18 September, 2010

A Metaphor I'd Rather Live Without

*written Thursday night*

There is a mouse in my house.

a mouse.

in my house.

and you know what? I am SO GLAD THERE'S a MOUSE IN MY HOUSE,

because at least it's not a rat.

okay first of all, before you think I am a loon, there's really only one little mouse and it is very tiny of the field variety.

Here's the thing. I've heard that bugger trying to get into my kitchen for the last week.  We have an older house and an empty field, and apparently when they built this house they didn't really make it mouse-proof on the east side. Actually, we had a problem once before several years ago, and I sealed up all the holes, took fine mesh and stapled it across all mousie highways, but this one skinny little thing managed to get into the space under the kitchen cabinets and could not find its way out.

So I knew that that sound, whatever was behind that little wall, that creature couldn't get in to my house because it is sealed to make it into the kitchen. Over the course of the last week, each night, that sound got louder, and in my mind, the mouse grew bigger. It grew to be rat sized, it became a giant rat, then a terrifying oversized rat, and finally tonight, I was quite certain some miniature chupacabra was behind the cupboard, stalking my family, walking on the edge of the foundation, scratching the wall. The sound has haunted my sleep, made it hard to work, and occupied my mind nearly all day with me trying to figure out just what to do next to get rid of the giant beast behind the cupboard.

Well, that giant beast eeked its way somehow through the tiniest of openings, and just made a run for it down our hall and into the closet. There's a mouse in my house. a tiny little mouse.

Ha HA! It's just a little tiny mouse! Nothing to fear at all. Manageable! Quickly taken care of!
I set out two glue traps (go ahead, call PETA), and I have a broom next to me as I work, and tomorrow the mouse will be gone, and I will patch up any little holes in our defense system, and it will be taken care of.

and so.

and so that's it. There's no rat in the cupboards. There's no infestation or disaster, and it wasn't chupacabra, or a giant rat, it's a field mouse.

That's what I do to myself all the time...about everything. I build up a small, easily accomplished task, until it becomes so big that it occupies most of my active brain power, and I become immobilized  by the weight of what I need to do.

Then things pile up, physically, emotionally. The stack of mail, the unfinished writing, the clothes that the kids have outgrown, looming. And of course, there are all those things "on my list" I should do for my children, and for my husband, and maybe even for myself. They are little things mostly, which are reasonable, feasible, and within my range of abilities, like paying the car registration, and emptying Lucy's suitcase from her last little overnight, and taking the pile of shirts in my trunk to the dry cleaner.

If I could just tackle one, or three, things at a time I can take care of all those mice. And if there are too many, I should be able to ask for someone to help me without feeling like a complete loser. More importantly, I need to remember that a mouse can never turn into a rat (though there may indeed be a few rats that just start out that way.) I can manage nearly everything I encounter in our little life here, if I just address the situation, right when I should, in the moment.

answer that email | return the call | write the check | rsvp | clean it up | throw it out | donate it | repair it | tie it off | paint it| return it | bag it up | wipe it down | write it down | look it up | compare it | be grateful | reach out | stand up | lead | nail it to the wall | follow graciously | speak up | wrap it up | listen | put it away | ask | plan it | mend it | try it | polish it | fold it | put it away | make room for it | research it | read it | scrub it | make it fit | give it up | fluff it up | keep it up |

then rest
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