This story has a happy ending.
Over the weekend, I started to smell that dead mouse smell, but not strong enough to make me believe I really had a dead one. I would smell it and it would go away and I'd think I was imagining it. So, fast forward to yesterday and it becomes clear that YES you do have a dead mouse, in my office/utility room, but I couldn't for the life of me locate it.
Of course I was looking gingerly, with the definite EEK factor on standby. Yesterday I could no longer stand the smell. I was hoping this morning that it would have decreased, but it was worse so I placed a call to Ray the Handyman who told me he'd come straight after work.
Which he did.
He was determined to find this mouse and was solidly looking for 45 minutes. I stayed away, but I heard him moving furniture, moving the washer and dryer, removing the radiator cover, moving things, and no luck. At one point he thought it might have died under the floor. About every ten minutes, he'd leave the room, go outside to clear his nose -- not that it smelled that bad, but he'd lose his sense of smell and get used to the smell.
I told him he should give up whenever he felt like it, but he was clearly determined.
Then, Eureka, I hear him calling to me, "There it is" at which point I squirmed and cowered. I had a small area rug rolled up on the floor of the closet and it was inside the rug. He wanted my permission to throw away the entire rug and I was like Yes, yes, yes, yes. He laughed at me for being so agreeable but if he told me I should burn the clothes I was wearing I'd have happily pitched them into a fire. Anything.
So he took the entire rug -- he later told me it was a "big one" -- not a rat, thank God, but a full-size mouse and as he was putting the rug in the garbarge bag he's hollering "Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ" and all I could think of is better you than me. But I guess the smell was horrendous, once fully uncovered.
He opened the window in there; I opened the garden door -- luckily it is so mild tonight -- and then he said he was going to go to the store and buy Lysol spray. I told him he didn't have to do that, that opening the window was enough. I didn't want him to go to that trouble. Finally he said, "What? You don't like Lysol?" and I said that I didn't want him to have to go out to the store, but he said he "had to" do it.
He comes back a few minutes later, holds up the can and says, "Is 'mountain waterfall' OK with you?" Who would say NO to that? I didn't give a damn if it were Mountain Waterfall, Spring Meadow or Summer Morning -- who cares? So he sprayed and then swept (I don't know what he was sweeping) and that was it. He didn't want to take money, but believe me, I wanted to pay him.
When he left, I went in the room. Ahhhhh.... mountain waterfall... the air was so light and fresh and I felt like doing the happy dance. Ray kept saying to me how happy he was to have found the mouse, how he couldn't have left without finding it, and I kept saying he couldn't be happier than I am so we were two happy people.
My only small complaint is that he left the toilet seat up, but I was willing to overlook that for his good work.