They’re Baaaaaack!!!!!

What does my riding helmet, equestrian team tryouts and rodents have to do with one another?….

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And so that I never forget the traumatic experience, they generously left their mark on my helmet.

Anyone who knows me well is aware of my aversion to mice. I can appreciate that they’re one of God’s creatures and they provide food for other animals, but aside from that I think they’re dreadful little critters. There’s just something about their beady little black eyeballs and wormy tail – Just… ew.

So while other folks are rejoicing in the coming of fall so they can wear Ugg boots and drink pumpkin spice lattes and look at the pretty leaves, I’m completely dreading it. Because when the air turns chilly and the leaves begin to fall, rodents like to find warm and cozy places to make their home.

My family lives out in the country and our house in nestled in the woods along the Red River. Said rodents seem to think that our cars are miniature kingdoms for them to rule, so they simply migrate from the woods right into our vehicles, chewing whatever they please and stashing their nuts and mousey belongings in every nook and cranny.

I have no idea how they get in, but you can tell they’re there when tiny mouse turds begin showing up on your seats. If you’re completely grossed out right now, imagine that feeling, multiply it by 10 and mix in a hint of pure terror, and you can imagine how I feel climbing into my car every day. It’s pretty much like driving the nightmare-mobile, and not to mention a hazard on the road!

The mice must have sensed that I have returned from New York, because almost immediately after I got home from the Travers, they were waiting for me. It probably didn’t help that I haven’t cleaned out my car in who knows how long and that garbage lines my floor mats, making their castle even homier. A floor to ceiling disinfecting and cleaning is in order this weekend, no doubt.

As I headed out the door last Monday to tryouts for my university’s hunt seat equestrian team, my brother made a joke about how the mice just seem to gravitate towards me, and that it must be my smell or something. I playfully slapped him on the shoulder before running to our trailer, grabbing my helmet bag and hopping into my car.

The helmet bag sat innocently on my passenger seat as I jammed out on the 20 minute drive to the equestrian center. When I arrived I carried it in with me and proceeded to contain my mess of thick wavy hair into a hairnet and pony tail holder that would be shoved under my helmet. I unzipped my helmet bag and began pulling it out… until I realized there were tiny faces staring at me. The bag flew in one direction, the helmet rolled in another as I bounded away squealing in alarm and sheer terror, all in front of about 20 people.

Surely they must have thought I had gone mad! I clung to the wall of the office, hyperventilating as I pointed to the giant mouse nest made out of a chewed up rug from our trailer that had fallen out of my helmet.

A sympathetic new freshman who lacks a fear of mice took pity on me and carried my bag outside to dump out the rodents. She informed me that there had been not one but FOUR mice – a mother and three babies – who had taken up residence in my helmet, which I had worn on a trail ride only two days prior. I later came to find out that a fifth baby mouse remained in the lining of the helmet bag for another day before our dogs took care of it.

I somehow made it through my tryout it one piece, despite the unnerving fact that it was used as a miniature birthing center/rodent house for humanity (mice-anity?) to four baby mice and their mother just five minutes before.

Fall has come. Fall has come indeed. At least I made the riding team.

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