Of Mice and Men [ 2005-06-08, 8:18 p.m. ]

Forgive the title, please, but understand that sadly, this is what has been on my mind lately.

Last Thursday night I was straightening up the apartment and walked out of the kitchen with an armful of dog toys - a bone, a ball, a Kong - and as I stepped into the living room, a mouse crawled out of the Kong, jumped, landed at my feet, then scurried back into the kitchen, hell-bent on reaching the safety of Behind The Fridge. Let me repeat that for emphasis: A MOUSE. CRAWLED OUT OF SOMETHING I WAS HOLDING. IN MY HANDS, THE HANDS THAT ARE ATTACHED TO MY PERSON. AND JUMPED TO MY FEET WHICH ARE ALSO ATTACHED TO MY PERSON. And like the big prissy girl I am, I screamed. SCREAMED.

Sadly, that is not the only mouse that has invaded my sweet little apartment. The kill tally stands, six days after the first sighting, at nine confirmed deaths. If that doesn't make you gag, then let me quickly also mention that while the first two mice were caught with traditional snap traps, we switched to the icky, awful, creepy-but-effective glue traps and the other night KENT FOUND TWO MICE STUCK ON ONE TRAP, together and still very much alive, of course. Try and think of something grosser than that. It is hard to do. Kent is solely in charge of checking the traps and disposing of the nasty fucking vermin, while I am in charge of freaking the fuck out and holding the dog. I keep asking him, It's gross, isn't it, I mean, how bad is it, is it really disgusting, how can you stand to look at them, how bad is it, IT'S GROSS, RIGHT? And all he will tell me is that the long barbeque tongs are "no longer for food." GAG.

At first Kent was a little squeamish about the mice, but he has developed a taste for venegence and is starting to revel in each kill. His new favorite thing to do is to announce, in booming movie-voice-over voice, "THE LEGENDS SPEAK OF A GREAT WARRIOR..." He calls himself the Great White Hunter of Warren Street. He also stood for over an hour in the kitchen, holding a rope attached to a Corona Light box, with a trail of dog kibble leading into the box, hoping to lure and then trap a mouse. My husband, the Columbia MBA, human version of the game Mouse Trap. That we don't talk about so much. ("But babe, if the mouse comes out for the kibble, it will go INTO the Corona Box, and that's when I PULL THE ROPE and yank the box up and then THE MOUSE WILL BE TRAPPED! And I will WIN.")

My friend Jay visited us last weekend, and he dared to suggest that I was perhaps overreacting to the mice situation. BUT THE KONG, I shrilled. Molly, it's just a little mouse, he kept saying. Mice...MICE, it is plural, I shrilled, louder this time. As of Sunday, we had only caught two, so the problem seemed manageable and perhaps Jay was right in telling me to calm down. But he was not here for Monday's Mouse Massacre, during which we caught two in the morning, three when I came home from work, two before bed, and one more during the night. At that point I felt justified in NOT calming down, not even a little bit. Tuesday was mouse-less, save for one sighting last night. The traps remain empty. Whether the mice have been killed or are simply getting smarter and plotting against us remains to be seen. Or hopefully, unseen, because those scurrying little fuckers give me chills. Yesterday I was considering moving. We are investigating the area behind the refrigerator tonight, and I am scared.

I sometimes wish I were single, not because my husband has done anything to make me regret marrying him, but because the simplicity of it appeals to me so much. Take care of one person, make plans for one person, buy food for ONE person and do whatever that one person wants. Love it. And I think I could be very happy living on my own, putting everything in just the right spot and never finding contact lens solution on my bathroom counter ever again. But these mice made me realize that there are some things for which I simply am not prepared. I would take a vacation by myself, rewire a chandelier alone, repaint my apartment and invest my own money and get rid of spiders that find their way inside. But there is no fucking way I could have dealt with these vile mice on my own. A woman may need a man like a fish needs a bicycle, but this woman needed someone to pick up the nasty fucking mice and having a man came in quite handy. Kent shuddered and said - trash bag with nasty buggers inside held at arm's length - This is scoring me major husband points, right? I told him I'd go ahead and bear the children in exchange, unless he wanted to trade.

I write a lot about the women in my life, namely my friends, and namely about how fantastic they are, but too often I neglect the men. Not that there are many, but please know that while I adore my girlfriends, need my girlfriends, I love men. Love them. Love their hands and forearms and voices and jeans and the way the back of their neck looks right after a haircut. I love a man in the kitchen, I love a man in a bookstore, I love a man in a suit or a pair of worn jeans or looking under the hood of a car. I love seeing my husbands squared-off, boyish (I mean, masculine) hand writing (Man Print, I call it). And even though I always refuse to let my husband carry my bags when we travel (Me: I CAN TAKE CARE OF MYSELF YOU KNOW! Him: No shit, but I was trying to be nice and by the way, you are bumping into me with your massive duffle bag and why can’t you get a rolling bag like everyone else. Me: Because I am INDEPENDENT and I don’t need any WHEELS to take care of me because I AM JUST SO INDEPENDENT), it is nice to have someone around who can lift heavy things. I understand levers and pulleys and whatnot, so could manage on my own, but my husband dragged our old couch to the curb and I didn’t even have to help at all. I love men.

Another favorite man of mine was with me this weekend. Jay flew up from Florida to come to my birthday party, which absolutely touched me to the bottom of me soul. I love when Jay comes to visit because he is like the very best bits of me and of Kent put in one person, with all the crappy bits left out. And he has an amazing body and walks around my apartment in nothing but a towel. Because we are Close. Kent and Jay together is one of my favorite sights in the world. Jay is sweet, soulful, funny, witty, dazzling, artistic, creative. Kent is kind, funny, warm, tender, traditional, loving, open. Before meeting Jay, Kent didn’t know anyone who was openly gay, and came from a very conservative family and grew up with very conservative friends, and seeing how eagerly and openly he embraced Jay as a friend (and then realizing that to me, Jay was family) made me confident that I was with a good, good person. I know it sounds silly to even mention sexuality, but if you knew Kent’s family – who are kind but close-minded about some things – you would understand how significant it is to me that Jay and Kent are as close as they’ve become. On our wedding day, Jay was the groomsman who kept Kent relaxed, the one who cracked the jokes and entertained and made sure everyone was happy. And he showed up at my door on Friday looking tan and beautiful and - while Kent had a drink with friends – got good and trashed with me over Thai food and gossip.

Saturday morning was me with Jay and Kent, happy as someone with a lingering suspicion that she is living with a rodent infestation can be. Jay and I went to the gym together and I pretended that everyone thought he was my husband (because he has an amazing body and I am shallow), even though he was in tight orange shorts and flirting with other hot guys. Kent and Brit went and decorated for my party and I got a pedicure while Jay sunned himself on the piers. I discovered my good flatiron was absolutely, most definitely broken and cursed the Italian electricity which somehow killed it dead, then did the best I could with my hair (which was not very good at all) and got dressed for the party, wearing the outfit that Jay had earlier approved, including accessories, because sometimes the clichés are true and a gay best friend is KEY when picking an outfit for a Milestone Birthday Party.

And then, with my favorite men at my side and the mice out of sight and out of mind, I went to my lovely, lovely party, which was so deliciously lovely that I will remember it forever and ever and ever. Kent and Brit decorated with beautiful flowers and my iPod was playing all my favorite songs and all my favorite people were there (almost) and the food was amazing and there was wine and chatter and my worlds collided in the most wonderful way imaginable. I wore a purple crown. We had appetizers and Proseco outside and then sat down for dinner at a long table filled with interesting and beautiful people, and my dear friend Sara made the most amazing cake I’ve ever see. Caroline and Michael and Pastry and Todd and Beck and Sarah and Sara and Dan and Susie and S and Tim and Karen and Katherine and Peter and Alex and Jay and Brit and Kent all gave me the best gift ever, which was a beautiful party, and towards the end of the night a random guy in the restaurant came over and complimented my shoulders and then we went to a bar nearby and Jay and Caroline discovered they might be soul mates and the guy who liked my shoulders was also there and wanted to buy me a drink, and I got home late, with Kent and Jay, and fell asleep happy as any 30-year old has any right to be.




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