My Secret Santa at work had given me a gift card and a bag of Hershey Kisses. Friday seemed as good a day as any to break into the bag of chocolate as I spent the evening unwinding from the holiday season and work. I ate seven or eight Kisses before calling it quits and I left the remaining chocolates on my coffee table. I went to sleep and I slept the kind of sleep one can only find when they know an alarm won’t be waking them.
The next morning I got a slow start. I spoke with a friend over the phone and I sorted old clothing. When I finally ventured downstairs I was ready to break a sweat. I was geared up and prepared for a workout, but, as counterintuitive as it sounds, I decided eating a Kiss before exercising was just the right sort of motivation I needed. I reached for the Hershey’s bag- remember how I had left an almost full bag on the coffee table- and it was completely empty! Not a trace of the wonderfully bite-sized candies were left.
My thought processes at this point was skewed. Rationality can’t be guaranteed when it comes to a woman missing her chocolate. My first theory, and I’m not making it up for this dramatic retelling of my story, was that an intruder came in the night and ate my chocolates. The kind of intruder that moonlights as a chocolate thief, mind you. When I checked my doors I soon deduced this theory was not plausible. My second theory was that I slept walked during the night and ate my own chocolates. Without a history of sleep walking and with no putrid morning-after taste in my mouth, I also concluded this theory was not viable. My third theory was only formulated after I slowed down my panic (missing chocolates is a big deal) and looked for evidence. Evidence I was looking for and evidence I found…in the form of mouse droppings.
In general, I’m not afraid of woodland creatures, so long as they stay in the woodlands. My house is no place for a mouse! Up until this point there had been no indication of mouse activity in my place of residence, so in order to find out where the mice were sneaking in I had to retrace any and all tiny mouse steps in order to develop a plan of attack. The first order of business was to tear apart my living room. In doing so I discovered candy wrappings underneath my Christmas tree skirt which led me to the utility closet which then led me to the hole.
With the point of entry established, my next order of business was to call my older sister. I needed advice, but more than that I needed a sympathetic ear. I wanted to know my distaste for such an inhumane breach of privacy was reasonable and not at all exaggerated. Just as all big sisters should do, she gave me obvious instruction and then proceeded to widen my panic by telling me tale after tale of mouse horror stories.
Knowing I would have to face the day eventually, I got dressed and headed to the store. I bought twelve different mouse traps. I couldn’t be sure what variety would work best and the strategy I’d formed in my head involved a series of mouse trap barricades ranging in complexity the closer I got to the point of entry. Risking it wasn’t an option and I could very well be dealing with an entire army of mice when considering the sheer volume of chocolate they stowed away within a night’s time. I set up the traps, lured with peanut butter, and I waited.Evening rolled around again, but instead of enjoying Hershey kisses as a means to unwind, I was camped out on my couch, feet avoiding contact with the ground, and watching a movie on low volume...just waiting. Then it happened! A mouse trap snapped shut! I felt excited. I felt afraid. I was confused. Again I needed advice, so I called my sister. She encouraged me to open the door to the utility closet. Open the door! Was she crazy? I envisioned hundreds of mice pouring out of the door as soon as there was opportunity. She suggested I arm myself with a broom or shovel, so I grabbed my kitchen broom not quite sure what I’d instinctively do if a mouse was coming at me while I was holding a weapon.
I opened the door with my sister still on the phone. As soon as I did so, I let out a sigh of relief. Apart from the excessive number of mouse traps on the floor there was nothing else to be seen. I picked up the trap that snapped shut and peaked inside, and as if the mouse was waiting for our inevitable showdown, it glared back at me with more disdain than fear. I put the trap back down, shaken by our meeting, closed the closet, and shoved a towel under the door. I fully intend to keep the occupied trap where it is, as a warning to other mice, or at least until my maintenance man comes and remedies the mouse situation.
So there you have it: a story for the ages. One that could have been told in a mere three sentences, but instead was dragged out far too long and far too dramatically. I declare with confidence; it is the year of the mouse.