My Week 16 – Jimmy the Mouse and Awkwardness With Boobs

Sunday: The Saga of Jimmy (It has a happy ending, so don’t feel too bad)

We have mice. I don’t mean that we have pet mice (well not up until now anyway); I mean that there are mice in our house. It’s an old house with a partial basement and crawl space, and we hardly ever go down there because it’s uber-creepy and the ceiling is so low that you have to walk hunched over. (Side note: There is an old cistern in the basement. Once, we had problems with our water softener, and a repair guy came to look at it. Out of the blue, he started telling me how the cistern had water in it, and I “should come down to the basement and take a look.” I was alone in the house, so I was like, NO THANKS, but he kept insisting, until I had to lie and say a) I believed him so completely that seeing it for myself was unnecessary and that b) our former dog , a tremendously sweet yellow lab, was very protective and could be quite vicious if provoked. I said this while she stared at the dog cookie jar wagging her tail. He finally left, and I immediately locked all the doors.) So anyway, every once in a while, there are mice. We know this because somehow they get into the cupboard under our sink, and poo everywhere. They can’t get out into the actual house but it’s still yucky and gross—apparently mice defecate continually, like little poo machines. We were using live traps for a long time, and Ken and I would drive the mice out to the country and let them go. I like to silently whisper “Fly, good Fleance, fly!” in an homage to Shakespeare’s Macbeth and hope that the mouse understands that if it comes back, I might have to assassinate it to preserve my throne. I think I might be giving the mice too much credit, but they don’t normally come back, so maybe my empty threats are working. But lately, the mice have been a little overwhelming, and have also figured out how to chew through the live traps. So Ken finally got fed up, and said to me in that domineering and commanding way he has, “I’m done with live traps. Get me the ones that KILL the mice, woman!” OK, he didn’t actually say “woman”, but it makes for a great dramatic flourish, and he WAS rather commanding. Good work, honey. I hated to do it, but I bought some traps, you know, those wooden ones that snap at you and make the horrible sound. Then last weekend, I woke up, and this was the conversation:

Ken: “I caught a mouse last night, but the trap just got his leg. It’s in K’s room.”
Me: “I’m confused. The leg is…”
Ken: “The MOUSE is in K’s room. She wouldn’t let me kill it, so she got a lunch container, poked some holes in the lid, and the mouse is in it. His name is Jimmy.”
Me: “You named the mouse Jimmy?! What are we going to do with him?! What about his leg?”
Ken: “K named him. His leg is OK—it’s just a bit funny-looking. We’re taking him to the cottage with us.”

So I went into K’s room, and there was Jimmy, looking quite lively despite the bum leg. Later that morning, we packed up, put Jimmy in the truck with us and Titus, who seemed absolutely unconcerned that a mouse was his travelling companion, and we drove to Port Burwell. By this point, however, my maternal instincts had kicked in, and I started worrying about Jimmy. Were his air holes big enough? Was he hungry or thirsty? Was he in pain? When we got to the cottage, I made him a wee water bowl out of a K-cup, and K and I researched the kind of food mice liked. We didn’t have any of the things mice tend to eat (K had apparently been feeding him almond slices the night before, but we had no nuts at the cottage), so I gave him Rice Krispies, which he seemed more interested in tossing around than eating. Considering he’d been into our garbage until very recently, I thought it was kind of diva-ish of him, but I don’t know mice very well. At any rate, he stayed on K’s bedside table until the next morning, with all of us checking in on him regularly to make sure he was still happy. And alive. He was remarkably chipper, all things considered. That morning, after we finally got K out of bed, she and Ken took Jimmy outside to the composter (Ken was convinced that the middle of the compost pile would be warm and provide him with food) and by all reports (because I couldn’t bear to see him go), when the container was opened, Jimmy hightailed it into the compost without so much as a backwards glance. “Live long and prosper, Jimmy,” I whispered silently. But secretly, I hope he doesn’t prosper too much, because I really don’t want mice at the cottage. We’ve had enough trouble with squirrels. But that’s another story.

Thursday: OMFG, could I be any more awkward?

On Thursday after work, I decided to go shopping for a dog coat for Titus. Ken likes to take him on long walks, and although he never complains, I worry that he’s too cold. Titus, that is, not Ken. Plus, he would look awesome in a black leather jacket, or a tweed Burberry style pea-coat. I went to Petsmart, and all they had were tiny tutus for tiny dogs, and cutesy sh*t like that, so I gave up and went to Winners. I found a coat that was dark brown with a snappy corduroy collar that looked like it was big enough for a gigantic dog. Also, I found some shoes and a matching top. For me. Hey, if Titus gets a new outfit, then so do I right? I went to the checkout line, and I found myself behind a woman who was holding and rocking a tiny, TINY baby. The baby was wearing an adorable outfit and had one of those headbands with a bow on her head. I was staring at the baby when the woman noticed and turned around to face me. Which is when I realized that she was actually breastfeeding the baby while she was standing in the checkout line. Now, I have no issue at all with people (well, women) breastfeeding in public, and I think boobs are great but then I got worried that she maybe thought I was staring at her exposed breast rather than at her cute baby. So I did what anyone would do—I struck up a conversation with her, which, as you know, is never a good thing, considering my social awkwardness with strangers. But she was very friendly. The baby was just three months old–time had flown by so quickly, she said. Just wait until you have a sixteen-year-old–you blink and suddenly they’re taller than you, I said. And so on. Still, here’s the problem. It was virtually impossible not to look at her “lady-friend”. It was like someone telling you NOT to think about rhinoceroses. It was there, like a pale, life-nurturing beacon, and she kept referring to the breastfeeding process, like, “Oh, you’re so hungry, aren’t you?” (to the baby, obviously), until I just kept trying to make eye contact while giving what I hoped were casual glances at the baby/boob in an effort to make HER feel comfortable, especially since the woman behind me in line, who smelled liked she had just smoked 15 cigarettes at once, kept throwing her the evil eye. Finally, there was a free cashier, and off she went, suckling baby and all. I breathed a sigh of relief, then I saw the cashier do a double-take, and I sent out sympathetic vibes to HER, as she tried not to talk to the boob.

Then I was reminded of my other very awkward conversation this week, when I was talking to a colleague who was getting text messages from a friend. “She’s my spiritual friend,“ she informed me, but I was a little distracted so I replied without thinking (as per usual), “Oh, is that like a girl crush or something?” She looked at me curiously, at which point I thought maybe I needed to elaborate (turns out I didn’t), so I said, “You know, like the female equivalent of a bromance? Like a friend you would…” She replied, very thoughtfully, “No, more kind of a life coach. We do yoga together and go to spiritual retreats. She gives me advice about big life decisions and things like that.” Then I felt like a bit of an idiot, and I was grateful that my colleague is a really awesome person who is not judge-y at all. The world needs more people like her, and less like the cigarette-smoking woman who apparently DOESN’T like boobs.

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