I shrugged. "I don't know."
I grabbed something to drink and then suggested he look behind the microwave and see if there were any of the black specks there. He pulled the microwave away and both of our hearts sank.
"Oh no," I lamented. "What do we do?"
I thought about how nice it was having a mousing dog (when he wasn't yapping).
Dave wiped up the droppings; I looked in the pantry. Yep. "Ugh."
I felt so frustrated and angry.
We immediately dealt with the new crisis. Dave cleaned. I posted the news on Facebook.
We quickly received some great tips, ranging from "vibrating repellents" to standing on a chair and squealing. We immediately implemented some of the ideas and are saving the others for an actual rodent sighting. We initiated the emergency rodent plan. Well, we didn't have one; we just made one up.
!! THE EMERGENCY RODENT PLAN !!
Phase one. Freak out. Clean up droppings. Acquire mouse traps and repellent.
Phase two. Sani-wash all utensils, gadgets, and kitchen rags.
Phase three. Spray foam in the hole in the basement we've been meaning to block for four years.
Phase four. Ban eating in all rooms outside of the kitchen. Watch for new droppings.
Phase five. Clean the house as if the Queen of England was coming over for tea and crumpets.
Phase six. Ask British neighbor for Queen's phone number.
Phase seven. If all else fails, torch the place.
We began cleaning the kitchen in silence, each in separate areas, lost in our own thoughts.
I broke the silence after finding droppings in four kitchen drawers.
"At least, he was thorough."
"You say that like it's a good thing," replied David.
Quiet. Clean, wipe, empty.
I spoke again.
"I'm hoping these are old droppings, and the mouse has moved on."
David said, "I think he was here while we were in Hawaii."
"You mean... when no one was stirring... "
We completed the statement in unison. "Except for a mouse."
Quiet, clean, wipe.
"It must be a healthy mouse. We haven't gotten sick all this time even with it running across our utensils," I said.
(Weird look from Dave)
I continued cleaning in silence. I wondered things.
Where is it getting in? Where does it spend most of its time? Why did it come here? I don't want a mouse. We don't even have the Disney channel. How big is it? How often does it poop?
I spoke again.
"How often do mice poop? Is it like once a minute?"
Clean, scrub, wipe.
It was David's turn to break the quietness. "Well, at least, we don't have a constipated mouse."
(Notice how we keep assuring ourselves there is only ONE?)
I must admit one point of gratitude for the mouse. He/she has given me the extra incentive to snap out of my tired fog and get going each day as I clean and declutter spaces in the house.
So, the house is clean, and every night, we clean the kitchen thoroughly before going to bed. But we find a few droppings every morning. Dave says he heard it early one morning while he was reading in the living room.
Several neighbors have offered their helpful (and disturbing) mouse stories. I think our mouse is smarter than my neighbors' mice because ours did not "just walk onto the glue trap after only a day of it being out." I even put bread crumbs by the trap. Bread crumbs: gone. Glue trap: empty.
Seriously, after the hornet problem this summer, and the Black Widow problem in the garage, I'm wondering if lice and 3 days of darkness are on the horizon. Glad I have my food storage!
Hm. Maybe I should check my food storage...
[Posted song: "Mickey Mouse Club March"]