Last night The Man found evidence of a Small Furry Friend in our pantry, and I suddenly found the motivation I had been searching for to clean out the entire cupboard, and wipe down all surfaces with eucalyptus oil. And it occured to me that a change has been going on in my brain over the last months. Years ago, when the older children were small, we lived in a wooden house in the forest, with little mice scuttling in and out with impunity. I remeber a friend ringing me and shrieking about a mouse, and how she had thrown out half her food, and was disinfecting madly. I thought about all the meals she had eaten and my house, and decided it would be kinder not to tell her.
But suddenly it seems to me that I would rather not have a mouse in my kitchen. I am not certain this is a change for the better (it isn't for the mouse, anyway), and it also means that I will be changing my gung-ho practice of bringing home purchases from the wholefood shop and slinging them into the back of the cupboard still in their brown paper bags. The Man has always been very rude about my need to keep every single jar that ever gets used in the house 'just in case'. In case I make jam, or my own herbal teas, or in case I ever store anything in something that is not a brown paper bag. Well, that time has now come. For three hours last night I listened to Radio National and took everything out of the cupboard, threw half of it away, because it turns out that brown paper bags are not such effective storage containers after all, and repacked everything else into jars. With labels. Oh, the heady feeling of efficiency and neatness. I know now why housekeepers of yore kept their cupboards locked, with the keys on their belts. Because otherwise someone might have messed with the jars.