A mouse in the house
Growing up in Miami Beach, indoor wildlife was a thing.
We had ants. We had lizards. But worst of all, we had palmetto bugs: Ugly, dirty, oversized roaches with wings. Like skunks, they could spray a stinky liquid if you caught them by surprise.
Our house had a concrete foundation and doors and windows that seemed to seal, but, like everyone else, we also had humidity and trash. There was nothing we could do.
Ah, but there was!
In those pre-ozone-aware, pre-PETA days, we shot poison from aerosol cans straight at living things. We watched them scatter and prayed for them to die.
Today, the world is ever more violent. Yet (thankfully) we have pest control professionals instead of “exterminators.”
We treat our pests with respect.
The Urban Dictionary defines "sentient" as "capable of sensing." It says, “Even a lowly rat is fully sentient.”
Herein lies my problem. Mice are sentient beings.
Case in point: The brazen little bugger that scurries in from the heat vent and stares at me while I watch TV. Nightly, he helps himself to crumbs of dog food and leaves me scat.
I say I want him gone. But ambivalence keeps me from getting the job done. And my lack of commitment annoys me more than the empty traps.
Rodent lovers, avert your eyes! This is gonna get ugly.
After the humane box traps and the gluey platforms failed, my friend Ellen promised the kind of results that come from experience.
She helped me fill about a dozen old-school traps with bait.
We were still placing them around the house when—SNAP—we had a casualty under the sink.
Assuming our mouse had friends, we left the rest of the traps, locked and loaded, where they were. We reset the lucky one.
It's been four days now. If Ellen doesn’t call for a progress report, I ignore the traps and assume they are empty.
They nag at me. And yet, I fail to check them.
They’ve become symbols.
If we are ambivalent when we set our goals, success will be random and unfulfilling. It might be a one-time thing. And even if we hit our target, we won't feel great.
So in the future, I will be more mindful when I set my goals for my work and my life. I will try to notice the ways I undermine my own success. And I hope to recognize my ambivalence before it slows me in my tracks.
Meanwhile, the Vitamix goes little-used in the kitchen.
The Concept 2 rower gathers dust in the basement.
And the mice continue to party under the house.