House cleaning

So I’ve been having another bout with depression lately. Unfortunately my doc saw fit to give me another medication. Not my favorite option, but I definitely trust this doc so I am giving it a shot. I’ve been feeling a bit better the last few days, but some of my neuroses always try to express themselves through copious amounts of cleaning. I did the fridge, the kitchen, the bathroom, my laundry, and finally the stack of “junk drawers” that everyone has in their house. After 3-4 moves, everything just gets tossed inside and piles up. it’s always kind of weird to see the stuff you put in there- like you want to ask yourself, “Really? You thought you needed 3 packs of 20 pens?” I also found 3 of my college ID cards, 2 old drivers’ licenses, multiple expired gift cards, and a remote control spider that my dog was afraid of.

I also found this little poem that I wrote back in high school. I remember that I actually won an award for it at the local library writing contest. (I was quite proud. Short stories had always been my thing back then, not poetry. Even today, I have a rough time with writing poems.)

The poem describes my pet mouse, Cheddar. I had snagged her from the biology teacher and saved her from being snake food. This was a relatively common practice for kids in our high school, especially since we were in a rural area. Animals were just part of living. I loved that mouse so much! I actually had her trained to stand up on her hind legs and give my finger a little kiss. I started writing a story where she was the main character (anthropomorphized, of course.) She was also the first animal I had that I really, really loved, and I was heartbroken when she died. It was an awful, slow death too. She just lost control of her limbs. She was a 2 year old mouse- there was nothing that could be done. I remember I held her in a little cloth bag I had sewn out of a Precious Moments pillow case, trying to keep her warm and snuggled in a secure-feeling spot. I even fed her drops of water from my hand because she was too weak to move over to the water bottle. I kept thinking she would be ok. Eventually, I buried her myself in a shoebox under the grove of white pine trees in the backyard. Even in retrospect, I think I did the right thing by not having her put to sleep. I mean, it’s a mouse, so euthanasia doesn’t take much, but I think I needed that time when you see something or someone you love in pain. Sort of a deep lesson for a mouse to teach me. I’ve always wanted another mouse since then, but I always seem to be moving around, and I plan to move within another year anyway. Plus, in small apartments, let’s face it- they can smell. Plus with a rat terrier and a snake… might drive the local residents crazy.

Anyway, I wanted to share this old poem that I wrote. Rest in peace, Cheddar the mouse!

Her fur is dandelion yellow,
Her splayed feet a soft pink,
she’s staring at me thoughtfully,
I wonder what she thinks.
Her belly is white like the pale moon,
And her eyes are dark as night.
I am not afraid of her,
I know she will not bite.
Her fur is softer than a silk pillow,
Whiskers tickle my hand,
Her footsteps are like that of a child,
Pattering across the land.
Her ears swivel at every sound,
Her dark, focused eyes take in all.
But then she decides to relax,
And curls into a soft, furry ball.
This animal is not threatening,
not disgusting, not rude.
Whether or not you like a mouse
Depends on your attitude.

Cheddar the mouse. 2002-2003
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