To be honest, nothing much rattles me these days. I think I used to get more wound up about things before Mike died. I was younger, and lacked perspective. And there is something to the idea that I have gone through such a difficult experience, losing him, that nothing much compares, so I take things more in stride.
Losing my house, planning a move to a place and on a timetable yet undecided, meager finances, starting a new career, going through the catastrophe of my dad’s condition last year…people often ask me how I am dealing with it all. I just shrug. What can I do? Why get twisted? It does no good. Grief is plenty enough. Worry is a completely wasted energy. That was something Mike was always trying to teach me. Well, I think I finally get it, at least for the big stuff.
I was just remembering that book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, and chuckling to myself. This was a week of comparatively small stuff.
That fridge we got from my friend the other week? Something was leaking. I mean all the way through to downstairs. Ugh. I just couldn’t figure it out. So we moved it out to my lanai (no small chore, me being almost late for work to get it done) which is lined with marine sealant, packed with a ton of towels, until we could get yet another one. Going back into the kitchen we noticed that the faucet on the ground behind the fridge, the one people use for ice makers (never had one of those), had been jostled slightly open during the big fridge exchange and was slowly dripping.
Sigh. Well, at least it wasn’t the fridge, and was easily fixed.
Meanwhile, we have also been invaded by the local population of rats this week. Not sure why. In Hawaii they are ubiquitous, but despite occasionally seeing them outside or even their evidence on my lanai (yeah, gross), they usually don’t venture inside, probably because my two dogs are excellent and very noisy and energetic ratters.
But this week they did. Cue the humane trap Mike and I bought years ago at Ace Hardware for a small mouse problem we had at the time. He absolutely refused to hurt anything small or large, and the trap was successful. He was in my mind the whole time - no way was I going to hurt this animal, disgusting as it was. I would do what he did, which was to catch them and drive them a few miles away (because otherwise they come right back) and release them.
But they kept coming. We have trapped three rats in three days. And another one is somewhere I cannot find, dead and rotting in my house right now. Some of you may know what that is like.
The day of the fridge non-catastrophe, the morning after having trapped the second rat and starting to notice the terrible smell, I got to work seriously frazzled. Rattled, if you may. Only to share it with coworkers and hear WAY worse rat stories. I mean WAY WORSE. Oh my God. Somehow, though, it made me feel a little better. Like I said. They are everywhere here.
I already knew the story, but looked it up again for the details to share. There are apparently several species of rats in Hawaii. Some came with the early Polynesians and others with the later whaling and sailing ships. In 1883, the sugar cane industry imported mongoose from India to try and control the rat population. It didn’t work. For many reasons. One being that rats are nocturnal and mongoose are not. Forehead slap. So now Hawaii is overrun by both.
I have had enough. So after work yesterday I went to Ace Hardware. Which was a trigger. Mike and I loved that store and went there all the time together for all kinds of things. I don’t have reason to go in there much anymore. But I knew the item I needed could be found there, so in I went, suffering a cascade of memories. I walked directly to the aisle where the pest control items were, remembering standing there with Mike on the day we bought that first humane trap so many years ago. But this time I reached for a small bag of rat poison. I was agonized. Mike would NEVER have allowed it. But he isn’t here. And I just can’t deal with it.
We trapped yet another rat last night. And a handful of poison pellets now line the crawl space under the house where I know they live. To my great sorrow. The entire experience has indeed rattled me. But I’m only doing the best I can. Damn it, Mike.