6/4/15

7 Ways College Kids Home For The Summer Are Exactly Like Mice



I have two college kids. One lived in a dorm room a couple hundred miles away during the school year, the other lived in a big house with friends just a short drive from here. Both have come home for the summer, joining their two younger brothers, the dog, and me. Yay!


Our house is almost 80 years old. It’s been updated, of course, but one of the less-charming aspects of living in a older home is there are lots of nooks and crannies which are the perfect size for mice to squeeze in. Every fall we get a few. It’s nauseating at first, but they are dealt with and life goes on.


Those two facts don’t seem to have anything to do with each other, do they? Except, oh my God. They have so much in common, college kids and house mice. Have you had either of them? Then you know exactly what I’m talking about.


For those of you who are new to this experience, let me give you some insight. Here are ways that having your kids home from college for the summer is a lot like having a mouse infestation.


1. They leave tell-tale signs. With mice, you find droppings. With college kids, you find wet towels everywhere, dirty dishes in bedrooms and Bob Marley posters.


2. They will eat anything and everything. With mice, you will find holes chewed in cereal boxes, chip bags, sacks of dog food and pretty much anything else you haven’t shoved in the freezer. I once found a half-eaten stick of butter with tiny mouse bites all over it during one particularly grueling mouse season. College kids are the same, only sometimes they’ll open boxes with their hands instead of their teeth. And they tend to avoid dog food.


3. Sightings of either one are rare. If you go into the kitchen late at night, and quickly flick on the lights, you may spot mice scurrying along the baseboards. You may also spot a large man/child, motionless in front of the open refrigerator. Both are startled easily and will flee back to their nests.


4. Speaking of nests...mice like quiet, dark, undisturbed spots for their lairs. They will shred paper and cloth to make it soft and warm. College kids home for the summer oftentimes build nests in their old bedrooms using several Rubbermaid storage tubs, every single blanket in the house and various articles of your clothing. They will sometimes overtake sectional sofas as well.


5. You can hear them at night. With mice, you will hear scuttling, gnawing and scratching noises. With college kids, you will hear scuttling, gnawing and scratching noises along with the THUP THUP THUP bass drops of Skrillex and Diplo.


6. They kind of stink. Mice emit a musky odor. Depending upon the sex of your college kid, the odors emitted may be musky in an Old Spice/dirty laundry way, or it may smell like a Bath and Body Works store has exploded in what used to be your daughter’s bedroom.


7. The excrement of mice can be dangerous. The excrement of college kids isn’t so much dangerous as it is annoying. Did all of your roommates get pee on the bathroom walls, son? Or is that just your way of marking your territory here at home? And oh, my darling daughter: toilet paper might have been “free” in the dorm, but it’s not here. Ease up, Miss Wipes-A-Lot.


Those are just a few ways a mouse infestation and kids home for the summer are alike. Of course, we deal with the two issues in entirely different ways. With mice, we set traps and call the Orkin guys. With the kids, we sneak hugs and have intelligent conversations and marvel over how fast the years have gone by.  


The hardest part of this experience is knowing that the mice will always be back. The kids? There will come a time, very soon, when they will nest elsewhere and your house will be quiet, mess-free and the fridge will always remain full. It’s going to be pretty cool, I’m sure...but I have a feeling it will always seem like something, someone, is missing.

Enjoy them, and the summer, while it lasts.

13 comments:

  1. Perfect! My oldest just graduated from high school and is not moving away for college just yet, but I can see many similarities. Additionally, the cats like him quite a bit.

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    1. Dr Momzilla, my eldest stayed home for the first year and a half after graduating. I get it!! I bet the cats like him. My dog was sad when he moved out, he loved "cleaning" all the dishes he left in his room :)

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  2. Your timing is perfect: my 22yo moved home in December (still no job) and the 19yo is coming home from college next week. And I have a 15yo finishing his freshman year of high school. I'm both looking forward to and dreading this summer.

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    1. Oh girl! We are in a very similar boat! Sending you lots of calm mom vibes. And crockpot recipes. Sending those too. Damn, these kids can eat.

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  3. You nailed it! As I sit here I am currently looking at the swath of crap he just leaves lying around. And you are right, all too soon he won't be coming home. He made this abundantly clear when we were discussing the pros and cons of a house that we are looking to purchase. I said something about needing to have a guest room and he looked at me and said, "Well, you know, pretty soon I won't live with you guys anymore, so my room can be the guest room." And I cried.

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    1. GAH!! I get all weepy about it and then think of George Costanza. I have four of them, there's a very good chance one of them will stick around for a looong time. My daughter already threatens to do that.

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  4. Dear Happy Hausfrau
    I have been reading your witty, honest blog for months now and would like to just take a moment to thank you. As a married woman in her 40's with no children (due to career, time ran out. Plus, I had at best "anemic" maternal urges) and a very different life, it is very refreshing to see the tribulations, joys and heartaches from your point of view. It reminds me, how very similar we all are as women, though the details following our respective names may be different. There are times I just laugh out loud reading some of your descriptions. And there are time I want to find Big Daddy and give him a tongue lashing to tell you the truth! I wish you further success- and please do not stop blogging and writing.

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    1. Friendster, this just made me cry salty happy tears on my porch. Thank you, so much.

      So nice to read these sweet words!

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    2. You're an awesome person, friendster, to take the time to write this comment! I agree with you - it is a pleasure to read this blog.

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    3. And likewise, SC. Smooches all around!

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  5. Hi Jeny. I found your blog few months ago and was mesmerized by the way you share your emotions as well as your life with all of us out there. You managed to pull me into your world, and so many times I wished we could meet in person. Since i found your blog I've red most of it. Many times you left me wondering how did you manage to survive certain things and have you ever told your ex how much he hurted you and your kids. Anyhow, I just wanted to say hi and tell you thanks for sharing your stories. I wish you all the best. Warmest greetings from Europe. Ps. Excuse my poor grammar, english is'n my native language.

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