There are a lot of things I really love about my husband. Like the fact that he puts up with me while I’m writing, when he never knows if he’ll come home to find me typing along happily, or curled up in the fetal position under my desk, convinced the sky is falling. Also, he makes fantastic turkey burgers, still makes me laugh more than anyone I know, and is obsessed with Veronica Mars almost as much as I am. But the greatest thing, at least lately, is this: he deals with the mousetraps.
The importance of this act cannot be overstated. I mean, I know that if I lived alone, I’d have to set the traps and then—gulp—check and, when necessary, dispose of them. And I could do that. (Although, in total honesty, even as I write that I’m thinking, “No! I couldn’t! Not ever!”) But for years now—-all the way back to our farmhouse in Durham—we’ve had this deal: the mousetraps, and mouse disposal, is his thing. And I am so, so grateful. Because there is something about the thought of checking the traps and seeing a dead mouse that scares me more than all my other animal fears put together: bats, snakes, everything. Why is that? I have no idea. But I do know that I have been known to endure an INCREDIBLY smelly house for an entire weekend, waiting for him to get home, rather than slide open that drawer under the stove (which is where we set them) to get rid of whatever is decomposing there. I know, I know, it’s pathetic. But I just can’t do it.
(What we really need to do, actually, is put a DO NOT OPEN sign on that drawer. A couple of years ago, my friend Courtney and her now-fiance were housesitting for us and cooking dinner, and went looking for a cookie sheet. They opened that drawer, and got a big surprise that, most likely, made them lose their appetites entirely. Eeek! I still feel bad about that. Sorry Courtney!)
Lately, it’s been especially bad. This always happens when the weather changes: we have an influx of mice. They come in at night, and leave droppings all over the counter (yuck! shudder! gag!) rip into the stuff in our pantry and basically just run roughshod over everything. So we buy traps, and set them. The first night, recently, we set two, we caught two. The next night, one more. The worst is when you’re sitting on the couch, enjoying some quality programming, and you just hear this “SNAP!” followed by some thrashing and banging around. Oh, dear. That’s when I herd the dogs out to the deck and my husband moves into action, God bless him. Endures the carnage, delicately removes the corpses from the traps and tosses them into our sideyard where, by the next morning, they have always vanished, thanks to the owls and hawks. Sure, it’s the circle of life, but no one really wants to have to SEE it in mid process.
That he does this is SUCH a huge thing that I keep wondering what I can do that even comes close to equaling it: something tells me that, say, always buying soap and toilet paper, or paying the bills on time, things I do regularly, don’t quite cut it. What other chore can even begin to equal that kind of sacrifice? Maybe cleaning the bathroom, but only if it’s REALLY dirty. Or pulling ticks off the dogs? Nah, that’s not so bad either. I guess I just have to accept that, like with the putting up with my writing neurosis, I’m just in his debt, and will be forever. Oh, well. It’s better than emptying the traps, at any rate.