Tag Archives: mice

you can call them “field mice” if you want to

don't fall for it! it is STILL a mouse. i know it's in an orange but it will bite you!

when i was a little kid–i think i may have been in second grade–i did my homework over the weekend and then promptly lost it. i noticed this sunday night, the most dreaded night of school-aged children, and proceeded to have a mini meltdown.  

“i don’t want to tell my teacher i lost my homework!” i told my parents, completely panic-stricken that i was going to get in what us kids called “big trouble.”

“tell your teacher you misplaced it,” they told me calmly.

misplaced, i thought. wow. that sounded so much better. yes, that would work, i decided. i would tell the teacher–actually, i think it was a student teacher–that  i misplaced my homework. it was much more mature and refined. i once knew where it was, but now i didn’t. which meant that i misplaced it and did not lose it like the irresponsible second grader that i was.

i took a deep breath, dislodged my wedgie, and told the student teacher that i had “misplaced” my homework over the weekend. i swear to this day i think i saw her try to hold back a smile. thinking back on it, i’m surprised she didn’t let out a laugh, too. what second grader comes into elementary school saying she misplaced her homework?? me, obviously. but it worked and i felt better. she gave me another worksheet, and i redid it. case closed.

i’m telling you this story b/c i crack up when people change language to make things seem…not so bad. take “field mouse,” for example. now that we’ve dealt w/our fair share of mice, it always cracks me up when people see/find/catch a mouse in their house and tell people that it is/was just a little field mouse.

i used to go for the whole field mouse thing before i moved to a rowhouse that shares walls w/who knows what. but as a tried-and-true resident of southeast baltimore, i’m not falling for it anymore.

i hate to break it to you, but a mouse is a mouse, folks. just like a roach is a roach and not a “water bug.” the mice we occasional caught in picturesque suburban new jersey look exactly the same as the mice we catch here in downtown baltimore (well, except for the gang tattoos…). 

if saying field mouse makes you feel better b/c it makes you feel like it came from a farm or is actually a talking cartoon mouse or just, you know, accidentally wound up in your house b/c it got sidetracked from the field it was crossing, so be it. but i say a mouse is a mouse is a mouse (even if it’s in an orange; see above). ugh, i can’t believe i ever had rodents (hamsters) as pets. of course i used to have lizards (ok, just chameleons), too. i also used to pick up worms. a lot has changed with me since the early/mid 80s.

as for the word “misplaced,” i don’t think i’ve used it since second grade. (if i ever go to england, maybe i’ll use it there. seems like a place where they’d use that word.) and i really don’t get many wedgies anymore either. in case you were wondering. which you probably weren’t. just saying.

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“when you’re pregnant, i’m sending you to your parents’ for nine months”


i am apparently one of these when i'm sick. (my fave mug in our kitchen, btw. so funny, right??)

thanks, babe. thanks. i really appreciate that.

if you hadn’t already guessed, it was my lovely unlawfully-wedded partner who said that to me. only days ago. as i lay groaning in bed from a cold/flu type thing, which i undoubtedly must have caught in “room 618,” the room where they can ppl at my former place of work (i must give a shoutout to the ex-colleague/friend that pinpointed where we picked it up; she got it, too. HOLLA!)

so. apparently i’m a bad patient.

“you’re worse than a man!” holly says to me each and every time i get sick. [apparently men are bad patients? she was married before (yes, to a man, and yes, if she lets me i will tell you a little more about that in my book) so i guess she’d know.]

and i’m like (cough, sniffle), “babe! cut me slack! i don’t (cough, gag, etc.)…i don’t feel good!”

“i know you don’t feel good! you tell me every five minutes!” she said sometime over the past few days. ” i swear, woman, when you’re pregnant, i’m sending you to your parents’ for nine months!”

this, despite its ridiculousness (wait, honey, you’re joking right?? right?), made me laugh extremely hard. somehow i don’t think anyone would be ok with this plan except holly.

so yeah. i was sick. in case you were wondering where i was. which you probably weren’t. but still.  

“you probably have swine flu,” my mom said casually to me over the phone on friday.

“mom, i don’t have swine flu,” i said.

“you might. i mean, you probably do. maybe just a mild case. but it’s probably the swine flu.”

a mild case of the swine flu. oh mom. mothers. you know? i know you know. (esp. if you have a jewish mother.)

anyhow, it knocked me flat on my ass from thursday afternoon til today, pretty much. but in a way, it felt kind of good. like, cleansing. like all the bad stuff that built up in me over the past miserable year and a half of my four-year stay at FPOE (former place of employment; i’ll just call it that from now on, much easier) just kind of exploded and now it’s over. it also gave me a chance–more like forced me–to take it easy. tho i like stopping to enjoy, say, a cup of coffee, i so rarely take it truly easy. nothing like a whopper of a cold to force you to slow the hell down.

one thing i started doing again (haven’t done this in a long long time) while i was sick–and something i will continue doing, i am happy to say–is read. i love reading memoirs. especially effed up druggie/rehab/bad childhood memoirs, probably b/c it makes me feel really really ok and normal. [i can thank augusten burroughs, author of “running w/scissors,” (bad bad childhood), “dry” (alcoholism/rehab) and “wolf at the table” (homicidal father; i read the entire thing on saturday)  for my fascination w/these books.] now i’m onto “a million little pieces,” despite all the controvery re: it’s authenticity.

why am i telling you this? i’m telling you b/c as i was calmly, quietly (yes, i can be quiet. sometimes. anyway) reading “a million little pieces” last night (holly, sitting on the floor in front of the couch, was doing homework-type stuff; she’s back in school in case i never mentioned it), we heard a sound. a sound we became all too familiar with over the cold months. a sound that, when i heard it while holly was at school last semester, i swore i thought something was gonna pop outta the damn wall and hiss and bear its teeth at me.

we muted the tv. (we were listening to the radio or something) we heard it again. louder.

we looked at each other, wide-eyed. after a moment we looked at each other again and shrugged.

“it’s probably just a mouse,” i said. nothing we can’t handle. we’ve dealt w/this crap before. if you live in baltimore, esp. in a rowhouse where you share ancient walls with potentially filthy and/or ancient neighbors.

we put the tv back on. the noise started again.

“MUTE THE TEEVEE,” i said in my most loud jewish whisper (you know, the kind you reserve for synogauge when you’re talking about how short someone’s skirt is).

we listened. nothing again. the tv went back on. then we heard the sound louder than we have ever ever heard it. i didn’t need to tell holly to mute it again, she did it w/out me saying a word. we listened, paralyzed with fear. i’m telling you, you guys would have sh*t your pants. the noise came closer
and closer
and closer…

and then…


then we screamed.


“IT’S IN THE VENTILATION!” holly shouted.

“OH MY G-D!” i screamed back, while i turned off the entire hvac (heating/ventilation/air-conditioning) system. well more like i turned it off and then on and them off again while i screamed and jumped up and down and freaked the hell out and shook.

it scurried again some more and stopped.

it probably wasn’t a rat. it probably was a mouse. i mean, who the hell knows. they’ve got to sound louder when they’re in huge industrial-grade metal exposed hvac pipes.  in any case, i’m tired of dealing w/this sh*t on our own. it’s time to bring in the big dogs. it’s time for a serious exterminator b/c i have had it.

i’ve pretty much had it w/everything lately. between the effing rats out back, the mice inside and out, the feral cats (we have caught quite a few; i’ll also leave that for the book) and, oh, i don’t know, witnessing a bunch of guys jump out of a car and kick the living sh*t out of some of our neighbors across the way (we called the police; unfortunately, this wasn’t the first or even the second time we’ve seen something like this go down late at night pretty much in front of our house), and the open-air drug market across the street, i don’t think either one of us is going to last much longer in this city. i’m really starting to lose my cool.

i just…we just. we need a break. you know? we need a goshdarn break.

altho, for the first time in my entire life,  i had to skip rosh hashanah services (over the weekend) b/c i was so sick, i really do feel like we will somehow get a break this year (jewish, i.e. lunar, year) and things will get better.

“bad things come in threes, right?” my mom said over the phone last night when i called to tell her what was going on. “that’s what they say. and then things start getting better.” (tho i must say she doesn’t know the half of it. no one really does save for holly and i)

while we’re way past three (again, the book), i’ve got to hope so. in the meantime, i’m just glad i’m not a disgusting infectious “room 618” mess anymore. i have cleansed myself of my FPOE and i. am ready. to rumble.

mice: 1, us: zero

oh fer cryin out LOUD can you just leave us ALONE?!!!

oh fer cryin out LOUD can you just leave us ALONE?!!!

i really didn’t want to talk too much about this issue but i can’t hold back any longer:

the mice have taken over. they’re holding us hostage in our house. they’re demanding cheese and peanut butter and assorted crumbs and they’re not leaving until they get them.

ok, i’m over-dramatizing things. (they recently freed our hands but we’re still tied to our chairs.)  but it’s bad. we don’t understand where they’re coming from. or how they’re getting in. but it’s like, as soon as you kill one (yes. we kill them. if you have a problem with this, you should probably stop reading now), there’s five more. they don’t care who’s around or visiting or if you’re eating lunch, just reading a book, minding your own business. they scamper right on out onto our bamboo floors as if to say, “eff you. we’re baltimore mice. and even tho we don’t help pay your mortgage, we’re gonna hang around as long as we damn well please so you’d better get used to it and go to hell while you’re at it.”

there’s also a cat (or something big that definitely sounds like it has paws) in the wall and/or ceiling. and it crawls around, esp. at night when holly’s at class, and scares the sh*t outta me. i cannot take any more of this. i. am losing. my mind. [and pul-leeze don’t tell us to get a cat. yeah, we kind of don’t (read: really really don’t) like cats. yes, we’re gay and female in a long-term relationship and we have no cats. neither one of us has ever had a single cat. see? stereotypes were made to be broken. i also don’t own a single pair of boat shoes or chinos. so there.]

the whole situation makes me wonder how i ever EVER had hamsters as pets. they’re RODENTS. mice are rodents, TOO. as are *rats* [oh pls, don’t get me started on baltimore (and DC while we’re at it) and rats] man, i had a patient mother. mice are disgusting and, as i said earlier this weekend, if i could, i’d destroy every single mouse on the planet.

mice, if you’re reading, you’d better watch out. we’re coming for you and it’s gonna get ugly. this is war.