So, I didn’t listen. I kind of knew I should have, but I didn’t because, well, I didn’t want to. And so, I have a big problem on my hands. And it’s possible that the problem might be multiplying this very second right here in this house. And there’s not much I can do but wait. And clean. And listen for a SNAP!

Because, yes, we have mice in the house.

Judging from the amount of mouse poop I found in the closet where I kept the dog food, a healthy lot of them. A battalion at least. An army, more like. A big, hungry, greasy army of vermin that I could step on at any moment.

It all started last year when we adopted Tilly the Brave and she needed puppy food instead of adult dog food. Because I can be very miserly in unexpected ways, I decided that instead of buying a big bin to keep her food — like the one we have for Fitzi’s food — we could use a little one we already had and keep replenishing it for the year she had to be on puppy food.

This meant that the huge bag I was buying on — in order to save exactly $2.10 in the span of 12 months — sat open in the closet at the back of the pantry until we needed to replenish the, really, tiny Tupperware bin I was using on a daily basis.

I had an idea there might be a problem about four months ago when I saw some droppings on the pantry shelf. So, I threw out all the rice and dried beans, bought special containers to store dry goods in the future, and moved on. Then I found more droppings. And William, my husband, said that I should throw away the leftover Halloween candy, which, again, I had saved because I am miserly in unexpected ways.

He may have also told me that we needed to find a different way to house the puppy food. But investing $13 to buy another bin still seemed too steep a price to pay to me. And plus, what would we do with a big bin afterward? Didn’t I worry about contributing more trash to the landfill at all?

So, I ignored him. And ignored him. And then I ignored him some more. And because I didn’t actually see any mice, I thought all was well.

And then one day last week, I noticed that one of my jackets had fallen off the hanger where we keep them in the pantry. And as I was bending down to hang it back up, I noticed mouse droppings on the floor underneath it. And then I pushed all the coats aside and I saw a lot of mouse droppings. Like, the kind of shocking amount that makes you feel, just for a minute, lightheaded.

So then I tiptoed to the closet at the back of the pantry where we keep the dog food. And then I found a boatload more mouse droppings. An amount that not only makes you feel lightheaded, but gaggy too.

And I wanted to move away.


To the Greek island where Donna lives in Mamma Mia!

Where I would pursue a career in spontaneously singing ABBA songs.

But instead, because I certainly couldn’t afford the flight now, I got out the vacuum and I began cleaning the, dare I say it?, EFF out of the pantry and searching for mouse traps.

I didn’t find any extra traps on hand, dear readers. So instead I focused on cleaning and cleaning and cleaning, going through a big bin’s worth of Lysol wipes, which, I’m sure you’re aware, are not biodegradable.

And then, because mousetraps would probably be more expensive at Lowe’s, I ordered 12 of them from Amazon. Because I am miserly in unexpected ways. Which necessitated me waiting two days until I could load and spring the traps.

In which time the mice remained living happily — stuffed, dabbing their sated mouths with tiny linen napkins, burping even — in my house after a year-long feast of dog food.

And so now I write in the basement, tense as, yes, a mousetrap, listening for any scurrying, hoping for a SNAP!, wondering if the traps are even big enough to kill mice as big and fat as the ones that must exist in our home.

Because I am miserly in unexpected ways.


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