There are supposed to be five stages of grief....denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. I think I've discovered another.... extreme cleaning.
It's just over three weeks since Lucy died, and in the midst of our feelings of abject loss, we hit on a plan to do something to distract us from our overwhelming sadness. We decided to change the sitting room around.
Not exactly earth shattering I'll admit, but we're a bit fragile and it had to be something achievable and positive, which would improve one area of our lives. It's been several years since we had our woodburner installed and re-decorated the room, but we still really like it. One whole wall is taken up with patio doors which look out over the patio (obviously) to the garden. For some reason, which now escapes us, we positioned one of the sofas against the patio doors, facing into the room. Probably it was so that whoever sat there could see the fire. The television was at the other end of the room, flanked by two bookshelves.
Anyway... this is all by the by. We've re-arranged the room to provide unrestricted views to the garden, relocated the TV and generally changed things up.
Pulling heavy furniture away from the wall and moving the bookshelves revealed what can only be described as 'muck'. Ancient cobwebs, years of dust, desiccated spider husks, mummified moths, withered woodlice..... I was horrified.
Don't get me wrong.... I'm not an obsessive, compulsive cleaner. I regularly run the hoover round, and flourish a duster at accessible surfaces, but I don't haul stuff away from the wall
on a regular basis. However, when a combination of dust and cobwebs form a structurally sound mat which you can pick up and might be stronger than kevlar you have to question your cleaning schedule.
So. Nothing for it but to roll up my sleeves, mix a bucket of Flash and Zoflora, and spend FIVE HOURS meticulously cleaning ALL THE THINGS.
To be fair, and in my defence.... there was method in my madness. Early on in the whole cleaning fiasco, I discovered this....
Let's call it Exhibit A.
At Christmas, I gifted PP three bars of Montezuma's milk chocolate, in assorted flavours. The eagle eyed among you will have noticed that this is a 70% dark chocolate bar, which was one of the three I self-gifted.
Can you see where this is going?
I'd been carefully portioning it.... a few morsels of an evening, and I'd left it on the small cube table near where I normally sit. I carefully re-wrap it and close the box.
When I was moving things around I found it like this....
A very strong mouse, or more likely a gang of moderately weak mice, had pulled it out of the box, and feasted on my high quality, completely delicious, dark chocolate, flavoured with chunks of crystallised ginger. Possibly extremely rare gourmand mice, who could have had their pick of any of the bars located at arm's reach but instead chose my best favourite.
In the past, I may have impugned Small Dog's credentials as a boney fido ratting/mousing terrior. And to be fair, we have had issues with small, furry,
cute rodents in the past, which necessitated drastic measures. However, now that her presence is lacking, all the local mice in the woods behind our house (of which there are many) seem to have decided to take advantage of her absence to invade and EAT. MY. CHOCOLATE.
Hence my cleaning frenzy. Strangely, apart from the gnawed chocolate bar, there was no other evidence of rodent 'activity'. I don't know if they abseiled in and were subsequently extracted by a highly trained team of rodent SAS equivalents, or have access to a teleport facility, or have found a rift in the space/time continuum. We have no idea how they did it, but PP is on it and has set up video surveillance, as well as
revolving door humane traps.
Also, I have re-discovered THIS which completely captures Small Dog's chutzpah in the face of rodent incursions.......