Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

April 5, 2013

Country living up your nose

By Janet Jacobs
Corsicana Daily Sun

— Last week, our new neighbors and Lisa and I were discussing the joys of living in the country.

And there’s a lot to love in the wide open skies, and potential for growing your own veg, and the clear silence on nights when the dogs and coyotes and pigs are quiet. There are some wonderful aspects of moving out so far from everyone. There are downsides, too.

The new neighbors, Bill and Susan, moved here from Scottsdale, Ariz., so they’re still figuring stuff out. Bill has killed about eight skunks that moved in underneath their new/old house. Poor guy. Welcome to the neighborhood.

Then over the weekend a mouse crawled out of the woods and into my car to commit suicide.

I’ve been treated to his special lingerings since then.

The first day I thought I must have left a window cracked and it was mildew from the rain. By the second day, it was clearly something foul. I cleaned out the car, searching, hoping it was something that could be scooped out and buried, but no. It’s snuggled up inside, probably in the air duct system.

I drove to Wortham on Tuesday and with all the windows down I was gagging the entire way. When I realized where the smell was coming from I turned off the air, partly because of the smell and partly because my brain was screaming at me “it’s blowing dead mouse in your face, eeeeek.”

Our surprise cold front, what my great-grandmother used to call “the Easter spell,” was one of those good news/bad news things. Good news, the smell was lessened. Bad news because I couldn’t use the heater.

I drive an old beat-up Nissan with a couple hundred thousand miles on it, but through a mixed-up combination of loyalty and frugality I can’t stand to get rid of a car that starts every single day without fail. This past week, though, I thought several times about just setting my loyal traveling companion on fire.

Michael, the Yoda in our office, pointed out that eventually the mouse would decompose and wouldn’t smell so bad. It’s a psychological thing, but I’m still creeped out by the idea of breathing in dead mousey whenever I turn on the air.

So I arrived everywhere with cold fingers and rain in my hair because of the open windows. I know that I’ll have to make an appointment to get the mouse removed. I know that mechanics sigh whenever I pull up because my problems are never normal. For now, though, I’m just reflecting on the joys of being so close to nature that it feels comfortable using my car as a cemetery.

Country living, where the air smells like dead mouse.

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Janet Jacobs is City Editor of the Corsicana Daily Sun. Her column appears on Saturdays. She may be reached by email at jjacobs@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “Soundoff” on this column? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com