Thank God For the Mice

I’ve got mice. Well, correction I HAD mice. A few weeks ago I could no longer pretend I wasn’t hearing scritch- scratching in the attic. And listen, I know pretending NOT to hear it is NOT exactly the best way to deal, but sometimes this is just what we do. The scritch- scratching would come and go and I sort of just kept hoping it would go and stay gone.

But no. It wouldn’t. And I knew it was time to either burn down my house or call for help.


Side story: I have woods behind my house. I’m surrounded by wildlife, of which I’ve always fondly said, “I love nature. I just don’t like it near me.” So this isn’t the first time I’ve had mice. And I’ve honestly TRIED to handle the job myself, but I just can’t. I’m a pretty tough chica, but I have literally cried hysterically and talked myself through emptying mousetraps by saying things like, “You’ve been divorced! You’ve broken bones! You’ve been on! You can do this! You’ve done a lot of scary things! That mouse is dead! This is not scary!” But somehow, this powerful pep talking has not worked.

So I called an exterminator to take care of the problem. Jeff has been great. He’s super brave. Every time he goes up in my attic, I ask him if he’s scared. Or I ask him if he’s grossed out. And he always says things like, “No.”or “This is my job.” So, he’s been great.

But last week, after he was down in my basement catching mice and setting traps and doing his job, he came upstairs and said, “You have a big problem down there.”

Jeff. Don’t leave me cryin’ in the club.

This is not a phrase a homeowner wants to hear. Ever.

It turns out, when he was moving insulation around and doing his thing, he found some wet and rotted wood.

Awesome. So not only did I have mice, I needed to get my handyman in there, STAT.

(There’s nothing super STAT about Handyman Joe. He is EXACTLY like having Joe Pesci at my house doing chores. Every last thing about him. But he calls me Julie Girl, which I secretly love, so we’re basically best friends now.)

Later that night, when Boyfriend Erik, not to be confused with Exterminator Jeff  or Handyman Joe (or Tree-Trimmer Guy who sends flowers after he does a job here) and I were at the gym, I was recounting the nightmare of my day and whining about all of the homeowner issues I was facing. When I was finished, he looked at me and said, “Well thank God for the mice.”


Thank God for the mice? Wait, what?

Yes. Thank God for the mice.  If it weren’t for the mice, Exterminator Jeff never would’ve moved the insulation and uncovered the rotted wood. The rotted wood is already a big problem– but at least now it can be corrected by Handyman Joe. Had it not been found at all, it could’ve been DISASTROUS.

So in a weird way– a REALLY weird way– thank God for the mice. (It hurts to even write that. I am nuts.)

I keep thinking about what other “mice” I might have in my life–problems and circumstances I’m only seeing from one perspective; things that might actually have value and purpose beyond the surface. I’m trying to view irritating matters as potential mice and use them for growth and change and goodness. I’m looking for silver linings a little more carefully. (Big points for Boyfriend Erik here…)

I know. I know. It’s practically sickening– all of the positivity around this joint. But it’s either that, or burn the place down, and I kinda love it here. Mice and all.


To Believe in Love. Or Not.

ImageOn a recent snow day my girls and I had settled in to watch Yours, Mine and Ours–a favorite movie from a few years back.  The storyline gets laid out pretty quickly: Widow meets widower, they fall in love, get married, and proceed to merge 18 kids into one very messy blended family. And as the new family bickered and snickered and generally acted ugly toward each other, Emery (age 11), looked at me with mock horror. “Don’t ever do that to us! I don’t want to share a room and do all that!” She was kidding, but not really. And so I laughed and reassured her. “Don’t worry Em. I won’t.” And then, before I could back the truck up, this is what flew out of my mouth:

“I don’t think I ever want to get married again, anyway.” And in witty Emery fashion, she gave me a knowing look and asked, “Too much disappointment?”

I nearly spit out my drink. She knew she was being snarky with her little assessment of my unfortunate marital history (widowed and divorced)– and so I laughed and smiled back.

“Yes. Yes that’s exactly it.”

And that was that. We ate our popcorn and scoffed and marveled at the comical antics of this crazy blended family. (IF ONLY, people! If ONLY blended families were THAT much FUN.)

But that little dialogue stuck with me. Partly because of Emery’s very insightful question that seemed well above her age and maturity level.  But MAINLY because of my quick answer and the very clear message I was sending my daughters in that moment:I don’t believe in lasting love. I don’t believe in marriage. I don’t believe in happily ever after. And I certainly don’t want to take THAT risk again. Big. Heavy. Sigh. Oops. (But let’s be honest- married 3 times?? No offense…but no thanks. And I’m not quite sure my mother could survive another marriage with me anyhow. Thanks, Mom. I owe you. Like, in such a big, big way.)

And yet here’s the tricky part. I do believe in those things. Well…I sort of do. Well, I sort of do for other people but just not for me. (Clearly, I’m still working this out) In just about every other area of my life, I am the eternal optimist. I am a glass half-full kinda girl. I believe in silver linings. I look for the bright side. I believe in the sweetness of life and that it somehow eases the bitter. When life throws me a plot twist I’m usually pretty quick to find the positive. I believe that things have a way of working out. Blah, blah, blah. But love…ughhh. Love is a whole different beast.  Love has been…hard.

So. I need to do better.

Because it’s not okay with me if my girls think this way.

It’s not okay if I’ve somehow made them afraid of love or relationships or marriage.

It’s not okay if I’ve unintentionally sent the message that love will disappoint you. It will not win. It will not work out. It’s not okay to steal their girlhood dreams of Happily Ever After and Prince Charming and the Knight on the White Horse. I don’t want to tell them to be realistic. I don’t want to tell them there’s no such thing as true and lasting love. And I don’t want them believing it’s not possible for them. And in my heart of hearts, I don’t want to believe it’s not possible for me, either. So. Yeah. There’s that.

‘I asked her if she believed in love, and she smiled and said it was her most elaborate form of self-harm.’ ~Benedict Smith