Jan Stafford Kellis
The Dog Year by Ann Wertz Garvin

The Dog Year by Ann Wertz Garvin

The Dog Year by Ann Wertz GarvinMy rating: 5 of 5 stars Step inside The Dog Year and meet Dr. Lucy Peterman, a plastic surgeon struggling to navigate her life after losing her husband and unborn child. She copes by stealing hospital supplies and stockpiling them in her bedroom. Until…

Me Before You

Me Before You

Me Before You by Jojo MoyesMy rating: 4 of 5 stars When the diner where Louisa Clark works closes and she loses her job, she tries a few unpalatable positions (including one at a chicken factory) before finding a position as a caretaker for a quadraplegic man.  Will Traynor had…

What Alice Forgot

What Alice Forgot

What Alice Forgot by Liane MoriartyMy rating: 5 of 5 stars I spent the last three days engrossed in the story of Alice and her sudden memory loss.  It begins when she falls off her bike in spin class;  when she comes to, she believes it’s 1998 (it’s actually 2008)…

It’s All Relative

It’s All Relative

It’s All Relative: Two Families, Three Dogs, 34 Holidays, and 50 Boxes of Wine by Wade RouseMy rating: 5 of 5 stars Wade Rouse takes the reader on a year-long journey through holidays large and small, sharing his experiences in his signature self-deprecating way.  The book progresses from New Year’s…

Range of Motion

Range of Motion

Range Of Motion by Elizabeth BergMy rating: 4 of 5 stars This is the realistic, yet somehow uplifting, story of a wife’s grief over her comatose husband.  The first few lines of the book reveal Lainey’s numb shock over the absurdity of her husband becoming the victim of a large…

Memorable Memoirs

I just finished reading two memoirs, each one interesting and completely different from the other. The first one I read was Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs by Heather Lende, which takes place in Haines, Alaska. We just returned from a visit to Haines in August, and…

Public Appearance: Yikes!

I will be speaking at the De Tour Library on Wednesday, August 25, 2010 at 6:30 pm. My speech will include comments about the writing process as well as the book club that inspired my first book, Bookworms Anonymous. Both of my books will be available for sale and 20%…

It Doesn’t Look Like I’m Writing…

I started writing my third book. It’s roughly outlined and I have extensive disjointed notes designed to capture my bright ideas in cryptically phrased snippets. I already know the contents of the table of contents and the appendix. I even have a list of glossary words! But I’m at a…

Reading Groups & Public Speaking

A semi-local (25 miles away) reading group asked me to speak at one of their upcoming meetings. Does this constitute public speaking? Because public speaking is one of my irrational fears, along with mice, small spaces with only one exit and flying, all of which produce enough anxiety to cause…

Facing My Fears

It’s painful and shameful to divulge, but at the risk of reducing my reputation to that of a cowering idiot, I must concede: I’m afraid of mice.

The word ‘afraid’ doesn’t communicate the full force of my affliction. Mice terrify me; they repulse me. I know and understand the reality of their minuscule proportions, and yet, when I witness one scurrying through the garage or (horrors! I’m trapped!) the basement, it appears gargantuan. The smallest mouse I’ve observed was the size of a football and the largest, a small dog. Yes, I realize my mental images are obscuring reality and the mice are actually smaller than my fist (eww! Imagine one touching my hand!) but my stomach retains its contents only because of my superior vomit prevention mechanism, often exercised this time of year when the mouse population is high and they are all seeking shelter.

When I was a child I read books about mice. The Mouse and the Motorcycle was one of my favorites, and of course I read Stuart Little and a collection of others. Unfortunately, real mice do not don Victorian waistcoats and tiny spectacles; they don’t converse about erudite topics; they don’t travel under one’s hat or drive little cars. They certainly don’t know how to prepare gourmet meals (or was that a rat, in the movie ‘Ratatouille’? Must have been a rat. Shivers–even larger than a mouse!)

So the fear has become debillitating: the other night as I pulled into the garage at home, I noticed a mouse streaking across the floor. My reaction never varies, so I endured the entire anxiety/panic attack as my stomach clenched, I heard a rushing sound in my ears, I broke out in goosebumps, my hands gripped the steering wheel, my bladder threatened to release its contents, and I may have forgotten to breathe for a minute or two. The mouse was unaffected, frolicking happily, seeking a dark tunnel (of course I checked my pant legs: firmly pulled down around my shoes, no gaping invitation there). In light of this debillitation, I decided to face my fear and set traps for these dirty rodents. My husband normally sets the traps, but he’s tired of my irrational fear and tired of emptying traps.

My method will be twofold: (1) a line of traps, which will be treated as disposables so I will never have to touch the cadavers and (2) a Polish mouse trap made with a bucket, a beer can and some peanut butter, which I can empty at arms’ length while frantically inhaling fresh air over my other shoulder. The annihilation of the mouse population at Honeymoon Acres will commence this Sunday (Nov 29) after I gather my supplies. The result should also be twofold: (1) there will be no more mice on the premises, at least until next year’s batch moves in and (2) I will no longer be handicapped by the mere sight of a tiny rodent smaller than my (gulp) fist.