and MAYBE they had sat on their furniture where we sat and MAYBE the livingroom was thus contaminated.  I was an internal wreak by the time we left there.  I thought we were bringing home mouse droppings by virtue of just being inside their (clean) house.  The car was now contaminated because we sat in it, the living room was contaminated because we walked thru it on the way upstairs to the shower.  Even after repeated vacuumings and cleanings the couch and under the couch was still 'contaminated' no matter that i never found anything.  The carpet around the couch got a daily vacuuming so that was clean, but now the vccuum cleaner was contaminated, as well as the cord.  (because the cord was on the contaminated carpet, and by the contaminated shoes.  Shoes are contaminated because they get worn outside and thus might have all sorts of stuff on them.

So compared to back then, i guess this week's dealings are not to bad.

It's now after midnight and i should probably reread this but living thru it once and then again while writing it down is enough for me.  I can't deal with it again.  It's after midnight