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Monica Bielanko
A chronicle since 2005 of my marriage & move to Brooklyn in my twenties; becoming a mother in my thirties; moving to Pennsylvania and learning to amicably coparent after divorce in my forties while living 3 doors down from my ex-husband in a small country town.
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Sunday
Nov272005

My New Roommate

Am sitting here in the small circle of amber light my lamp casts in this corner of the living room. Living room... Who are we kidding, let's call it what it is... a hallway with a couch and a television squeezed against each wall.. Again, who are we kidding, that's all this couch surfin' mama needs these days. That, an order of Thai tai and a rousing episode of E True Hollywood Story and this girl is good to go.

It's 3:30 in the morning. After thrashing around in my bed like a fish on land I crept out here in an effort to purge the kaleidoscope of words from my brain in the desperate hope that I might make the acquaintance of sleep sometime before sunrise.

Alas, it was not meant to be. The moment I flicked on the lamp my arch nemesis, the cockroaches, scurried from the abrupt glare to the dark safety of their nooks and crannies. I managed to slap a few flat with my trusty Webster's, which apparently comes in handy for more than words. A lean, mean, killing machine, it is. Perfect for transporting to work AND killing the little critters.

I sank onto the couch, plucked my pen from the end table (yes I write most everything on paper first - call me old fashioned but there's nothing better than a pen scratching busily across paper, it's the sound of ideas being born) and began to write the first sentence you read in this post. That's when a new roommate, this one much larger than my usual enemy decided to make an appearance.

The furry, little mouse materialized from nowhere and strode boldly to the base of the couch. He stood on his hind legs, put his bony paws on his hips and stared at me.
"What?" I finally asked when his beady little glare broke my facade of nonchalance.
"Where's the fucking food in this rat's next?"
"Rat's nest?" My voice wavered. "Does that mean there are more of you?"
"It's a figure of speech, ass. Where's the food?"
"I try to keep the floor clean, what with the cockroaches and all." I meekly replied.
"Well this is simply bullshit, see." He twirled a whisker betwixt a dirty little paw like a gangster in an old talkie flick from back in the day.
"I heard the lady next door eats great hunks of cheese every day. Apparently she's French." I congratulated myself on my duplicity.
"Reeeeellly?" He scratched his ragged backside then picked up his tail and twisted it pensively. In seconds he dropped his wormy appendage and scampered in my neighbors direction.

Okay, it really didn't happen like that. But it's what played through my mind as he sat not two feet from me, quivering. I watched transfixed as his teensy nose twitched, sending shivers down his wiry whiskers. He was almost cute, as most tiny things save for insects tend to be.

Ten seconds yawned into a minute and still he sat, inspecting the room from his haunches. The clock ticked above my head like the metronome my old piano teacher employed in a futile effort to help me strike the keys in a timely fashion. So surprised at the unexpected company all I could do was sit, horrified, contemplating all the unknown roommates I apparently share my apartment with.

After what felt like hours, my newly realized enemy scampered into the kitchen and is now nowhere to be found. As I write, sudden movements carve into my peripheral vision, but when I jerk my head in that direction there is nothing. Trick of light and shadow maybe. Or a trick of the mind. More likely the little bastard is fucking with me for his own late night kicks.

Mind you, sharing an apartment with a rodent is not new territory. I once refused to buy a mousetrap (god-awful guillotine contraptions) after spotting a mouse several times in my Salt Lake City condo. He became so brazen that we'd pass in the kitchen more than I used to run into human roommates. It got so I'd clank around noisily before entering the kitchen to give him sufficient time to hide himself as every proper mouse should.

Eventually I cornered him under the fridge and hovered atop a stool for the better part of three hours, a piece of cheese laying seductively beneath me and a large Tupperware bowl at the ready. I was hoping to trap the little fellow and release him outside, you see.

My boyfriend at the time laughed until he choked when I let him in on my little plan and ultimately shamed me into purchasing a mousetrap. He set up the horrible contraption one morning as I left for work. Hours later, mouse hunting the furthest thing from my mind, I tiredly pushed open my front door to the horrific sight of my roommate scrabbling anxiously across my glossy hardwoods, little paws scratching double time, dragging his crushed back half and his new mousetrap accessory behind him.

I simply shut the door, called the boyfriend and sobbed on my front porch until he arrived to officially evict the roommate.

So here I sit at a quarter to four in the morning, legs tucked guardedly beneath me to avoid touching the floor, wondering just how many roommates I have that I don't know about.

Reader Comments (5)

we had a couple friendly mice and they were successfully detered from living with us without bloodshed...i got two of those plug in things that emit a super high pitch that rodents most definitely do not like. they high-tailed it out of our house pretty much immediately and have not been back since. i highly recommend these things....got 'em at Home Depot.
November 28, 2005 | Unregistered Commentersusan
you just gave me the creeps. Now I'm afraid of what I might find when I get home this evening. gross.
November 28, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterHeather B.
Hi! I too have had a (serious) mouse issue at my place (gotta love the UES) anyway - like Susan, I use the beeping things and for the most part they do work but the rare straggler does showup every so often. My best advice to you is to find the source, plug up the hole with steel wool and then reseal the spot - but not with plaster or spackle, use cement - the real stuff. It works - eventually.

Good luck, I completely feel your pain.
November 28, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterAri
I have guest ants at the moment... small brown ants, tiny but they creep me out, especially when in my bathroom cabinet. I feverishly inspect my toothbrush before using. the other day I nearly rubbed a spider all over me because it was in my towel.

am living at the funny farm, no?
November 30, 2005 | Unregistered Commentermoi

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