The other morning I reached into the pantry for the olive oil and as I slid it out I caught a glimpse of something on the shelf.
“Oh Hell no.”
“Hell. To. The. No.”
“Nonononononono fuckidy no.”
A mouse in a trap.
The Yellow House has mice. Of course we do; it’s an old house in the middle of a field. I want to get a cat but Mr. C nixed that idea. I’m not a cat person but if it meant scaring off mice then sign me up for Cat Lady.
I moved through my olive oil based task, taking my sweet time as I dredged the chicken through the spices and oil for roasting. It became a meditative act; this forgetting there was a dead mouse in the pantry. Maybe if I pretended it wasn’t there it would disappear. As I worked and willed a wrinkle in the time-space continuum I heard Dr. Doctor reminding me to check the traps for mice:
“You don’t want them to turn to pudding.”
I nodded to no one and myself because I’m alone in the Yellow House. Brother has moved to the Midwest, Mr. C is back east. Just me. Little old me. And a dead mouse.
The last time I found a mouse I was dead honest with Brother:
“I’m pulling the Chick Card: there’s a mouse in a trap over here.”
I waved towards the pantry and left the room with an imperious swish of a woman who has people to do all those icky jobs. Without batting an eye he took care of the vermin for me. I did not have to don gloves or sully them with dead mouse. The dead mouse did not tread upon my delicate female sensibilities.
I put the chicken in the oven and leaned against the counter, staring at the pantry, trying to manifest the dead rodents disappearance and I smoldered over all the times I didn’t get to pull the Chick Card.
Pulling the Chick Card is when you don’t have to do dirty or disgusting jobs because you are a girl. It’s a terribly sexist way of living one’s life and I have to admit it’s one of the ridiculous standards of behavior my father tried to instill in me. It’s one I embrace and hold dear to my heart.
Unclogging toilets, snaking drains, anything with the septic tank, moving heavy furniture, and anything dead animals. These are all the Boy Jobs and Chicks don’t have to do them. Unless of course there aren’t any adult Boys around and then the Chick has to do them.
I started coaching myself towards the dead mouse with all the times I couldn’t pull the Chick Card and had to take care of icky Boy Jobs. Most of my adult life. Wasn’t I the one who pulled the dime out of Pearce’s nose? Wasn’t I the one who pulled the dead rabbit out of Kipper’s mouth (our beloved family mutt) that afternoon we were late to the orthodontist; my sons standing there gapping at me in horror and admiration? Wasn’t I the one who unclogged all sorts of things for the last fourteen years? And could this dead mouse–even if it was “pudding”–be as bad as mopping up barf or poop during the mommy years? Or worse, mopping up the errant body fluids of strangers when I was working in the hospital? Or heaven forbid that nasty abscess on poor Kipper’s tail? Or OMGWTF killing wolf spiders in the garage?
At that point my inner Supportive Life Coach morphed into No Nonsense Gestalt Coach:
“Oh for heavens sake, Laura you can do this. It’s not that bad. Just last January you found mice and managed to do away with them without crawling on a chair or falling into the vapors, or calling Mr. B to do it for you. Why are you being such a baby? Get your big girl panties on; put on some rubber gloves, and get rid of the dead mouse. You’re alone in the house and you don’t have anyone to rescue you. Most importantly you don’t need anyone to rescue you.”
I got a little huffy with Gestalt Coach; didn’t she know I’m tired of being the woman who nine times out of ten doesn’t get to pull the Chick Card? I want to be the girl who walks away, with a wave of the hand towards her male minions, signaling it is time for them to deal with the icky stuff. Like a did about two weeks ago. It was brilliant.
But then Supportive Life Coach piped up and reminded me deep down I don’t want to be that woman. I want to be the woman who will catch a toad, mop up the messes, lance the wounds, wants to be brave enough to shoot snakes, and—yes—even dispose of the dead mouse.
I snapped on my gloves, grabbed the trashcan and marched to the pantry. I locked my jaw so I wouldn’t squeal. Silently and with a shutter, I threw the mouse, trap and all into the garbage. No way was I saving the trap. That’s why I work a meaningless job so I can go to Home Depot and buy traps over and over again.
You’ll be happy to know the little varmint wasn’t pudding.