Posts Tagged ‘apartments’


I never cared for Mickey Mouse. I don’t find him cute.

Hmmm. Do you suppose “Mouse” is his actual last name? Who knows? And I don’t really care. I just know he irks me with his high-pitched voice, his freakishly oversized shoes (and you know I love shoes!) and his syrupy positive attitude.

As for the real thing: we had a mother’s helper when I was a kid who brought her pet mice with her. I thought they were cute enough in their cage. And I even thought the one resting on my palm was cute – first and only time I ever touched a mouse – until it simultaneously peed in my hand and bit my finger, drawing blood. The little creep was lucky I didn’t feed it to our cat! My babysitter from hell put him in my hand to show me “how cutesy- wootsy he is” – not!

So, I don’t like cartoon or real mice.

I’m not a morning person, no matter what time my morning actually starts. (Yes, this relates, hang in with me a moment.) I tend to stumble around, as if I’m not familiar with my own apartment, until the caffeine kicks in.

My eyesight is laughably poor. (Yes, this relates, too. You should know by now I like my tangents.) I wear my glasses first thing because who wants to shove little pieces of plastic in your eyes when they are still gummy from sleep? That means things viewed peripherally (where the lens of my glasses don’t extend) are blurry I-don’t-know whats. So, shadows startle me, fallen leaves from my houseplants turn into scurrying bugs and the irregular wood grain of the floor holds assorted creepy crawlies from my myopic caffeine-jonesing morning perspective.

When I saw a shadow move across the floor one morning, my first thought was, Man, my eyesight sucks.

My second thought was, Wait, did that “shadow” make noise?

But then my thoughts returned to a desire for more caffeine.

As I came back from the kitchen with more coffee, the blurry something brazenly ran right next to me, making actual scurrying noises. I’ve never heard a mouse running across the floor, but I knew it when it happened (once the coffee woke up my ears).

And the cliché of shrieking and jumping on a chair when seeing a mouse – completely true! Well, except for the jumping on a chair part – too much of a physical demand first thing in the AM. But I kind of twitched violently, spilling my precious wake-up fluid.

Oh, this mouse was going down!

Besides, I don’t want a roommate, especially one that wasn’t paying rent.

I kept thinking about a forensics show I’d seen about the Hantavirus, caused by mouse poop. A mousey virus that killed people.

This was a potentially lethal mouse!

Yeah, yeah. You think I’m overreacting. But then you probably like Mickey Mouse. Or you’ve seen cute little field mice scampering outside of your equally cute house in some rural area and say, “Aww.”

Folks, this is a New York City mouse! A big (O.K., not so big) tough rogue mouse that had scaled multiple stories to invade my space! A mouse with attitude and chutzpah (non-New Yorkers, look it up). Whether or not it had disease, it scared me. Yeah, big (O.K., also not so big) tough me was freaked. It was a mighty mouse (no capitals here as I don’t mean the heroic cartoon mouse I actually liked from childhood.)

So, now what? I may slaughter all manner of things in my horror short stories. But I didn’t really want to kill this little (yes, I reluctantly admit it was quite small) critter.

First, I covered my bare feet with shoes. Now my feet were safe. A good first step, ha ha. Next, I tried to figure out where the mouse had actually disappeared to. I knew it had to involve a hole of some sort.

Sigh.

Have I mentioned how screwed up and decrepit my Manhattan apartment is? There’s poorly cut holes where pipes emerge under my kitchen sink and behind my gas stove – plenty of room for a mouse.

But the biggest holes weren’t even holes, they were looming abysses.

I have heaters that are recessed underneath my windows and hidden behind a removable metal panel. Take off the panel, and you see the floor just stops, but the apartment doesn’t. The lazy hack who’d designed (and that is so not the right word) my studio, just hadn’t bothered to extend the flooring all the way to the wall. So, herein lay the afore-mentioned abysses that led to the space between my place and the apartment below, at least  ten to 12 inches wide in places and who knew how deep.

Can you say, “Hello, mousey”?

The panels had little doors that flipped up so you could stick your arm in and adjust the heat without removing the whole thing. And the door on the left never did close correctly. I was betting it was literally a mouse door.

Well, problem solved. I’d just duct tape the door and prevent him from scaring me awake in the future.

Done and duct taped. While I was at it, I taped up every crack and crevice around the heaters. And in the kitchen, too. I didn’t really know what kind of behind-the-wall access it had – was it like a big mousey city, with numerous intersecting “streets” back there? I wasn’t taking chances.

After using up most of the duct tape, I was feeling very smug.

Until I saw it again.

It ran exactly in the direction I had predicted it had come from: the panel door that hung partly open.

Which I had just taped closed.

I think it may have banged its nose on the closed door (no, I didn’t feel sorry for it and you can’t make me, not in my apartment!). So, it did a rapid turn, took off in the opposite direction and dashed behind my desk.

Sigh. 

Shades of “Tom and Jerry”! I swear, sometimes my life is a cartoon. (Though I’m much cuter than Mickey, but I’ll admit Jerry is probably as cute as I am, another mouse I do actually like, being as clever and conniving as he is.) Actually, at that moment, I felt very much like the clever but luckless Wile E. Coyote in one of his many failed attempts to trap the roadrunner.

Fine! I untaped the stupid door. Come on in, mousey!

How exactly was I supposed to communicate with the mouse that he could now leave the way he came?

Rodent speak failed me.

I simply waited, perched on my bed, where I had a good view of the room.

I got impatient. I threw various non-lethal objects close at hand toward the desk to get the whiskered squeaker to move: tissue box, books, shoes.

Finally, it got the hint and ran back through his doorway.

I ran almost as fast to retape the door. 

About ten minutes later, I heard a shriek from the woman below me.  I knew that kind of screech. I pictured her cowering on a chair.

I had to smile. I like the woman downstairs with her 4 AM parties about as much as I like Mickey. Hearing her scream had almost made it worth dealing with my temporary rodent roomie.

Almost.


So far (and it ain’t far), I’ve enjoyed blogging and receiving feedback, with sometimes unexpected consequences like great tips for treating the common cold, or a chance to just puke up (writing wise) a topic that upsets me and many, many others.

So, comment, grouse at me, smile and say something nice, or encouraging, or inspirational (if you’re one of those strange people who do that frequently and actually enjoy it) or just say, “Hey!”

Looking forward to greeting and grousing with you all. Come smooze, as we say in the city, NYC.

Cheers and beers and even tears are OK,
Alexa deMonterice
(aka The Cranky New Yorker)