Of Mice and Other Stuff

bunny and mouse 0420

So it is snowing, light little flakes that must be hovering right on the point of freezing, because large chunks of collected flakes keep flaking off the roof. A dreary Sunday here to mark what is probably going to be a rather dreary Easter for local Christians.

There would have been not much of a sunrise for any sunrise services, but I’m reasonably sure most churches around here pushed their start times back today anyway. Based on the ads in the paper, most congregants plan to flock to their service electronically, although the Bethany Baptists, whose church building once used to be our movie theatre, are going to try a drive-in service.

Sadly, the building never was a drive-in movie theatre, but it still seems to harken back to that era as cars will be parked six feet apart, windows closed (even if it wasn’t snowing), radios tuned to some pre-specified point on the dial. I do not know if the officiant,  which I’m guessing will be Tom Burggraf, will move about among the cars or if he will be in a fixed location.

But it’s a creative approach, and I’m guessing their parking lot will runneth over, people seeking the closest thing they can to touch on this weird Easter Sunday.

One of the CBS newscasters, Anthony Mason, said his family planned to have a virtual dinner together today, although he sounded doubtful. He said he had Jewish friends who had planned their Passover dinner in the same fashion, and he was going to quiz them on how exactly it worked. I’m guessing Oma’s matzoh ball soup isn’t anywhere close to the same when displayed on a cell phone camera rather than presented directly in front of you.

I should note that all forecasts for Gunnison today called for zero percent chance of precipitation — a forecast that is already 100 percent wrong, as my gentle wafting flakes have turned into more of a swirling pelt.

So while families aren’t able to gather, and the fellowship found at churches and synagogues isn’t on offer, and it’s snowing and crappy, and Gunnison County has doubled or tripled down on intruders, issuing a sixth amended public health order that suggests we soon will have armed blockades at every entry point, this is what’s on my mind this morning: hantavirus.

No, it’s not enough to have a coronavirus; I feel the need to add another virus into the mix. Not because I want to, you understand, but because yesterday we uncovered evidence of guests in our storage unit.

Not our storage shed here at the house, but the storage unit we rented for a couple of months (that might now be a full year ago) to facilitate our move.

The contents dwindled as we moved into the new house, but never disappeared. I thought we could downsize, but locating a unit to downsize to was more difficult than imagined, and Lynn wasn’t enthused about moving everything another time. Some boxes, in their travels, went from here to the storage shed to our new garage to a storage area at work to the back of my truck and finally yesterday back to the garage.

Which is where most of the remaining contents of the storage unit ended up yesterday, in a four-trip caravan of the truck and Lynn’s Jeep. And as we cleared out the back of the unit, I located a scratching post for cats that might be a fraction as big as ours — and the base was covered in mouse droppings.

That’s kind of poetic, don’t you think? Mice crapping all over a cat’s possessions?

I confess to being a bit baffled by this, however. It was the only sign of mice in everything we moved (although we didn’t unpack any boxes, so for all I know we’ve moved an entire colony here to the house), and it wasn’t a copious amount of droppings, and they were all concentrated in that one place — which was about as far away from a mouse entry point into the unit as you could get.

We have about one trip’s worth of stuff left in the unit, almost all of this stuff for the garage sale we may never get to have, and then we have to dispose of the scratching post and maybe sweep out the storage unit — although sweeping is not advised around fresh rodent droppings. Not that I have any idea whether these are fresh or not.

I’ve already researched my instructions: air out for 30 minutes, use gloves and face masks (just like every day!), avoid stirring up fresh droppings . . . perhaps we’ll just remove our stuff and let the storage facility owners know they may have a mouse issue.

An issue that I hope is not now ours, although Lynn notes we have moved everything to Club Marrakesh, where the cat who likes to entertain himself by plucking small creatures out of the grass spends an abundance of his time.

The sun has just now come out, although snow continues to fall, but this is right in time for the Bethany Baptists, whose drive-in service should be starting just about now.


And now great gouts of time have elapsed, possibly rendering all of this moot — or even more moot than it is on other days. It is at this point that I realize I forgot yesterday’s lament.

I buy my milk from a family-owned dairy in Olathe, going through the intermediary of our local health-food store. Sometime last year an electrical failure fried all the health store’s coolers and freezers, and it took several weeks to fix. Well, sometime Friday night, in the middle of a viral crisis that has probably cut back on business, the coolers went out again, taking all the food in them down as well.

Terry, the owner, has been trying to sell, I assume with an eye on retirement. If I were her, yesterday would have done me completely in, and I would have pulled the plug on everything right then and there.

Selfishly, although at $20-30 per week I am not the customer who’s going to keep her in business, I hope she finds the werewithall to keep moving forward — but I would completely understand if at some point this all becomes too much.

So on this day of family and friends, most of them at arm’s-length-plus, please spare a kind thought or two toward the hard-working folks at Gunnison Vitamin and Health Food. If it weren’t for bad luck, they wouldn’t have any luck at all.


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