Passwords and Mice

From Nik Payne’s “Case Study—Starbucks Bathroom Codes


I didn’t get much done this week.

I had no idea a mouse was in the house as I blissfully crocheted stitch after stitch night after night for two, three weeks, oftentimes up till 6 a.m.

That is, until my son James loomed in the doorway Thursday morning before school to tell me “a rat’s running around in our living room,” right where I was crocheting.

The rat turned out to be a mouse, and we still don’t know how Michael Jackson got in here.

The Terminix guy came today to inspect the crawl space and assort other hot spots. He looked for telltale signs of a rodent infestation — mouse poop — but didn’t find any, which was odd. He didn’t find any activity under the house, either. The crawl space was definitely compromised, though. So somehow this mouse or mice found a way inside, worked through to the plumbing under the sink, and Bob’s your uncle.

My husband discovered about 10 rice-sized droppings under the kitchen sink three days ago, but didn’t tell me, which was dumb of him.

Terminix thinks it’s a stray mouse, again, very rare. We’re having a specialty team from Terminix come in this next week to double-check all possible entry points, to see if there are any new holes into and out of the house, then to fill them up.

If you know me, you know I’m quietly losing my shit. Oh, lots of people say they’re losing their shit. But I really take losing my shit to the next level. I am the President of the OC-D Anxiety Club.

Every fear, every phobia, every minor worry is triggered right now.

When my son went downstairs Thursday morning to get ready for the bus, he came face to face with Michael Jackson right near my crochet projects, the yarn, the hooks, my quarter-filled cup of coffee, everything.

MJ tried to bolt but saw my son in the way, turned tail and headed back under the ottoman and the very lounger I sat on night after night crocheting “Chain one, single crochet…,” probably over all that beautiful yarn and all those beautiful Starburst Granny Squares.

{{Sound of a middle-aged woman screaming into the night}}

Having no idea how long the mouse was living under the same roof, I (il)logically concluded that I inhaled its many viruses through the 1, 2, 7 afghan throws and scarves, plus one new hat I’d been obsessively chain one single- and double-crocheting the entire month of Feb.


Not only did MJ possibly give me Hantavirus, but he effectively shut down my crocheting operation and the one hobby that gave me a mental escape from my daily stresses.

We also got a new, big screen TV screen, with Fios, Netflix, and YouTube, which I’d been enjoying with my cup of coffee or tea and crocheting. Well, that’s over.

I suppose I should get off my ass and do something more constructive. Like continue reviewing music on Medium, adding to my novel in progress, be with real people outside this house, bake another bundt cake for a friend, go running…

Earlier in the week, I experienced a really bad IBS-D attack right in the middle of getting Panda Express take-out for my son. I knew it was building as I drove from Trader Joe’s, my third grocery stop, but pressed on. I try to avoid stacking errands, because I tend to have accidents at the most random times and finding a public restroom nowadays is tantamount to a top secret special forces mission (thanks, homeless druggies!).

After I picked up the takeout in the drive-through, I thought, “Maybe I should be smart, park right here, and stop in the Panda Express restroom.” As I turned off the ignition, I felt my bowels unlock. The act of physically moving out of the car turned on the faucet completely, releasing the floodgates.

I reached the door, praying for the flood to ease up so I could at least clear the residue and empty the rest in peace when I saw a line of people order to my left, then walked for what seemed an eternity to find the restroom door locked with a numbered combination and that familiar sign, “See us for code.”


The rest of my untamed shit came flooding into my Depends, forcing me to go back into the car and make the longest drive of my life home.

Of course I wound up behind someone sitting at a green light — with five minutes more to go, refusing to go. I felt like getting out of the car and smearing some of my shit on the guy’s window.

Once I got home, it took me an hour to clean myself and the downstairs bathroom.

I didn’t just shit liquid. No, too easy. My shit contained twigs, pellets, bark, nut shavings, god knows what else, chunks that flew out every which way as I wiped the upside of my backside, the toilet seat, the floor…

In the middle of all this, I’ve been having a helluva time simply loading the Starbucks app so I could pay for my other habit by shaking my cell phone. How can one person memorize so many passwords? Another app, ala a new dedicated password memorization program to load.


To top it off, for some mad reason, Christina Aguilera’s “Come On Over (extended version)” kept playing in my head the second my son reported the presence of Michael Jackson.

I think I’ll play that while I Google some more about mice, mouse traps, the Hantavirus, and forgetting passwords.



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