I'm terrified of mice. This is a relatively new fear that I have developed, and one that I wish I could go back and reverse, but unfortunately I don't think that's possible, unless I'm willing to fork out some cash for hypnotherapy or something.
This little story begins last week when we (Cal, the girls and I) headed up to one of my favourite places in the world, my summer camp. I started attending this camp in 1995 when I was 14 years old where I was a volleyball camper for four years. Following that, I spent four full summers on staff, but that just wasn't quite enough for me. I started teaching the one-week Leadership camp back in 2000 (with a couple other fabulous individuals) and really have never looked back. Now, just weeks from my 31st birthday, I'm happy that I still get to spend one week each year at my favourite summer spot. Even better? I get to take my husband and our two little ladies so they can experience how much this place means to me.
This was Lady M's second time to camp; she was last there in 2011 because we skipped last summer seeing as Lady A was only about 12 weeks old at the time. Lady M didn't remember much about camp, but she settled right into camp life within moments of stepping foot on the property and breathing in the beautifully clean northern Ontario air. Lady A was also in her element, happily toddling all over the place in her little pink crocs for the next six days.
I love absolutely everything about my camp, except the potential for having mice nearby. But as I mentioned, this is a new phobia that I developed a few short years ago. Let me explain:
In the summer of 2009 we headed to Florida to celebrate my Aunt's birthday; a big, fabulous family reunion. Cal, Lady M and I landed in Orlando and were met by my parents who had already arrived in town a day or two before. While Cal and my Pops waited for the luggage, my Mum entertained Lady M and I ran to the bathroom. I promptly RAN out of the bathroom when a giant sewer rat walked into my stall and brushed past my feet. Please note, I really hadn't had much issue with rodents to that point. In fact, I can recall having a mouse run across my stomach one night when I was sleeping at camp (back when I worked there full-time) and that barely phased me. The sewer rat at my bare toes, shielded only by a pair of flip flops? That creeped me out BIG TIME.
Fast forward to camp life now, and I'm terrified of having mice in my cabin. But, when we arrived last week I saw that our cabin had nice new flooring, improved windows and several other enhancements from the last time I was there. Relieved, I knew I would sleep well.
However, just one night later, I was dozing on the couch (I didn't say I was roughing it) when Cal woke me up to say "what's that sound?" After exploring a little, I suddenly saw a little rodent run from our bathroom toward the front door. As I cowered and trembled on the couch, I told Cal that it might be a chipmunk or a mouse. Either way, ick. I was shaking...Cal was mouse-hunting. He flung open the front door, and a few minutes later the mouse stopped making noise, so we went to bed assuming that our little visitor had taken leave.
An hour or so later, I jolted awake when the sound returned, and Cal jumped out of bed with one of our trusty flashlights. I decided to run to the coaches lounge (our evening hangout) and grab my friend and co-teacher Rene, who I had seen firsthand look after a cabin mouse in the past. I figured he would be a bigger help to Cal than I, who was shaking like a leaf, alternately wanting to cry and scream. I ran to the lounge, and bumped into another coach I know who told me Rene had gone back to his cabin for the night, but suggested that since she had a couple beers in her, she would be brave enough to come join the mousehunt. Awesome - I had reinforcements! She and Cal found the hole, patched it up, covered it with the fridge, and I semi-relaxed and fell back to sleep. I awoke in the morning feeling like I had just completed a killer ab workout, apparently having trembled and clenched my body all night long, but at least we were mouse-free.
The next night, I was playing in a badminton tournament with the other coaches, and returned later in the night when Cal immediately told me that the mouse had returned, but he had found another hole, patched it up and gotten the mouse out. He had discovered that mice don't like bounce sheets, so he devised a clever solution to stuff powder-scented dirty diaper bags into the mouse hole (in the absence of bounce sheets, of course!). I gently suggested that he probably should have just lied and told me that the mouse had never returned, then climbed into bed once again shaking, and somewhat wishing that Saturday would arrive quickly so I could return home to my own, mouse-free house.
Just to ease my rodent worries a little more, the next day we took a trip into town and stopped into the local Canadian Tire where Cal picked up spray insulation. He very kindly filled in absolutely every hole he could possibly find, inside and outside the cabin, to really keep our visitor out. Well, it must have worked because between Thursday and Saturday, the mouse never returned. Phewf.
So, I don't think that my fear of mice/rats has eased at all, but I do feel a little pride in the fact that I managed to make it through the week sleeping in the same cabin, and not going to my friend Trish's cabin and climbing into bed with she and her husband (though I let her know not to be alarmed if I did at some point!). Hopefully if we return to the same cabin again next year Cal's handyman skills will have all held up, but I guess we'll wait and see.
It's all worth it though to get to spend a week at camp with my family.