Way back in the days of long ago, when Hubby was still working -- you know, last month -- he talked to a guy about delivering some firewood. The guy was going to deliver it on a Saturday when I was home, and he asked Hubby if he needed to call me first so I wouldn't be scared when he drove up.
Hubby replied that he didn't have anything to worry about, because in his words, "She ain't scared of NOTHING."
I have jumped out of airplanes, I have parasailed, I have rappelled off the side of a mountain, I ride a motorcycle, I have ridden a bicycle down a hill at 47 mph with Katydid clinging to the back, and I would bungee jump in a heartbeat.
But I'm not fearless.
Case in point:
A couple of weeks ago, I went down into the basement to put a load of laundry into the washing machine. Keep in mind that our house is almost 40 years old, and our basement is a scary place all its own. Hubby has lived in this house since it was built, and he hasn't discarded one piece of junk. Oh that's not fair....he once threw away enough stuff in the basement to make room for his '69 Ford pickup truck.
Before I put the clothes into the washer, for some reason I peeked inside. I don't normally glance into the washing machine before I dump the clothes in.
There was something small and furry at the bottom.
I pounded back up the stairs, wringing my hands, breathless and nearly crying.
"There's a mouse in the washing machine."
I cannot explain my deathly fear of mice. It's illogical, I know, to be afraid of something that much smaller than I am. And it's not a jump-up-and-down-I-might-wet-my-pants kind of fear. It is a gripping, PARALYZING, I-just-might-hyperventilate kind of fear.
Hubby just looked at me at first. I KNOW what was going through his mind. He was thinking, "I don't do rodents EITHER, what does she want ME to do about it?"
But he's the man. That is clearly a man's job. Feminism can go straight to hell. It is a man's job to get a mouse out of the washing machine. It came in our vows, right after "to have and to hold....in sickness and in health.....in mice and snakes...."
He stalled. He asked, "Is it dead?"
Hell, I didn't know, I didn't stick around to take a pulse or have a conversation or anything.
He hesitated just long enough that I flounced back through the door to the basement, muttering "Never mind" as I went.
I don't know what I thought I would do, because there was no way in a hot place that I was going to reach into that washer and get that mouse out.
Hubby did come down, the mouse was dead, probably having starved to death and wondering how he got into such a mess, and all was right with the world.
Only I couldn't stop thinking about what might have happened if I hadn't glanced into the washer.
What if he had made it through the wash cycle and I had come across his lifeless body when I was transferring the clothes to the dryer?
What if he had made it through that cycle as well, and I had come across his corpse when I dumped the clothes on the bed to fold them?
Or what if he had made his way into the pocket of something, and I didn't realize he was there until I was standing at my desk one day, talking to a student about active and passive voice?
It's hard to say whether I'm more deathly afraid of mice or snakes.
You know what's worse than finding a mouse in the basement?
Finding a snake. I haven't found one of those yet, but I know they're there somewhere.
Because you know what's worse than finding a snake in the basement?
Finding a snakeskin.
On the dryer.
If you'll excuse me, I have to go pack.