How Do You Spell “Mortified”?

Anyone who still reads this blog will attest that my day job has changed it for the worse. I used to write on many more and much broader topics, not to mention with far greater regularity. However, after longer-than-ought-to-be days at the day job and attempts at catching up in my now part-time business, I haven’t much energy or desire to do much of anything else, be it blogging or apartment cleaning.

The latter, however, became an absolute necessity last weekend. I always do well at throwing out the trash and rinsing the dishes so that they don’t stick up the place. But, to my great shame, I admit that I can go weeks and months without sweeping the floor. And to my greater shame, I forbid all my friends to drop in on me because I don’t want them to witness my shame. I do still have my pride.

During the unusual mild spell two weeks back, all nature got out of whack. The grass was rebecoming green; a fresh crop of dandilions popped up; animals that had begun bedding down for the winter were fooled into believing that winter had come and gone already. Hence at the tail end of a call that CP [in training] was monitoring, I had to remain calm even though I was witnessing something that made my stomach turn: I could see that Herman’s fifth cousin had taken residence in the kitchen, most notably on and in the stove.

So I spent last Saturday making sure my apartment was a less hospitable host for Herman V. After much sweeping, desinfecting, mopping and generally banging around, I spotted him in the living room, looking a bit dazed and clearly trying to find his way out. And that’s the last I saw of him.

There’s evidence suggesting that, unlike Herman and Hermina five years ago, Herman V was only here for a good time, not a long time. For instance, it doesn’t look like he made it as far as the cupboards. However, after my cleaning stint, I went on Google to try to determine what exactly Herman V is/was and what would have drawn him to my place since I had thought until now that really nasty compostable trash would constitute the motherlode for a little critter like him. What I determined is that based on his size, and as a result of having had a really good look at him, he is/was a common mouse — not the kind of roommate I would want in any circumstances, mind you, but not as bad as could be. And what I learned is that those stray coffee beans between the stove and the counter would be a bit draw for a guy like him. That, as well as corn and apples, among other things. Also, someone of Herman’s ilk can squeeze through a hole as small as a quarter inch, which is extremely easy to find in an older building like this. Therefore, putting all those ingredients together — odd weather, easy access, less-than-stellar housekeeping habits, and no deterring feline residents in the apartment — is akin to a Herman open-door policy.

However, given how this building is located next to a park on one side and restaurants on another, and recalling how other residents with exemplary domestic habits received visits from other members of Herman’s family while I wasn’t being bothered despite not having great habits of my own, I’m not deluding myself into believing that all unwanted critters have left the building. And while I admit my place was alluring for a while, I sincerely doubt that I single-handedly attracted them to the building. These little guys are everywhere; we just don’t always see them in action.