to live in an open field

I guess the pen is mightier than the sword since Winter sort of read my open letter from last week. That means that if I write about this, my problem will go away.

My husband and I have built a house in a new development in the city. It is beautiful, open, and we are on the corner lot. Except, we are the only ones living on our block right now, and our backyard is a walking path with a storm drain. We have moved in to their territory, and I feel as though they want it back.

Who are they?


In some attempt to drum up conversation with the dry wallers I mentioned that my husband caught 4 mice in the 4 traps that he set the night before. I gave my usual shiver of disgust and the one dry waller gave me this look like I was a complete idiot and said, "well you live in the middle of a field". As though I was completely unaware of this fact. When, in fact, I had been talking with my husband about getting a cat (even though I hate cats) to live in our garage and be on mouse patrol. I've even considered asking our future neighbours if they would want to share a cat. Can you do that? In all honesty, I'm not sure which is worse, owning a cat or having to live with mice in my garage.

The dry waller said that I should get humane traps, I replied that I wanted them dead, so he said put out poison. I was a bit confused by his logic, why wouldn't I just get the deadly traps then and not have to deal with poison and possible mouse carcasses in the future? At this point in the conversation I was the one was rolling my eyes. I said, "listen buddy, I grew up in a small town, we caught an average of 30 mice per spring or fall and we were never humane about it" not that we were inhumane, but I wanted to make the point that I wanted them dead quickly, cleanly, and with no tiny skeletons to find a year from now.

I once saw a mouse in my old house run across the counter and hide behind the coffee maker, I said to it, "you didn't see me and I didn't see you" as I backed out of the room and watched it scurry between the counter top and the dishwasher. I tore off upstairs like it was chasing after me.

I think this fear goes back to my childhood. I learned this behaviour from my mom who would sing her whole way out to the deep freeze in the garage in order to ward off the mice. I have seen, and joined her, in screaming while jumping up on a chair. I thought it was the ultimate tale of heroism and stoicism when she told me about a time when she was driving home on the grid road and a mouse came out and ran across her dash board and instead of swerving off the road in a screaming fit, she held 'er steady and stayed the course. She deserves a medal.

I've read Tale of Despereaux, and I loved it, I've babysat hamsters, I loved the movie Fievel Goes West, and the Rescuers Downunder was one of my favourite books, I've even pet a former student's pet rat. I did all of these things in an attempt to free myself of this irrational fear, but I know when it went to the depths of my core and lodged itself so deeply within my psyche.

My sisters are all quite a few years older than me. Their dolls and toys were put away into storage for several years and gathered dust, were eaten by moths, or disintegrated into dust (I'm exaggerating to see if they actually read this and comment). As a little girl with only my 3 brothers to play with I didn't have a lot of dolls or imaginary play that involved other girls, I was usually playing with tonka trucks or pretending to own a post office. So when my dad found out that I was interested in playing with my oldest sister's doll house, he brought it up to my bedroom that afternoon so that when I came home from school it would be there.

He had built the house, I think, and she had a few neat treasures in it. One side was all white, and it was a two storey house that would come up to my knee today, the open part had a few rooms and was carpeted, I think. It wasn't swanky, it was just a cute dollhouse. Except for the mouse skeleton that I found in the upstairs bedroom of the tiny dollhouse. I ran out of my room frantic and my brother came to my rescue. I was in a total panic, I had quite the imagination as a child and all I could picture in this house was a tiny mouse making his home. And you might think, how sweet and cute, like Stewart. But my sinister imagination was frighteningly realistic and since the dollhouse was pushed against the wall in the crawl space of the basement, I thought that this mouse had somehow gotten into the 'dream' but couldn't escape. It would run up and down the stairs looking for a way out of the house but instead be stuck only to die in the corner, a slow, starving, and painful death. And I kept picturing it scurrying back and forth, up and down the tiny stairs.

I pleaded with my brother to take the dollhouse back down to the basement, I was worried I would have several nightmares of a tiny mouse, dressed in tiny dresses, trapped in a white house with no escape. I was a tad dramatic as a child.

That was where the fear of mice gripped me. I could barely stand to go out to the deep freeze in the garage anyone without someone to hold the door for me and be my spotter. Just the thought of anything scurrying set me on edge and made me want to scurry. Hopefully in recalling this story I have healed some part of me, but I doubt it. I will dash through our garage every morning and night walking in and out hoping desperately to not cross the path of any rodent. *Shudder*

That's all.


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