OPINION: Up Sh*t’s Creek Without a Plunger

Rat on toilet bowl in bathroom. Pest control

I need a lot of rescuing. I don’t know if it’s a “midlife” thing or an “I have three kids and am drowning in a sea of dirty diapers and dysfunction” thing but lately “phone a friend, Regis” is really trending over here.

Like currently, as in now, except I don’t have the phone. I left it downstairs. All I have is a squirming toddler on my hip and a toilet plunger and a shitty feeling I’m not going to be able to outwit the culprit.

What culprit, you ask? We have mice.

In a house older than Abraham, it’s kind of a given. It’s not like I didn’t know they were here (that Hanukkah gelt didn’t eat itself) or that I didn’t know they existed. But I just sort of thought, maybe if I didn’t, you know, actually see them, we could continue to coexist like sinkholes or stretch marks.

I held the plunger tight in my hand, willing myself to look at it as it twitched and god, please let me be imagining this … foamed at the mouth. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t catch it or deal with it or even bring myself to put something over it until Jon came home. This wasn’t a cute mouse by the way or a Stewart Little situation or some poignant little Pixar moment, where I realized all this time, I really do love rodents. This was real and I was very much in it and if it takes a village to raise an idiot, I am that idiot because I basically just shut the bathroom door and ran outside with the baby where I paced back and forth continuously for what felt like the better part of an hour but was probably more like 10 minutes until Jon got home and put me out of my misery. “The mouse is dead.”

“You killed it?” I gasped, visibly trembling at the thought of something that just minutes earlier I was quite possibly ready to vanquish with a toilet plunger.

“No. It was dead already.” I looked at his hands. “I just grabbed it by the end of the tail,” he assured me.

“Are you sure?”

“Very sure. Very dead. Why are you holding that?”

I had to lie. What else could I do? Admit that I was seriously considering fending off what I’d built up in my head to be a rodent of unusual size with something commonly used to extract a toilet full of shit… that’s what I was, full of it.

“The toilet was acting up again.”

“You want me to put that inside for you?”

“No … I think I’ll just hang onto it.”

“As you wish.”

He went back to the farm. I went back to my day. The toilet plunger … I think I may have left it outside actually. I was in such a hurry then to get the hell out of Dodge, I immediately drove to get coffee. I feel like it makes a lot of sense to head toward the connector …. hello, Norwalk! … in the opposite direction of where I’m actually going, (almost Ridgefield, you people in North Wilton) only to discover 14 cars in line and so began my journey then to the Wilton Starbucks where the nice barista delivered my latte (I forgot to select curbside and now had a sleeping baby in the car) and a game-changing app tutorial.

With my coffee in hand, I was prepared for anything, except maybe vehicular homicide. A big, “I’m sorry!” and “Thank you!” to the sweet blonde girl I almost hit with my car coming out of the Shell station by the Historical Society. Ah, to be young and invincible and oh so very forgiving. I could have killed her with my mom van. Sobering moment, Shirley.

Thank you, India. Thank you, Providence. Right, sorry. This isn’t another Alanis song. Thank you also to Ethan Bourque at Cider Mill for taking my call that day and all the other days when I felt like a shitty mom. That poor man will likely need an ear replacement soon. If anyone from the Wilton Public School district is reading this, please just take his pay, double it and give him whatever he wants … a mouse, a toilet plunger, a kick-ass pension.

I’m realizing more and more that I don’t need a village to help me raise my kid (or Starbucks for life). I need a small nation. I’m happy to report that as of publication, I haven’t hit anyone with my car or driven 20 minutes out of my way to get coffee. Nor have I discovered, expunged or plunged any rodents of unusual size, so hopefully that’s the end of the tale because I’m kinda at the end of my rope but on the off chance it’s not or I find myself up shit’s creek again, this time without a plunger, maybe just best to block my number.

Columnist Lesley Kirschner grew up quiet, in the woods, and devoid of siblings so her hobbies quickly became reading, writing, and talking to inanimate objects. She also spent a considerable amount of time doing voice-overs for her dolls and watching too much daytime television–channel 3, sometimes channel 8, if the weather was good and the antenna wasn’t acting up. She was in attendance at school, graduated from a very much not notable college not worth mentioning, and was transplanted to Wilton with her husband, Ambler Farm‘s Farmer Jonathan and their (baby makes) three children almost a decade ago. Although she never quite found her calling in life, other than perhaps the doll voice-overs, which in hindsight were eerily convincing, she’s happy to try her hand at writing and is thankful for the support and community she found on Facebook’s Buy Nothing Wilton. Lesley realizes while this is all very exciting, she’s not winning a Pulitzer so she’ll wrap it up and be quiet. She’s had a lot of practice.