My 3rd Parent and My 5th Child


Two years ago today we moved into our lovely old house. It was built in 1896, so this place is celebrating its 120th birthday this year, as we celebrate 2 years of calling it home. I refer to this place as “mine,” but more accurately we are the caretakers here. There have been others before us and there will be more after. This house sees generations of humans, where I get one human lifetime.

On one of my favorite tv shows, a man owns an estate and a castle. He refers to his home as his 3rd parent and his 4th child. When I first heard that, something ran through me that left goosebumps. I completely understood the weight of that.

This big old house that I call mine is my 3rd parent and my 5th child…

In the way that it keeps me warm and dry, a safe haven of love and acceptance in a scary world. 24/7, always here for me. I never even think to doubt it.

In the way that it has constant needs and demands, always requiring my hands on it to fill cracks and sweep out corners and give attention. Such constant cries for my attention and affection.

In the way that it takes my time and my love, and seems to breathe it all right back into the people who step inside.  This home feels more like a person than a place.

Maybe it is the 120 years of history and stories and families that have lived here. Or maybe it’s because we believe this house chose us. But either way, it IS a part of our family. This may not make sense to you, but then I’m guessing you haven’t been here.


I spent a lot of my adult life with a lot of responsibilities and not a lot of money. I had a couple decent places to live but mostly pretty crappy ones. I rented what I could afford, and often had very little heat or money or food and life was really hard. I dreamed for many years of a warm old house with extra bedrooms and plenty of bathrooms and room for all of us to gather or be alone at times. And two years ago, that wish came true.

If I could create any home, any place on earth to tuck away and be safe and sound from the storms of life, it would be here. With its flowery wallpaper inside and it’s vines growing up the walls outside. I feel lucky every day to be here, even when I’m scrubbing hundreds of windows. But especially today, as we celebrate 2 years caring for this parent/child house of ours. This dream come true.


*** I sometimes write about how much I love my life and I worry that people think things are all “perfect” and I totally “have it together.” No one should be under the impression that I do not bitch about my big old house from time to time. ‘Cause I do. Nor should you be confused that I have a perfect life, as I do not. My toddler refused to leave his high chair all morning so I let him to watch 5 episodes of Barbie Dreamhouse because it kept him reigned in and allowed me to write to you kind folks…



There’s a Mouse Stuck in a Glue Trap in My Kitchen

There is a mouse in my kitchen, in the back of a drawer, stuck in a glue trap.

Naturally, I’m in the living room, writing about it. Why? Cause I can’t do anything about it. Hell, I can’t even look in the drawer again.

We bought a very old house this fall. Very old, like 118 years old. A huge old house, like 3,200 square feet. And it sat empty for over 2 years. So, a house that’s just empty means centipedes the size of house cats, and mice.

We knew this. I mean, we saw mouse poison and even a few dead mice when we first inspected the house and again when we cleaned it. But we have cats. And really, I’ve lived in houses that had mice before. First off all, because I lived in poverty for years and that means the houses aren’t’ always the best. But I’ve always had cats and that has always immediately solved the mouse problem. They take off for the hills. Until now.

The problem is that even though this is a very nice home, there is a sort of a belly to the house, a undercurrent of places that exist only inside the walls of the house where the cats can’t get to but the mouse (mice?) can. Behind drawers and inside cabinets going into walls that have been renovated over the years. So the mice aren’t scared of the cats there. They are safe there.

I thought of poison but I have kids and even tucked back, it’s too scary. And besides, if a poisoned mouse gets eaten or played with by a cat, the cat gets poisoned. No good. Plus, then the mice will most likely die in the belly of the house. Mice are small, but who wants decomposing small rodents in the house. No. Just no. Poison = bad.

I settled on glue traps. The mice were only showing droppings in the back of 2 drawers and in the cabinet with the cleaning supplies. Perfect. I tucked glue traps back there with some graham cracker stuck in the middle for bait.

This morning, mouse in trap number one. Stuck. ALIVE. Looking at me and squirming. I just shut the drawer.


Now what?

I went to Google. I love Google. It’s my favorite website. I only got so far as to type, “Caught m…” and the first suggestion was, ‘Caught mouse in glue trap now what”

Ahhh, Google. It’s so nice to not feel alone.

Google suggestions….I could hit him with a crow bar. Or a sledgehammer. Or put him in a few bags and drive over him with my van. There was big debate about humane versus inhumane going on…

The thing is, I’m probably a Buddhist. At least, that’s the religion that speaks to me most of all. And in Buddhism, there is this whole “ahimsa,” thing, meaning “non-harming.” A cosmic karma of sorts where all living beings are the same energy and if we harm one, we harm ourselves. I really believe in that. So I let spiders out of the house if I can. I really don’t want to hurt much less kill anything. But mice can’t live here either. So where is the line between harming my family and harming rodents? I don’t know. I do know that they can’t live here and share our house, but I’d prefer the line didn’t settle on a sledgehammer either. I Googled further.

Apparently, I can put the trap and mouse in a sealed container and fill it partially with vegetable oil and “bathe,” the mouse in the oil to free him. Once I free him from the trap, I can take him to a field at least one mile from all buildings and set him free, being careful all the while to wear bite proof gloves and not touch him to avoid diseases. And to do all this fast enough to not suffocate him. Sounds fun, yes?

But it’s literally 0 degrees here this morning, so I’m kind of thinking that setting a wet vegetable-oiled mouse out into the wild this morning might kill him anyway. Thoughts???

So, what to do?

Naturally, write about him, or her. It could be a her. I have no idea. I left it in the drawer and I’m avoiding my kitchen. I’ll play with the baby and hope that’s the only mouse we have. It’s possible.

Happy Friday, all.

P.S. I’d attach a photo, but I really can’t re-open that drawer.