It was shaping up to be a slow week when it seemed that trying Icelandic yogurt (skyr) was the most exciting thing I did all week. The thrill lay within my lactose intolerance: Is this going to cause gastrointestinal distress? Will it be worth it? (It was delicious.)
Then on Friday night, I started painting the modeling clay tongue that I made earlier in the week. I’d pierced it with two barbells while the clay was still soft. To make painting easier, I removed the jewelry and placed them in one of the wells of my paint tray so that they wouldn’t roll off my adjustable desk. I forgot about this when cleaning up: I dumped the tray in the kitchen sink and washed the leftover paint down the drain, along with the barbells.
I was not high when I did this. Truthfully, I hadn’t realized what I’d done until I was high.
A few weeks ago, I successfully repaired the charging dock for my handheld vacuum. Naturally, DIY plumbing was the next step. Being that I was too high to be up for such a task, I told myself to stop using the kitchen sink and deal with it in the morning before work.
Over breakfast, I found a YouTube tutorial on how to remove the sink’s p-trap. The best part of this tutorial was how it was just a minute and a half long. That’s how easy it is to remove the p-trap. Without the captions, though, I must’ve missed the part that warned of the horrible sulfur smell that blasts out of the pipe attached to the city sewage.
I was not successful in retrieving the jewelry. I must’ve flushed too much water down the drain before I realized my blunder. Not all hope is lost: I have another pair of long barbells to use for this disturbing little project.
With that done over with, I went into the washroom to perform my morning hygiene rituals. As I approached the bathroom sink, I spied something dark dart along the bottom of the cabinet. It was bigger than the biggest spider I’ve seen, and I’ve been to Australia.
A mouse was in the house! It wasn’t even 9am and I had to go from being a plumber to an exterminator, before punching in for my bike mechanic shift. The last time I had to deal with mice, the cats dealt with them.
Don’t let his appearance fool you, this chonker, Enfoiré, was a master hunter:
I didn’t have the time nor will to find a YouTube video on how to deal with mice. Besides, I needed to deal with it while I knew where it was hiding. I armed myself with latex gloves, a broom, and an empty trash bin, thinking I could wrangle it into seeking refuge in the bin. Instead, the mouse pinballed all over the bathroom. It climbed up the shower curtain, leaped into the bathtub for a few laps before diving into the baseboard heater.
It’s just a mouse, I thought. It’s a cute, little thing that’s way more afraid of me than I am of it. Still, it put my anxiety through the roof. I contemplated leaving for work early so that I could take care of my morning poop in peace. Except, it’d meant I’d have to hold it for fifteen minutes and ride the four kilometers to work.
Nah, I couldn’t wait: the mouse was going to have to watch.
I was happy to be at work, where I’d get respite for a few hours. Before I left, I put the (humane) traps from the landlady in the bathroom and shut the door.
Near the end of the workday, I got summoned to help two deaf customers at the other end of the store. I don’t mind assisting deaf customers, but as a deaf customer myself, I’d rather have the person attempt to help me themselves or at the very least ask, “We have a deaf employee who knows ASL. Would you like me to get them? Their name is ______.” The last part is crucial because the deaf community is small: the customer is likely to be somebody we know. This could be good! Or not!
I braced myself for some awkwardness. Even if the two customers weren’t anybody I had an uncomfortable history with, not all deaf people know ASL. The latter turned out to not be a concern when I spotted the first customer, who I did not recognize, sign to her friend. The lady’s friend, however, was somebody with whom I had a history.
In fact, this other lady and I go way, WAY back. WAY BACK, in the era of big hair and thick moustaches.
It was Karlie. Not only did we attend the same elementary and high school, but she was also among the first deaf persons I’d ever met. We met at a summer camp for deaf kids and families. I’d label our history as extensive rather than uncomfortable. (In high school, we both received a two-day suspension for “fighting” on the school bus. Good times.)
But, I hadn’t seen her since I graduated high school. That was… almost twenty years ago.
*existential crisis intensifies*
We’d always kind of knew what one another was up to. In the deaf community, even if you fall out of touch with somebody, you’ll still know people connected with the person. In a nutshell, the deaf community had the Facebook experience before Facebook existed. I already knew why Karlie was riding a knee-scooter thing: a mutual friend told me about how Karlie had shattered her ankle in a fall.
Now all of the internet knows about it because of this wildly popular blog!
With hope, we’ll be able to do a proper reunion soon–at least much sooner than twenty years from now!
I was busy with 20+ year flashbacks that I almost forgot about the mouse. I was hoping to come home to find the mouse in the trap. Instead, it was still roaming free in the bathroom. It disappeared into the baseboard heater again, barring me from another gloved pursuit with a broom.
The landlady agreed to loan me the landcat, Gumpy. “I’m bringing Gumpy down now,” she texted me. But, when she came into my suite, she was holding a cake box instead of a fluffy dark gray cat. “Mouse trap inside” was written on the box. The mouse had already spent eight hours avoiding the first trap–what good was a second one going to do? When I opened the bathroom door, though, the landlady made eye contact with the mouse and recoiled. She immediately went back upstairs for Gumpy.
Gumpy sniffed the baseboard heater for a few minutes before pawing at the bathroom door as to say, “This is beyond my capabilities.”
Yann made fun of me at work for fretting over this mouse. So, he thinks this is an easy problem to handle without Enfoiré’s help? I offered him $40 if he could come over to trap it. Even if he failed, I had freshly baked cookies on standby.
I reminded him that spiders were my specialty. Here’s one I caught and released last week. Death by hantavirus in the time of coronavirus would be preposterous. Yet, Yann continued to mock me.
OH, SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DO BETTER THAN A CAT?
When Yann arrived around 8:30pm, the mouse was no longer in the bathroom, or so it seemed. Yann had brought his buzz saw, not for the mouse, but to make modifications to my homemade bedside table. This was done on the landlord’s front lawn, in the dark, while I held up a front bike light. Yes, my cookies are that good.
Right about when he was packing up to go home, I peered into the washroom. Sure enough, I saw a tail vanish into the heater. With great skepticism, Yann entered the washroom and inspected the heater with his fingers.
“Are you sure it’s in here?” he asked me.
“Okay, I found it.”
Yet, it was nowhere to be found when Yann popped off the front plate of the heater. Even when he unscrewed the panel concealing the wiring, the mouse was not there. He fully detached the heater from the wall to see whether there was a hole behind it. Still no mouse.
Yann was aghast, “How can it just disappear like that?!”
Yup. He was so close to getting $40. He’d poked its squishy, furry, $40 body.
Yann asked me to fetch him a wire hanger. Did he not remember how I insisted on replacing the wire hangers he owned with wooden ones?
“Fine. Do you have a long, metal ruler?”
“Nope, those were yours. You took them.” I reminded him.
“Well, I need something long and thin.”
“I have a spoke?” Of course, I do, and of course, Yann was happy to be given a spoke.
Our little escape artist had squeezed itself in-between the folded sheet metal enclosure above the heating elements.
Its adorableness was contained.
Yann and I transported it to a park on the top of a hill some 350m away. When we lifted the lid, the mouse hopped out and ran off in the direction of my home.
…to be continued?