Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence
The following story is "R" rated. R for a bit "racy". Just sayin - -
Man and I have been RVing since 1972. Well, we started "camping", you know, tenting. We worked our way up through the ranks, popup camper, hard sided travel trailers and now, we "RV" in our beloved Tana.
We have been wintering away from the chill and snow of SE Michigan basically since he retired in 2001. Had to stay home a couple of years for medical reasons, but, other than those 2 years we have been escaping. The first year we did not escape winter, we escaped Michigan March. I have to say, Michigan is a pretty state, even WITH snow, but, March is the ugliest, nastiest 1/12th of the year in Michigan, bar none. It is cold, really wet, ugly gray, I don't think the sun EVER shines in Michigan in March. Well, almost never. (Hey, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it!)
Over the years Man and I have developed procedures for leaving the stick built long term. Who to contact, who to hire to do certain work while we are gone, how to winterize the house, what to suspend (saving $$ - wahhooo). We have a detailed and a long list, typed into a word processor, usually edited and tweaked a bit each and every year. The list has served us well over the years, getting better with age, working, UNLESS, yes, you know there is always an "UNLESS", we don't follow it, faithfully, and fully.
And, if you happen to forget an item for say, ohhhh, 2 years in a row. Can we say, ooops, and, messy?? Well, for us it was.
One of the to do items is to spread a low nitrogen plant fertilizer, Milorganite, that is produced from human sludge. Ya, I know, TMI, and it also has a rather strong distinctive and not real pleasant odor. But there is a little something besides feeding my plants and trees that I have learned along the way about Milorganite, and that is that it discourages mice and deer and other critters from eating my trees and bushes and for some reason, it discourages rodents, like mice and shrews from seeking refuge IN our house. Really it does.
And, for some unknown reason, other than a temporary (one can hope it was only temporary, can't I??), but major case of the STUPIDS, I forgot to put the Milorganite down for not one, nooo nooo nooo, but TWO years. First year slipped by and there were no mice in the house and well, that made it pretty easy to forget in year number 2.
My luck however did not extend into year 2. That, topped off by the other really STUPID thing I did, leaving a huge bag of peppermint candies in the house. You know, those really large bags you buy at places like Sams and Costco?? Ya, the mega bags, that last more than a year. I saw no reason to transfer that large bag of candy into Tana. I mean, it would not spoil over the winter in a house with the temps down to 47 degrees F. Hard candies, wrapped individually - -
Did you know that mice can unwrap individually wrapped hard candies? Yep, they can. Did you know that they can carry those candies for extremely long distances?? Yep, they can. Did you know they can carry those candies for extremely long distances up the inside of your walls?? Yep, they can.
Cut to April when we return to the stick built. It did not take long to determine we had a issue, with mice, with peppermint candies and wrappers strewn everywhere in our home. Partially eaten pieces of candy and wrappers in every closet, lots of drawers, under things, in potted plants, on all 3 levels of the house, basement, main floor and top floor. I even found those little give away hints (peppermint candies go in, something must come out, eh??) in of all places, the toaster. Man said, we can clean it. Oh, that was the wrong thing to say. I went ballistic. Over and over and over again. He actually dumped the little hints out of the toaster, but I took said toaster to the garbage and informed him he was to go purchase a new toaster and I guess he figured I meant it, because he did what I insisted he do, he purchased a new toaster.
As I opened more drawers and closets I discovered more and more of those hints, and lap blankets shredded for nesting purposes. Yes, partially eaten candies and wrappers were everywhere. Every new piece of evidence was cause for me to become more and more agitated, the tears started, the ranting started, screaming too. Every day for weeks I was more and more mean and I was MAD. Man did not hear one nice thing out of me for quite some time, even after he volunteered to help me clean (or was it that I demanded he help me clean?? )
And, clean we did, it took some time, all day, every day for several weeks. Cupboards and drawers were totally cleaned out, everything stored in them washed, lots of disinfectant was being used. We filled a couple of trash cans with all those stinking candy wrappers. All the time, ole Carol was ranting and raving, and all but foaming at the mouth (and I am not sure that I did NOT foam at the mouth). I was no fun, I was nasty, I did not even like living with me. Gotta say, when I don't want to live with me, that is about as bad as it gets.
Eventually, we ran out of creative places to look, we felt we had done a fairly decent job of the clean up. I began to relax some, especially after Man caught several of those F*A*T, and most likely, diabetic mice, and they left my home. I had no idea that a mouse could be that F*A*T!! Plumb, round, and F*A*T!
At some point my angst began to subside and my weird dark sense of humor started to return. Then, one afternoon in July or August I found more candies. They were on top of my buffet, the top of which is about 4 foot tall. I found several wrappers and then some partial pieces of candy. Then, I found,
The reindeer. On it's side, obviously, sighhhh, dead.
I know you all are aghast, asking, "in your house Carol?? really?? reindeer??"
Yes, in my house, on my buffet, the reindeer, all of 2.5 inches tall, was part of my Christmas in the City collection, which for several years has been left up, pretty much all year round. If you look very hard in the photo above, on the far right, close to the top of the snow covered tree, you can JUST barely see the little reindeer, see that white tiny blob between the tree and the German Beer Garden?? Well, you can take my word for it, the reindeer is there. (I hear you snickering!!)
Obviously a mouse had knocked over that little reindeer while scurrying up the back of the buffet with his treat looking for a peaceful and pleasant dinner setting. I mean, what mouse would not appreciate the lovely Christmas in the City buildings and the bridge. That mouse had a really nice dining atmosphere, he even had the Salvation Army playing a little ditty during dinner.
But at that very moment, when I spied my reindeer lying on his side, obviously DOA, my dark sense of humor went in the gutter. I decided on the spot that the mouse was a horny little mouse, that he took out his affections on my reindeer, making whooppee with my reindeer, sugar induced whooppee, which probably means, lots of energy, mmmm, and that the mouse killed my reindeer with all that whooppee. Gasp! That is why I found my little white reindeer lying on his side DOA! (Are you tearing up yet??)
And, that my dear readers is how I take peppermint candy, an infestation of mice, my holiday decorations and one poor little 2.5 inch tall DOA reindeer and come up with a holiday story of a different kind.
Yea, I know, ole Carol is one sick lady.
* You know it is coming, the disclaimer: Milorganite is copyrighted by them. They did not ask me to mention them, and the only connection I have with the company is that I use the product. Ditto for Sams and Costco, I spend my $$$ there, I get no special discounts, they did not ask me to mention them.
**The candy photo is courtesy of Gospel Clip Art. The mouse clip art is courtesy of Classroomclipart.com
*** I no longer leave candy in any shape or form at the stick-built during the months we are out and about in Tana, I think you know why. I also no longer forget to put the Milorganite down, HEAVILY! And, we should have purchased stock in some mouse trap company. Yea, we bought that many of them, snap ones, sticky ones, we bought em! It has been several years now since the peppermint/mouse incident and our house sitter has only found 1 shrew, in a trap, in all those years, the Milorganite is working. See Carol smile!