Mouse Night; the two words that still strike fear in my heart. It all started back in 1989. The 7.1 earthquake had happened in San Jose and I was in a fever to move away while I still could. I owned a home in upstate NY and thought that was the likely place for us to go. I wanted to be as far away from earthquakes as humanly possible in a short amount of time so a plan began to take shape.
We packed our belongings, leaving much behind as the truck would not take it all, and began what was a 7 day trip across the country to another world of snow and ice. The truck was so heavy with all my possessions and my 2000 hard cover books that it groaned its way across state after state until finally it stopped a mere 50 miles from our destination. We were trying to leave the freeway when it died on the off ramp. We left the truck there, ( my husband grumbling the whole while about my books killing the truck) and we called the rental company so that we could continue to our home.
It was December 8th and it was cold. Colder than I had ever experienced in my life. There was 3 feet of snow on the ground and the house had been empty a month of people, but not of rodents.. UGH..
I did not have a clue, at the time, of what the next 18 winters were going to bring and if I had, I am quite certain I would have turned the car around and made my way somewhere warm:-)
That first night will forever remain burned into my memory. We had gathered up what we could to try and give ourselves a comfortable night and lay them out in the downstairs rooms. We had been on the road for 8 days amidst break downs, blown tires, frozen car doors, and high altitudes and finally we were home. We were all bone weary from all the driving and the stress that comes along with that and settled into our respective rooms to get some much needed rest. Karl and I were in one room along with my 4 year old daughter and my oldest daughter braved the upstairs room bundled in blankets and jackets to try and weather the coldest cold I have ever felt.
The floors were beautiful but they were all hard wood, and I have to mention, Hard!! Even with blankets beneath us and add to that how tired we all were, I still had a difficult time finding that much needed slumber. Finally I drifted off snug in my blanket, knowing that we had made it!
I had not slept long when I felt a nibble on my little finger and then Karl awoke and said something just ran through my hair!!!! Well that set my imagination into overtime and I turned on ALL the lights trying to determine, A. what had bitten me, and B. if I was going to die from it.. Yes, I was that worried. I thought rabid bat, rabid squirrel, rabid raccoon, rabid …... well you know.. When the lights were on, I discovered the many culprits. Mice and rats, big ones!!! In the month that the house had been vacant, many animals had taken up residence and of course I did not blame them. I just did not want to live with em!
In that moment, I had never wanted to be in some other place more than I did then. I convinced my husband to take the blankets into the kitchen and leave on all the lights for the night. This was the compromise after I begged him to take me back to California..I am laughing now thinking of how frightened I was of tiny rodents, when there were to be many more frightening things as life went on.
We lasted the night, me with my eyes wide open staring at the ceiling, and my husband disgusted with me because I would not turn off the lights and try to sleep. I guess I thought if I could see them they wouldn't come out, but these mice were bold and we were the intruders.
It was the longest night I can remember on record but finally the dawn broke. I was excited because at least today our furniture would arrive.
It was about 10 o'clock when I heard them bringing our things and it gave me hope that at least I would be off the floor and safe from the inhabitants. We spent the better part of the day unloading and setting up our beds and settled down for the following night.
I drifted into an uneasy sleep as I could not use the lights that night, and after a few hours of rest I awakened to discover that the furnace had blown something and the house was filled with black soot!! See what I mean about it getting worse.
We had no furnace, no wood stove, no wood to put in it, and no jobs as we had just arrived. Talk about your Walt Whitman Moment...
I wrote this poem to commemorate some of the awful things we experienced in the next few years:
The water is again flowing
the pipes are unfrozen
the snow is a fallin
like white Lederhosen
The dishes are piled
awaiting my attention
the clothes, oh so smelly
the trash, I won't mention
The cars are buried
in two or three feet
of fresh fallen snow
like diamonds, so neat
The animals are hiding
they're not stupid, you know
only the humans
find places to go
Here I am sitting
the computer screen blinking
its too darn cold
for my mind to be thinking
So, for all of you wimps
that have indoor heat
with hot water running
and a plush comfy seat
I send warm regards
from my home mired in white
to my dolly soul sisters
have a good day and night!
As the years passed we celebrated our arrival with a mouse cake. You should have seen the eyes when we would go in to order one from Dairy Queen.
Me: “ I would like a cake with a mouse on top.”
Her: “ you mean like Mickey Mouse?”
Me: “ no, I mean like a real mouse.”
Her: “ you mean a mouse, mouse on your cake?" ( while looking at me like I had just escaped the looney bin) LOL.
You see how the conversation went, so in the subsequent years we made the cakes such as the one I have shared here. There are several chocolate mice on a cake of cheese. I loved it!
I have many stories of the house in New York and am just sharing a tiny few pictures of some of the things we found buried in the garden over the years. I am a Nurse and we found medical bottles of all types on the property.
I collect dolls and we found dolls buried along with a porcelain bath tub! That made me shout.. LOL.
I love children's toys of all types and we found some old cars and trucks.
We found hundreds of vintage marbles in the garden . As we worked the soil, it gave up its treasures.
I no longer have the big house in NY, but I have the memories.....
Thank you for reading and sharing in the experiences of my life. It has been such a life, I tell you!
Love to all, Kimmee