The last week, I’ve been dealing with a really disgusting problem: Mice.
Around 12:30-1 a.m. last Sunday night, after the Oscars, I discovered mouse poop in the corner of my dining room. That’s when the investigation began.
It was everywhere. It was in all the places I normally don’t see, so I wouldn’t know it was happening. It was under my sink (along with a chewed-through bag of dog food. Which is now gone, along with the rest of the dog treats I’d stored there.) It was behind my couch. It was behind my dresser. It was underneath the recliner that was right next to my bed. It was in my water heater closet. There were even a few little mouse droppings in one corner of my bathroom, underneath the bathroom cabinets.
The intense cleaning period started. I vacuumed everything (sorry to my downstairs neighbors for doing this in the middle of the night!). I Lysol’d. I disinfected. But the battle was far from over.
I finally gave in to realizing how late it was and knowing I had to work the next morning, and tried to go to sleep around 3 a.m. But 3 turned to 4. I couldn’t sleep. My anxiety — which can be very strong at times — was too intense. I couldn’t stop thinking about the mouse, the mice, being everywhere. Having free reign of my apartment. Crawling on me in my sleep. I finally fell asleep after 4, only to have dreams about mice and wake up at 7, unable to sleep again.
I called my apartment complex Monday morning. I knew maintenance was coming to replace my water heater, because there was a leak — which I now guessed might be mouse-related — and I asked if they could check to see if they thought mice were getting in there. They confirmed that they saw mouse droppings and said they’d call an exterminator, who would be out on Wednesday.
I still couldn’t sleep Monday night. The same thing happened. I fell asleep at my boyfriend’s in the evening, but then I returned home and couldn’t sleep (and not because of the nap…I nap almost every time I’m there).
So I let the terrorists win, as they say. I stopped sleeping at my apartment, instead staying at my boyfriend’s house. Which I’ve done every night since Tuesday night. I’d stop home for a little while after work to clean and check for new activity, then I’d go back to his house. (Thank you to him and his mom for putting up with me and my crazy. And Norm.)
Last night, I finally told myself I’d sleep in my apartment again. I hadn’t seen any new signs of mice activity that I knew of — every time I found new mouse poop, I attributed it to the fact that my vacuum hadn’t swept it all up before. It was in places I hadn’t been as vigilant. So, it probably wasn’t new.
But then my boyfriend used a Rug Doctor in my room, and I didn’t want to put my bed back on the wet carpet. I have no bed frame — just box springs and a mattress (which is part of the reason I don’t want to sleep in my bed) — and I was worried I’d trap water and moisture underneath, which would lead to mold. So back to his house we went.
Which brings us to today. I came home, determined as ever I’d actually sleep in my own apartment tonight.
And that’s when I saw it.
Two new mouse droppings under my kitchen sink.
Back to square one. Back to another round of sanitizing and disinfecting.
Back to extreme levels of throwing away unopened food. (I’d previously thrown away everything under my kitchen sink and everything on my counter, even though there was no sign of activity on my counter. I’ve now thrown away all food except for what is in my fridge — and that may even be next.
And maybe, back to being unable to sleep. Only time will tell. But I’m guessing if I stay here…I’ll be back to being unable to sleep. Even sitting on my couch, typing this, I look around quickly and alertly every time I hear the slightest noise in my apartment. And mice are nocturnal, mostly. What kind of sounds will I be able to handle hearing at night?
I know I shouldn’t be this terrified. But this is one of those things that is proving too much for my anxiety to handle. I can’t stop thinking about mice being everywhere. I keep checking for mouse poop at work, at my boyfriend’s, on the street. And I know mice are literally everywhere. And I’ve stayed places before where mice have been. But something about this is different. This is my home. And in my home, it’s not OK.
Since the exterminator’s traps don’t seem to be doing anything, we may be moving on to Phase 2: More traps and steel wool.
Until next time…