Part 1: A Mouse in the House
I have always loved the stories of Beatrix Potter about tiny woodland creatures who live in sweet little homes in the forest. Stories about Peter Rabbit, Mrs. Tiggy-winkle, Squirrel Nutkin, Tom Kitten, Mrs. Tittle-mouse, Jemima Puddle-Duck, Benjamin Bunny, Samuel Whiskers and all the rest of her charming menagerie captured my imagination for many years, and when the movie came out about Ms. Potter’s life, I immediately purchased it and made my family watch it with me.
After reading about these sweet, adorable little creatures for so many years, and following their misadventures, mischief, and the triumphs over chaos in the stories by Ms. Potter, it of course came as quite a shocking discovery when I encountered one of these tiny terrors in real life.
In the Beatrix Potter stories, with their gorgeous watercolor paintings and illustrations, you might be led to believe that a harmless mouse, just like Mrs. Tittle-mouse, goes toddling around with her broom and dustpan, a dust cloth tucked up in her apron, swatting at nasty old spiders and tossing them out of windows. That’s because in the Story of Mrs. Tittle-Mouse she does exactly that. She is a most fastidious housekeeper, and spends her days sweeping out cobwebs, chasing out lady bugs, and as previously mentioned, tossing dirty, dangerous spiders out her window.
I always envisioned Mrs. Tittle-mouse in her pretty calico dress with a spotless white pinafore tied around her waist, bustling around her tiny home in a bank under a hedge, muttering under her breath something about, “if they would just wipe the mud off their feet when they come in after school.” Her broom was not only her perpetual tool of tidiness but it could instantaneously become her weapon against any and every potential threat of a mess.
But in the real world . . . . a cute little mouse is, in fact, really, really smelly, nasty, dirty, and . . . . did I mention, stinky?
Last week was the first week that we were planning to focus all week on getting started on the prototypes for the summer collection for Gossamer Threads Shop. Grandma and Grandpa came down for the week so that Grandma could sew with me, and Grandpa loves to putter around out in the yard and garden.
The plan was to start first thing Monday morning, designing and drawing the patterns, cutting the fabric, and sewing all day, every day, for the whole week. As it turned out, in real life, there are actually other things that I need to do besides sewing all day, so Grandma was going to keep right on sewing while I had to do things like go to a business class on Monday night, pick up one of the girls from Young Astronauts class on Tuesday afternoon, take that same daughter to piano lesson on Wednesday afternoon and take both girls to youth group on Wednesday night. So it was going to be a challenge even under perfect conditions.
But then it happened. When I went to the kitchen early Monday morning to make coffee, I could smell something rather unpleasant. And since I had just cleaned my kitchen and washed the floor on Saturday, I was a bit annoyed. Perhaps one of the kids dumped something stinky in the trash can, I thought. Or maybe there is something in the fridge that is spoiled – but that didn’t seem possible since we had just cleaned out the fridge before we went grocery shopping on the weekend.
Too much to think about right at the moment, so I made my coffee and started to get ready to start the sewing projects.
When the girls came out to the kitchen for breakfast, one of them announced, “Yuck! It smells like a dead body in here!” Which I knew but I kept hoping it would go away. No such luck.
So, right in the middle of all the cutting and sewing projects, I had to deal with what I thought must be a DEAD MOUSE!
Instead of sitting down at the sewing machine first thing Monday morning, I ended up pulling everything our of the cupboards under my kitchen counter. All of the pots and pans, cookie sheets, and cleaning supplies. I pulled out the shelf paper and tossed it all in the trash can (along with tiny bits of evidence that there had been, in fact, a mouse in the house recently).
I then timidly poked my head into the cupboard to see if I could find the body of Mrs. Tittle-mouse back in a corner. Nothing. But WOW did it sure smell bad in there! So then I got out the shop vac to sweep up any remaining evidence. As I was vacuuming out the corners of the cupboards, the vacuum hose got stuck on the side of the wall. Thinking I had vacuumed up a tiny dead body of dear old Mrs. Tittle-mouse, I screamed and dropped the vacuum.
Grandma looked at me from her seat at the sewing table and burst out laughing. That was a close one! Again, no dead body. But the smell remained. So after everything was removed, I sprayed the whole thing down with Lysol and left the cupboard doors open the rest of the day. That evening, it still smelled yucky so I sprayed it with Lysol again and went to bed.
In the midst of all that commotion, we actually did manage to get a bit of sewing completed (and then there is the clutter that comes from kids dropping all their STUFF everywhere, especially where we were trying to work). But the smell did not go away completely. I have since put a box of baking soda in the back of the cupboard, put down brand-new shelf paper and returned my pots and pans, cookie sheets, and cleaning supplies to the cupboard. The smell is almost completely gone now, but I’m wondering if there isn’t a dead body somewhere underneath that part of our house.
If that’s what happened, I feel bad for Mrs. Tittle-mouse, but I am no longer deceived by the stories of her being such a sweet little tidy mouse. She is stinky and dirty, and I’m glad she is gone. It is amazing how much chaos can be made by such a tiny woodland creature. A mouse does not belong in MY house but in the woods, in a bank under a hedge, or in a rotten old tree stump but NOT in my kitchen!
Now that I have that problem (almost) solved, it’s time to get back to work on the summer collection from Gossamer Threads Shop. Hope I can get everything finished in time for the launch party!
In the meantime, please join us for the Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop, sponsored by Katherine’s Corner. I’ll try to stop by and visit as many of you all as possible . . . . . if I don’t have to deal with another dead body in my house or something else equally as disgusting this week!
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