Trials of Various Kinds

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Photo Source: Denis Defreyne

If you keep up with me and my craziness on Facebook or on Twitter, you might already know that I’m dealing with my first (and I hope my last) mouse invasion. Not sure where he came from or when he checked into this fine establishment, but over the last few days, I see that he’s been taking a grand tour of my home. Or he brought some friends. {shudder}

I’ve spent the last two days cleaning and sanitizing my kitchen. Yes, they found my kitchen. Thankfully, it wasn’t widespread, but enough to make me bleach everything in sight and wash many a dish. (And yes, I’ve checked with the CDC, the county ag website, and my pediatrician, so we are taking all the necessary precautions.)

I’m mentally and physically wiped out. And I’ve been on edge.This type of house guest totally creeps me out.

Amidst the rubber gloves and chlorine bleach, I’ve had plenty of time to think. I was planning to write the next To Be More Joyful installment this weekend. But, instead, I’ve been listening to my own advice.

  1. Get a reality check – Based on my research, advice from Facebook friends, and the urging of my husband, I’ve concluded that I was starting to get hysterical. Chances are we are not going to contract hantavirus, we will catch the mice, and everything’s gonna be alright.
  2. Watch your words – At my most anxious I found myself snapping at my eldest son and being impatient with my littles. Nothing is that important that I should risk putting a wedge between me and my children. I confessed to those old enough to understand and asked forgiveness, and things worked much better from then on.
  3. Simplify your life – As I got up close and personal with every kitchen utensil this weekend, I realized there were many that we did not need or use. Who knew that mice could help you dejunk? I organized my pantry into small plastic tubs as a precaution and realized this was a great way to organize, to know what I have, and to guard against ants or any other critter that thinks it would be cool to live with me.
  4. Count your blessings – Late Friday night at the peak of my emotions I realized what a blessing it was to have six healthy children. Obviously, I know this, but having worried for their safety throughout the day, it was made fresh to me how blessed I really am. Furthermore, I was thankful that I have the resources to buy the traps, the disinfectant, and the plastic tubs to deal with the situation in a way that helps me rest. Plus, I have a fantastic brother and friend who both spent several hours helping me so that I didn’t have to go it alone since FishPapa was at work.
  5. Be all there – Since I spent the bulk of Saturday in the kitchen, I was in the middle of the action with my kids. No one had to hunt for me. They knew where I was. And we had quite the discussion about mice!
  6. Get outside – At the end of the day, we got out of the house and it was so refreshing. The breeze had picked up and was such a great relief from the hot, sweaty kitchen.
  7. Get out of the kitchen – Amen! Even though there were meals ready to go in the freezer, I really wanted a break from the kitchen. Oh my, yes! So, we headed out to dinner and walked around an outdoor mall. So nice! And no dishes to wash!
  8. Be a Yes Mom – Since we knew we were going to a particular mall with fifty-cent rides for the kids, I dug through the coin jar for quarters. It was so fun to see the look on FishBoy6’s face when he asked if he could go on a ride — and I said, “Yes!” Furthermore, we found out that a nearby amusement park was having fireworks so we were able to go watch those as well, something we missed on the 4th.

Now, I’m not going to say that mice make me more joyful. Most certainly not! I think this is as close to completely freaked out as I’ve been in a long time. {And yes, I know I was probably overreacting.}

However, I’m excited to see what God taught me in all this. I realize that hunting down mice is not the greatest trial of my life and I don’t mean to make it big in comparison to more serious matters. But, at the same time, it  felt BIG in the moment. And God promises to take those BIG moments and use them for our good.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.                                                                        James 1:2-4

How can you count it all joy?

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  1. Aw, what great reminders you’ve given the rest of us as you reflect on the past few days- thank you. I just wish I didn’ t live on the whole other coast and could have helped you during such a nerve-wracking time… glad you had some reinforcements you could call in. Now here’s to getting those unwanted house guests kicked out, once and for all!

  2. Isn’t it amazing how God can teach us something in anything? Thank you for sharing your story, and I hope that you are critter free! 🙂 I would love to have more details or pictures on how you organized your pantry, as mine is in desperate need of attention.

  3. I don’t follow you on facebook, so I missed the back story, but I was wondering if this is the first time you’ve ever had a mouse in your house? I grew up in the country where it was a very common occurrence Just get out the sticky traps. Or a cat 😀

  4. I missed the back story as well but I read your blog daily. I think it’s amazing that these unwanted house guests gave you the opportunity to put things into perspective and count the positives that actually came out of this.

    I’ve lived in the country twice in my life and both times, have had to deal with these little guests. Sadly, I found that no matter how much I cleaned, they still attempted to make home in my home. The best thing that worked for us was the sticky traps. Walmart carried them at the time when we had use for them. We placed them in the areas that we noticed they frequented and after a few sticky traps, they were gone. We usually have to fight this around the winter time so summer is our ‘break’ lol.

  5. Mice…I would freak out too I think!
    Last night before bed I was noticing some flying ants or bugs everywhere, only to step out into our foyer and I looked up. Wow. They were swarming everywhere on the ceiling. I think it’s termites.

    So I started freaking out then. OH great, now we will have to get the house tented and all the work that goes with that.

    It was hard to go to sleep and not think bugs were crawling all over me.

    So say a prayer for us as well. I sure hope you get those little rodents. Why can’t the creatures that belong outside stay there???


    1. @Mari Larkin,
      Hey, I just had this same problem…those swarmers are the pre-cursor to termites. If you’ve seen them more than once, then you already have termites. So sorry to have to share that news. We did not get our house tented. We have a pest guy that has sprayed the problem areas and installed termite monitors outside.

  6. Oh, I was SO there with you a few weeks ago! We had our first mouse and I was near hysterics the whole time. It was a full week after we caught it that I was able to leave any clean dishes downstairs – I did them upstairs in the bathroom. It was a nightmare, like you said, emotionally and mentally (I am so NOT a country girl!) but it did put things into perspective for me. 🙂

  7. When we lived in Baltimore, we had mice at one point. They really freaked me out, and I did some of the same things. Now in Africa, we have giant cockroaches, just about every other bug in various sizes, and all kinds of lizards. I’m to the point now where I don’t scream when I see a giant cockroach- unless it surprises me or I accidentally touch one- yuck! We’ve even had 3 very small bats in our house! No snakes in the house, thankfully, but a large poisonous one was killed right under the kids bedroom window. Sometimes it’s the little things that get to you. I have been worried about mice or rats, as they’ve been in the pharmacy and the guest house (which are close to us.) Our “outside” cat spends a lot of time inside. I’ve heard just the smell will keep them away.
    I’m glad you are able to focus on the positive in your frustration. Good luck on your exterminating. 🙂

  8. We had mice last year and I found out that the screens on the vents around the bottom of the house that were new 10 years ago had a small hole in one of them. The mice were coming in the house that way through some unknown crack from under the house into my kitchen. The sticky trap also worked well but putting new wire on the vents is what stopped it.

  9. I hope you have better luck than us.We got invaded about a month ago and not a day go’s by that I don’t catch at least one. I’ve had to throw away so much food that they have chewed on that it make’s me sick to think about. I have been letting our 3 cat’s in every day but my chihuahua has caught more mice than the cat’s. We alway’s have at least 1 or 2 a year but this year has brought a horde for some reason.My prayer’s will be with you & I hope you say a prayer for us.

  10. I feel your pain in the mouse department. You probably weren’t going crazy or paranoid. I too have battled the mouse and finally won. The day we moved into the trailer we’re living in, the landlords parting words were “I think there’s mice”. We fought the mouse battle for at least 3 months trying to find out where they were coming in. I would sit in the livingroom and hear them climb the washing machine. I’d hear them chewing through the spray foam around the water pipes. Talk about going hysterical. I was paranoid to get out of bed at night and sent my husband to check on the kids when they cried at night. Even with kids we found safe places to put mouse poison and set traps and finally got an outdoor cat. It took getting the cat to finally solve our mouse problem.

  11. We got mice last year and tried unsuccessfully to catch them with traps. When I read online somewhere that mice reproduce with a litter of 3-5 babies every EIGHTEEN DAYS, I called an exterminator. It still took months to get rid of them. I hope yours are gone soon!

  12. Aww…I know what you mean about little things like that getting to you! But growing up in old houses in the country all my childhood (with plenty of mice!) never hurt me or my siblings! I’m sure you’ll all be fine though it’s never fun!!

  13. Great, great post! Good for you for finding some perspective in this icky incident.

    I unfortunately know what you’re dealing with, although it looks like we’ve got A mouse, rather than a mouse infestation. On Thursday morning, I went to slip my shoes on, which I keep in the garage, before driving the kids to camp. I couldn’t figure out what that thing was in the toe bed of my shoe… I took out my foot and looked a bit closer… AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH! It was a (live) mouse. I screamed so loudly a neighbor poked her head in to make sure I was alright.

    My husband had to remind me repeatedly that the kids would take their clue as to how to react from my (over)reaction. The mouse man came that afternoon and fortunately didn’t see any signs of the mouse in our kitchen or upper level of our house, although there were some droppings in the basement laundry room (shudder). He put traps inside and out, and I’m bleaching down the laundry room just to be safe.

    Are your kids worried about the mice’s well-being? My sweet kids keep asking me if we are going to kill the “cute little mouse.” I don’t have the heart to say, “Oh, my, yes!”

    1. The kids don’t appear concerned either way. And we still love Disneyland. We only caught one so far, and we have lots of traps set. So, I don’t know.

  14. My 7 month old is no longer napping in her crib and still gets 3-4-5-SIX times a night. I find myself angry at God during those sleepless nights (every night…) even though I know plenty of women who go through horrible situations and would be grateful to have their biggest problem be a restless baby. Tonight I will focus on being grateful for my healthy baby girl and use those restless moments to pray for greater strength and for my friends who are going through so much more than me!

  15. Oh but I love mice (I know, everyone is shrieking about now).
    We have a cabin in the woods that we get to every 4 weeks or so and the last trip I had a family living in the bottom drawer of a china cabinet. While I was terribly pissed that they chewed up a tablecloth and pooped on everything I was more terribly upset when hubby started setting the mousetraps. I am living in turmoil now. I can’t have them destroying the place but it breaks my heart to kill them. BLAH! If we were there all the time I would use humane traps and take them outside into the forest, but I don’t have that luxury.

  16. We haven’t had mice problems, but we did have one with bats. The critters formed a habitat in our attic for quite some time, and they weren’t discovered until my aunt walked up there and noticed their tiny little eyes all glaring at her. (I’m still thankful it wasn’t me–I’d never be able to sleep again.) Anyways, bless you for keeping your sanity through this AND finding the positives. I think I’m going to go to the mall with a jar full of coins for my little one 🙂

  17. We also live in the woods and have mice as regular visitors, usually twice a year when the temps change. I did freak out at first, and we used the poison stuff until one day my toddler discovered some of the poison was in his shoes! No more poison (mice eat it and don’t die right away, so they will stockpile it in the strangest locations, and it is really not good to have around if you have kids, because you never know where they might stockpile!). Our solution was the Rat Zapper ( It’s humane, clean and easy to use. We keep them up and out of the way of our children (and you would need to keep them away from cats, etc.) – they are in the garage. But, they do work. Also, hate to be the bearer of bad news, but where there is one that you see, there are many others that you do not see. Sorry. Another reason we don’t use the poison is because they eat it, don’t die right away, go back to their “house” in your home, and then die and start to stink. Unfortunately, our mice’s preferred home is right under our kitchen/dining area! YUCK! Anyway, good luck.

  18. Eeek! I feel your pain as well. Nice that you could think of some positives out of it. We had a whole bunch a while back. Once dared to come out on the kitchen counter while I was doing dishes. We took care with traps. A few months later, one came into the living room on a lovely spring night while I was watching tv. I perched on the arm of the couch while a friend talked me off the ledge and waited with me for my husband to get home (on the phone). We called the exterminator. He set little traps that are like little boxes. They have poison which the mouse eats and then he feels a little sick and his natural instinct is to leave and go back outside where he will die. I know it sounds nasty but the little food trap things are completely kid-proof, mice just eek me out and I couldn’t have them running the show here. I also had a one-year-old crawling around and didn’t want her ingesting any mouse droppings.

  19. We live in the country so mice are always a problem sometimes it’s worse than others but I am TERRIFIED of mice. I STEPPED on a mouse barefoot when I was a kid and they just creep me out! My husband got his first taste of my fear about 2 days after our first son was born. I was in the laundry room doing a load of laundry and I picked up a shirt out of the laundry hamper and there just looking so sweetly at me were 2 very young mice. I completely lost it screaming and running from the room. My husband came running into the dining room trying to find out what was wrong, he said he was relieved he had the baby at the time of my little episode. My husband dismantled the laundry room to find them which he did and disposed of them or at least that’s what he TOLD me. We’ve sealed the house and didn’t get them last winter but I know it’s not going to last. YUCK!!

  20. When I first read your post, I thought maybe I was under reacting to my mice problems but after reading the comments I guess it is a city/country girl kind of thing. Mice (and mosquitos) are an everyday part of life around here. We set out poison and traps when we find signs of an invasion and go about life as normal. Well, kinda normal. I mean, no one likes having mouse poop to clean up and over the past years we have had some pretty funny run ins with mice (and not so funny, I have a permanent scar on my forearm b/c of a mouse: I got trapped in the bathroom with one while about 8 months pregnant and tripped trying to run out the door, fell on a nail head sticking out from the door casing and cut my arm, the mouse got away).

    My funniest memory is when my hubby got trapped in the bathroom with one early in the morning, screaming like a girl trying to catch it in a box, and running outside in his underwear with a box and a mouse!

  21. Try peppermint oil! We had a rodent infestation in our outside shed and peppermint oil on cotton balls was a true blessing!

  22. We had mice when we lived out in the country. Yuck! Thankfully, my husband was able to take care of them.

  23. We are completely surrounded by woods here in NE Ohio and while we don’t usually have any problems with mice in the summer, the cold winter weather draws them in. We use mouse poison in the attic and the basement storage area and I have only seen one upstairs over the past 9 years. Mice are yucky but we’ve always had them with the woods so close by. I never thought to be worried about a health risk.

    When we lived in Arizona we used to get flying cockroaches that scared me badly. I think I prefer the mice!


  24. Jessica:
    The reason to use the peppermint oil is that rodents are repulsed at the smell and leave. Try using the oil wherever you have seen “evidence.”
    Hopefully those nasty critters will find another home.