So the other day, a friend sent me a link to this article and thanked me for “making the chaos we endure less alienating.” Because she’s the best. However, I can’t say that I don’t contribute a bit to this culture, since I have blogged about dating your spouse and self-care. But sometimes, dating your spouse can simply mean having a meal at your dinner table together once the kids go to bed: no phones, no tv, some take-out, and each other. I’m serious – as the last three weeks of our lives have proven, sometimes just sitting across from the other person without a distraction can be a challenge. Um, this morning, Ian and I hugged before I left for work and we both laughed that that was the most alone time we’ve had in weeks. Look – I’m a realist who can recognize that some months are easier than others for connection and saying, “I love you and we’ll talk again soon, promise!” will help keep you guys afloat for a minute.
BUT. In an effort to continue keeping it as real as possible – not currently dating my husband and all – I’d like to highlight one specific portion from the article that talks about a Pinterest-worthy house.
We’ve all seen those houses in real life, right? Where you walk in and everything is in its place and there’s no sign of kid crap anywhere, even though you could’ve sworn they have kids? And I’m in legitimate shock every single time. Like, where are the miscellaneous socks and the plastic Easter Egg from a week ago in the corner of the kitchen? Because something that I can say for sure about my house on any given day is…well, we’re gross.
I literally said out loud the other morning, “Ian, you left the toilet seat up and there’s dried pee on there, which is really gross.” He then went on to tell me that it’s not, in fact, from him, but from our two-year-old, un-potty-trained daughter, who somehow pees underneath the regular toilet seat because she’s a magical toddler? But I was rushing out to work and didn’t have time to question it further (though I did say “Wait, Fiona pees under the seat?’ and he nodded assuredly as if that’s a thing that’s ever happened in human history.)
Did we clean it? No. I mean, not in that moment, given the fact that he was currently chasing a pants-less three-year-old and I was running out the door to catch the bus. And ok, I did when I got home, but frankly, it’s almost as likely that I would’ve forgotten and let my youngest magic-pee under the seat until next time it’s up, I’m in a rush, question Ian about it, and forget again. And then, eventually over the weekend, when I’m power-cleaning while working out my frustrations towards any given family member who has left just enough clutter in my eyesight to make me finally lose my shit and stress-clean, I will Clorox that dried-up pee. For your sake, though, I hope you visit us after that power-cleaning, but no promises. Pin that!
Also? There’s this incident from yesterday. Brace yourselves, because I do not come out a hero and I should be more ashamed of myself that I am/was.
So yesterday morning, I came downstairs before the rest of the house was awake and noticed that some furniture looked like it’d been moved and our giant Mag-Lite was out on the kitchen counter, as were two plastic bowls. Which might lead a normal person to investigate further, but I was late for the gym and so I promptly forgot about it. Until later that morning, as we were wrangling the girls for daycare, and Ian said, “So last night, after you went to bed, I went to take the garbage out and there was a mouse behind the garbage can.”
What happened after that, you ask? I’m not sure because I blacked out.
But when I came to, the conversation continued something like this:
Ian: “Yeah, I spent an hour and a half chasing it through the kitchen and living room.”
Ian: “At one point, we were just staring at each other, eye-to-eye.”
And so on. Turns out, though he ended up “making a tunnel with our books to guide the mouse out of the living room,” he “lost the mouse and I assume he went back into the basement or something.”
So, we got divorced.
However, since I'm able to pretty well compartmentalize when needed, I just pretended that mice only come out at night. And since this also happened to be a day that I was working from home and was holed up with my laptop on the second floor most of the day, I figured I'd be safe. I basically came downstairs to eat lunch and then headed back upstairs until about three o’clock in the afternoon. I thought it was just about time for a little iced coffee pick-me-up, so I headed into the kitchen and, on my way, went to throw something away in the garbage.
Which is when I saw Stuart Little running around IN THE GARBAGE CAN OH MY GOD. So, naturally I screamed and ran into the living room, jumped onto the couch, and called Ian at work.
Me: “I just saw the mouse in the garbage can and he’s running around inside of it and he squeaked at me! You have to come home RIGHT NOW!!!”
Ian, laughing: “I’m not coming home for a mouse. Just go into the kitchen-“
Me: “ARE YOU CRAZY???? I’M NOT GOING BACK INTO THE KITCHEN! I’M IN THE FETAL POSITION ON THE COUCH! PLEASE COME HOME!” (it’s possible that I legitimately started soft-crying…..again, I don’t end up the hero in this situation.)
Ian: “Beck…Beck! It’s a mouse. He’s more afraid of you than you are of him.”
Me: “Lies! Please come home!”
Ian: “Becky, I’m not coming home for a mouse. Look, either you wait for me to come home in an hour and a half, or you go into the kitchen and take the garbage can outside. Then I’ll deal with it when I get home.”
Me: “ARE YOU INSANE? There’s not a CHANCE I’m taking that garbage can outside! He’ll crawl out of it while I’m carrying it and crawl up my body!”
Ian, laughing a lot: “He will not crawl up your body. Just bring it out to the backyard and I’ll handle it when I’m home.”
Me: “I can’t believe you’re not going to come home.”
Ian: “I can’t believe you’re asking me to come home for a mouse. If it was a snake or something, sure.”
Ian: “Ok? Go get the garbage can and bring it outside.”
Me: “I’m never doing that. I don’t think I love you anymore.”
And I hung up.
And then I called my mother-in-law, who’s recently retired (hence, I wasn’t bothering her at work) and is used to my crazy.
MIL: “Hi! What’s up?”
Me: “I just wanted to call and let you know why I’m divorcing your son so that there are no surprises.”
MIL, laughing: “Oh God, what did he do?”
Then, I told her.
MIL: “Do you want me to come over?”
Me (in my head “Yes! Yes! Yes!”) out loud: “No, of course not, but I just want your advice as to what I should do, because I’m definitely not doing what Ian said.”
MIL: “I’m not afraid of mice, I’ll be there in 20 minutes.”
Cut to: 20 minutes later, she walks into the house and I’m in the same position on the couch.
MIL: “Is he still in there?”
Me: “I have no idea, I haven’t moved. But I heard him rustling in there, and once in a while, I just yell really loudly to keep him scared.”
MIL: “That was your strategy?”
Me: “Pretty much.”
So, she casually walked into the kitchen, opened the garbage can lid, and said, “Oh, he’s still in there, he’s sitting in between the recycling and the garbage.”
And, as she would re-tell Ian later, all she heard was the front screen door slam shut because I’d left and gone to the front yard.
Again, I never claimed to be the hero here.
Turns out, she needed my help.
MIL: “Beck! Beck! Come back inside, you have to open the door for me!”
And so, because I’m brave, I tip-toed into the kitchen, squealed my way past her and the mouse-garbage, and opened the back door and then ran into the front yard from around the side of the house. She heroically took out the garbage bag first, tied it, and held it up to see, “if he’s moving around in there.” OMG.
He was not. So, she threw the garbage into the outdoor can and went back to do the recycling side. However, while doing so, she said, “I hope he’s still in here. Otherwise, that means he’s still in the house.”
To which I blacked out again.
But when I came to, it was to the sound of her scream and, as she would later re-tell to my husband, “I then hear Becky scream as she’s running across the street.”
Finally, though, Fievel was freed into our yard and probably had to go to Mouse Therapy immediately for the trauma he'd endured. Also? My mother-in-law is my hero and my husband is not.
Also, also? He’s now putting steel wool around every pipe or potential opening in the house so that I don’t sleep with my eyes wide open for the rest of our lives, convinced that a mouse is crawling onto the bed to snuggle.
So anyway. This is my real life, the uncurated, mouse-y beauty of it all. And you’re welcome for making the chaos we all endure less alienating. Even if it’s in the form of my cowardice.
I’m here for you, ladies!