In the early 1980's my husband and I were building our first home. One evening, almost before the cement in the basement had dried, my husband suggested we sleep in the basement so we could get an early start the next morning.
I wasn't crazy about the idea, but I didn't think it was fair to leave him alone to sleep on a cold, hard floor, while I slept in a comfortable bed at his parents. So, with the small wood stove stoked, the sleeping bags spread out, and the moonlight shining in through the basement window, we settled down for the night.
Just as I was drifting off to sleep something scurried across the cinder block foundation. Poking my husband in the side, I whispered as quietly as I could, "Did you hear that!"
"What?" His voice sounded heavy with sleep.
"Just listen." A few seconds passed, and when the noise wasn't repeated, my husband made a remark that afterward, I'm sure he regretted.
"I don't hear a thing." he whispered. "It was probably just a mouse."
"MOUSE?!" I screamed jumping out of the sleeping bag. "I'll be at your parents place!" As I ran up the stairs, watching for anything that might try to scurry across my path, I threw an "I'm sorry" over my shoulder as the garage door slammed behind me.
I drove back to my in-laws, crept into the dark house, tip-toed up the stairs to the bedroom, and buried myself under the cool sheets.
No sooner had I snuggled into bed, light off, room so dark I couldn't see my hand in front of my face, than I heard it again! Skit, skit, skitter. Just inches above my head was the familiar patter of little rodent feet across the headboard. I jumped up, blindly groping for the light. As the bulb glowed it revealed what was now becoming my worst nightmare! With noses twitching, beady eyes glaring at me, there, sitting as still as they could, were TWO brownish-gray mice!
For the rest of the night I sat in the middle of the bed, an empty bird-cage I'd retrieved from the closet sitting firmly at my side, sitting cross-legged and posed to pounce if so much as a tail quivered.
As 5 a.m. rolled around, I knew I needed to get some sleep if I was going to spend a full day at the house. I knew sleep would be impossible if I didn’t keep the rodents from possibly walking all over me as I slept. I gingerly picked up the Budgie cage, removed the bottom from it, and as stealthily as I could, approached the pair. They were obviously as stubborn as I was, having sat rooted to the same spot all night. As I edged closer, their piercing eyes continued to stare at me. Suddenly, one of the mice dropped his head to groom himself, confident his pal would stand on guard for a few seconds. I made my move. Unbelievably, I was actually successful in trapping one of them in the cage! It scampered from wall to wall, acting as though it couldn’t believe I’d outsmarted it and now it had no idea how it was going to escape. Unfortunately, it took him very little time to devise a plan rewarding him with his freedom, as I discovered when I awoke a few hours later to find the cage empty.
Although I wasn't very successful or smart for that matter, in ridding myself of the pesky mice, I've since been able to see the moral in the experience: Facing and dealing with a fear when it is small enough to handle, and someone is there to support you, is better than waiting until the problem doubles in size and you must face it all alone.