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tearing the rag off the bush again

Hariette began writing her memoir under the extraordinary and unique stress of having to deal with a mice invasion in her New York City aparttment. We preface the first installment of her book with the heart-wrenching saga below, in the hope that the reader knows just how hard it is!


America's recession is not just the purview of homeowners of the heartland on Main Street.  As I wrote Chapter 1, working from 3 p.m. to sometimes 6 a.m., I received a nightly visitor, on a schedule as nocturnal as my own. It made its appearance promptly at 3:30 a.m., squeezing through (somewhere, somehow) a tiny hole in the kitchen wall and into my living room/workspace.  My beauteous home now resembles a super-max prison, with even canned goods in lockdown in air-tight plastic containers.  The current tally spent to rid myself of this non rent-paying, grocery-consuming resident: $400 on top-of-the-line ultra-sonic devices, about another $150 on assorted modes of glue traps and electronic gizmos, $20 on peppermint oil (warning to ladies, that stuff is MUY FUERTE, no touching la chocha after applying it to cotton balls to leave in strategic areas),  $87 on airtight plastic containers, $54 on a stainless garbage can, $2,507.56 on eating 1 meal a day outside the crib over a 2-wk period...No need for me to get graphic except to say that this (these?) are NYC mice, smart survivors who laugh at every single thing I throw at them.  They extricate themselves from glue traps, and, receiving last-minute stays of execution, they endure many volts of electricity from the battery-baits and then just  bail.  This building is like 1/2 rent-stab'ed & rent-controlled and the other 1/2 trustfunders paying market value.  The trustfunders never complain to El Slumlordo, who hasn't exterminated in six months, despite the fact that we all now reside between an Italian restaurant and a wood-burning pizza oven/tapas/wine-tasting bar filled with loud little die-yuppie-scummers 24/7.

I called an internet site, and this chick was in like Iowa, or Idaho--one of the "I" states, and she kept repeating, "All you can do is to keep the building clean and keep using the glue traps and the snap traps, the glue traps and the snap traps, the glue traps and the snap traps, the glue traps and the snap traps."  In these cases (like when credit card companies ask me if I want to pay to get a discount at places like Wal-Mart, I always have to ask, "Have you ever seen a movie based in NYC?  We don't have live in houses, we don't have malls.  We don't go to Applebee's or Costco or The Macaroni Grill.  We live in apt bldgs run by evil landlords.  I can't force him to keep the building clean!!!"  Her response?  "Well, like I said, all you can do is keep the building clean and keep using the..."

Do they actually grill macaroni at that place?  Whatta weird name.

The Democratic presidential campaign seemed to have the same mentality, as Obama & Biden talked exclusively about "the heartland" and the home mortgage crises on "Main  St.", never once referring to us urbanites. I obsessed away:  "Whatever happened to CITIES?"  One would assume that the population of urban areas, where NOBODY lives in houses (okay, maybe Katharine Hepburn's house is still standing as an historical landmark in Turtle Bay, but, otherwise...) makes up the majority of the population of the U.S. & probably every other country in the universe, n'est-ce pas?  I personally know of a country where most people live in houses--it's called CANADA.

We finally have a superintendent, fresh from (The?) Ukraine.  I had to demonstrate the flexibility of the "R" species to him on the internet, as he was entirely skeptical when I insisted that they can squeeze into 1/2" spaces.  He also appeared to be thinking of birds when he suggested that "if we kill mother and father, they cannot bring food to babies in the nest."

I got up at 8 a.m. to pee the other day ( having gone to sleep 3 hrs earlier, as i had been perfectionistically finessing my prose in my usual fashion) when the phone rang. It was my super, informing me that "exterminator man is coming here in maybe 10, maybe 15 mins."

I got up as FAST as, I won't go there, but fast, turned on all the lights, etc.  The exterminator came.  He looked like a rat, with sharp little teeth and red eyes.  He plugged holes with steel wool, put down more useless glue-traps, and gave me discouraging advice.  When I told him that even that the electrocution devices weren't working, he opened one up, stuck his nose inside it, and said, "Smells like dead rodent to me!"

Ooooooooooooohhhhh I am grossing myself out.

I should have known.  Life is too predictable. As in, why should this night have been different than any other night?  Naturally, it was the $20 peppermint oil that finally convinced them to find a new roommate.

The point of this update is that, yours truly, Matahariette, an apartment-dweller, am suffering from my own home-related recession, so this wknd, I am going to revise and revitalize Chapter 1 for our 11/15 pub date.  We still gotta date, Handsome?


Corpse: Yes.

Read first installment! Click Here
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