Look, when we lived in Chicago, did a mouse once poop on our pie? Yes. And did we cut off that portion and still maybe eat some before we got worried we would die of the Hantavirus, all because it was a time-intensive cream pie? No comment. But is it hard for me to look at any pie without recalling how it felt to gaze upon that sullied coconut cream, without some sliver of that pathos revisiting me, unsettling my soul like Hell’s feather brush?

Obviously.

Our Thanksgiving pies were great (I only baked one of them, a peerless apple), but they did get me to thinking about that apartment, and that (those?) mouse (mice?) who haunted us for the last few months of our tenancy. When we moved in, the apartment was a disaster (sidebar: so many of our apartments have been disasters upon move-in. Put a pin in this): I arrived several hours before Dave got there with all our furniture, so after a walkthrough in which everything was revealed as either dirty or broken (or both), I laid down on the floor and cried, calling Dave to tell him we would be living in a hovel.

Of course, it was not so bad after cleaning; better still when we painted the walls and put in our furniture. I had to have words with the management company about replacing literally every major appliance (the dishwasher was full of water and the door fell off; the freezer didn’t work; one of the burners didn’t work and, given issues with everything else, I declined her polite suggestion that we “just ignore that one and cook on the other burners”), but eventually they did, and the landlords were also cool about it when the bathroom ceiling spontaneously collapsed the day we moved out. So in the end, it was net positive.

But the mice were just rude. We never saw them, I don’t think (a fact which can’t be claimed about the RATS in an early Tucson apartment, which I eventually stopped from getting in with a strategically placed can of diced tomatoes), but their favorite bathroom, besides that pie, was our silverware drawer, which was onerous. I guess the upside was that we developed outstanding cabinet hygiene as a result of this: growing up, we always just kept flour in the cupboard in a bag, but now I will always have a robust Tupperware, or better still, a stainless steel container.

And I guess I can take comfort in the fact that those mice/that mouse enjoyed our pie. So at least someone did.

(Unpin my promise of other apartment horrors: the first apartment we moved into in Tempe, AZ, when I was in grad school, had also been “professionally cleaned,” but when I started unpacking the bathroom I found¬†a drawer full of hair.¬†So life has been exciting everywhere, I guess.)

Anyway, love a pie, love baking a pie. It’s finally chilly here. Happy Wednesday, world.