Articles for October 2013

Minnie the Mouse becomes Minimizing the Mice

I knew we had a mouse.  Husband says, “Where there is one mouse, there are mice.”

At first it was a search, trying to find where she might have made her home.  “Minnie” must have entered our house during the rainstorm and set up a dry home in our basement near all the food I was stocking up for winter.  As much as I could track, she was not tearing into any of our boxed food before I could store them in plastic bins.

And then I found her.  She was so cute.  She had fallen into our cooler and couldn’t get out.  Her large round ears and dark eyes.  She was so cute.  And such a nuisance.  So we carried her in the cooler out into the woods behind our house and let her go.

The next day, Minnie’s two siblings fell into the cooler.  This had become the best mouse trap we had ever owned.  It has been about ten years since we last had a mouse in our basement, so it is statistically going to happen.  But three mice?  Great.  We released them under a branch of ivy in the middle of a rain storm, far from the house.

And then two days later.  Same cooler, same location, different mouse, at least I am hoping it is a different sibling.  This little feller was weak and probably thirsty.  I also took him out into the woods to be released.  Sadly, he probably became cat food as he wasn’t scrambling for safety after I left him.

Phew.  A week went by and no more mice.  We had minimized the mouse problem, and I was set to wash down our pantry shelves and vacuum up little black droppings.  So proud I was after an afternoon of disinfectant scrubbing and hauling the shop vac around the basement.  Late in the evening, showing off the results to dear husband, we watched in amazement as a medium sized mouse crawled between the canned goods and took a ride on my canning jar rings.

Minnie the Mouse’s mother playing on the canning jar rings.

Where there is one mouse, there are always more.  Instead of writing, I have been spending my past week sorting out the contents of our basement.  Luckily, Minnie and her family were enjoying the comforts of a package of birdseed and had not ventured beyond the pantry shelves.

Minnie the mouse has brought me to a new level of minimizing my homeschool materials.  I needed to check to see how far Minie had scoured for food, so every box has been opened and checked.  Down in the basement are seasonal homeschool projects and supplies from the past, stored for the future. Slowly I have been sorting and deciding what items to let go, and what to keep.

The basement is not cluttered.  Everything is organized with a purpose to be quickly found.  As I moved boxes from the North wall to the South wall, I realized I was doing the same thing I do in my upstairs classroom-office.  How many times had I “organized” my school things by moving the neatly organized boxes.  How many times did I really use these stored resources.  But they are so neatly stored and do not look like clutter.  But it is “stuff” that takes my time and energy to move and manage.  If I did not have all these stored boxes, I would have this coming week free to do other things; instead, my precious teaching and family time will either be used to move my organized resources from one wall to the other, or my time will be spent minimizing and letting go.

After I go check my live mouse trap, I am going to face my first box and decide how to let go of my homeschool “stuff.”

 

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