at my parents’ bucolic dacha, in upstate New York, with my husband, kids, stepson, parents and in-laws, if you can read between the lines.
Everything was wonderful and couldn’t have been better and at no point during the decade long weekend did the vein in my forehead start to throb like a fucking time bomb, nor did my blood pressure set any records. Except for calmness and relaxation, that is. Because that record is in the bag.
And because having nine people under one roof is not enough, we also had two cats and a dog. Nicki, our cat, and my parents’ geriatric cat Sly and their dog.
And one morning I woke up early and sauntered out to get a cup of coffee and as I walked into the living room, this is what I saw:
1. One mouse, resting upside down with his/her paws sticking up in the air and Xs over his/her eyes.
2. One mouse, nearby, dismembered, I suspect disemboweled, and, I’m sorry to say regurgitated.
Needless to say, I almost passed out.
I’m a city girl. I’m used to seeing rats on the NYC subway tracks, but they look healthy and virile, like young rodent Arnold Schwarzeneggers.
These were dead. And disgusting.
So when I almost came to after almost passing out, I yelled for Mama.
“I’m getting dressed,” she yelled out and also asked why I sounded hysterical.
“Because there are two dead mice in the living room!” I shrieked. I decided not to tell her that one of the mice appeared to have been autopsied because I love my Mama and want to spare her unnecessary trauma.
She seemed far from traumatized.
“Just clean it up,” she said. As though she had never met me before.
So just in case you’re new here, there is no fucking way that I’m going to pick up dead mice. Because it’s gross (see also, disgusting.) I may not be a shoe-shopping-type of girl but I’m definitely an EEK! A MOUSE! type of girl.
“I can’t touch that stuff,” I told her, feeling more feeble than ever.
Mama was not sympathetic.
“Oh, you Americans,” she said, picking up the mouse with one paper toweled hand and the organs with the other. “Why is everyone so … tender?”
“I am tender because mouse organs are disgusting,” I defended myself. And America.
“Well, news for you: sometimes life is disgusting,” Mama was seriously annoyed with me. “I can see where this goes. If I am unable to take care of myself, you will not help because it is disgusting. Changing diaper will be disgusting for you. You only like pleasant things, like ice cream.”
“I do like ice cream-”
“Everyone like ice cream. It’s easy to like ice cream. Changing your parents’ diapers is not ice cream.”
“Mama, I-” I started, although it was difficult to know how to finish that sentence.
“Do not worry. Just put plastic bag over my head, and then have ice cream.”
“I will change your diaper! I will change it right now!” I defended myself.
Mama still wasn’t happy.
“I don’t need a diaper yet, cretinka. I need you to pick up dead mouses.”
I’m never leaving NYC again.