As many of you know, an empire of mice has set up shop in my basement. I'm so clueless -- I didn't even notice until there were mouse droppings on my desk. Of course, neither did the Orkin man who is paid to come once a month and notice such things. He had the good grace to be embarrassed about it.
Although, in an excess of zeal, I did take pictures of both the mouse droppings and the dead mice, I'll spare you, and, instead, I'll share the good that has come out of the evil empire of mice.
My basement has been a disaster for years. It's the place where unwanted and seldom needed things go to die. Don't tell me you don't have one. I know you do. A few years ago, I cleaned up the finished side and installed my office and all my wool stuff there. Of course, all the other junk just got pushed to the unfinished side where it posed a hazard to any workmen attempting to access the heat pump or the hot water heater.
I used to say I was part of a federal program to improve neighborhood morale. I received a federal grant to keep my house messy so that my neighbors could say to themselves "at least my house isn't as bad as theirs." It was a public service.
|Messy storage area|
Apparently, it's been a public service to the mouse population instead.
|Cleaned, disinfected and |
organized shelves with dog
So, now, for the bright side. Having found six dead mice spurred not only me but the two girls to action. We've been working together a few hours a day for over a week to clean out the basement storage area. We've taken loads and loads of stuff to Goodwill, to offsite storage, and to the curb. We've discovered old treasures and baby toys and decided what we really value and what we can let go of. It's not nearly done yet, but I'm starting to see the end.
I NEVER could have done this without the girls' help. They needed to be involved for several reasons.
- First, it's a big job and I couldn't handle it alone. Even with three of us, it's overwhelming.
- They're part of the family and I should be able to expect them to contribute to its welfare.
- A large percentage of the stuff is theirs -- their old toys and their keepsakes. I couldn't make good decisions about what was precious to them and would probably throw out the very thing they loved most (and store forever some old trash).
- Another large percentage of the stuff is family stuff -- I hesitate to say "heirlooms" but stuff like that. By going through it together, they know where the good china and crystal are and that we actually have silver trays and chafing dishes (God knows I never use them). They were able to express their interest in several items and I marked them so they can have them when they need them.
So, in the end, the mice moving in will result in a large albatross being removed from around my neck. What a relief it will be to be able to walk freely in the storage area and actually find the stuff I need (instead of throwing my hands up and buying a duplicate). We may actually use the good china one of these days!