Only we would discover that our happy home has been invaded by both rats and mice at the same time! It’s like a Batman movie — every live-action Batman movie after the first Michael Keaton movie in 1989 has had two villains, because one psychotic bad guy endangering the city just wouldn’t be awful enough. So we have rats in the crawlspace and mice sneaking into the pantry. I’m surprised they can co-exist like that; I would have expected some kind of rodent gang turf war.
The Siren ended up throwing out a lot of food, and I had to deal with a mouse caught on one of the glue traps the exterminator put out, which I hate doing. The house I shared in law school had a mouse problem at the start of my third year; we started with glue traps, but after we caught the first dozen, we moved on to poison. Today, our exterminator put out both.
There’s a restaurant up the street, and the exterminator’s best guess was that the rats are attracted by their garbage; he thinks with all the bushes and ground cover we and our neighbors have, the backyards are like (shudder) a rat highway, and a few just gnawed their way into our crawlspace. I don’t even begin to know how to process that. We’ve never seen any rats or mice outside, just the occasional rabbit.
On a lighter note, after the kids and I watched this video a dozen times before they went to bed, I’m considering growing a mustache.
Animal behaviorists know that if you don’t reward the mouse for getting through the maze, he won’t be so keen to scurry as quickly the next time. Along the same lines, I think I’ve already mentioned that one of the things I find most difficult about writing the novel is that there is no feedback at all. Blog posts get hits and comments, flash fiction is complete in a weekend and receives almost instantaneous reaction, even a short story can be completed in a reasonable period of time.
I’ve been writing Meet the Larssons since January 2, and until Thursday night, no other human had ever seen a word of it. I wrote 1700 words while on a plane on Thursday evening, a complete scene. I wasn’t entirely happy with the scene, but I didn’t think it was miserable dreck, either. I got home just in time to say goodnight to the kids before they went to bed, then had a couple of glasses of wine with the Mrs. The wine must’ve hit me hard, because I offered to show her the scene I’d completed on the plane, unedited. She accepted.
No fireworks, no belly laughs. It wasn’t a fireworks or belly laugh scene, just two people who don’t know each other well having a conversation in a bar, but the lack of any visible reaction made me crazy. I pestered her a couple of times until she told me to be quiet. Finally — FINALLY! — she finished. She said it was pretty good, but obviously rough, and some of the technical explanations could probably be cut, but without having read the previous 210 pages or so, it was hard to be sure. Not, in other words, a pile of miserable dreck. Then she read one screen’s worth of text from a previous chapter over my shoulder (I was checking something several chapters back), and she said she liked that even better. Go figure.
The important thing is that I got my cheese. I’m not completely wasting my time. I’ll get back in the maze now, and I’ll scurry as fast as I can, and I’ll twitch my nose the whole way.