Thursday, June 14, 2012

I'm a Maniac... or, The Mouse in the House

Have you ever thought you saw something out of the corner of your eye, but when you look there's nothing there?  Well, that happens to me on a daily basis.  Mostly at night.  I usually think I see bugs crawling across the carpet or up the walls.  It's disturbing, but something I've learned to live with and generally ignore.

On Monday night I had another seemingly similar experience.  We had been sitting on the couch watching TV (okay, I admit that I was actually laying down.  Having three small children is exhausting!) and we were about to get up to go to bed when I saw something out of the corner of my eye.  The shadow I saw was larger than normal, but I ignored it as I usually do.  Until Mike said, "What... was that?"

And then we saw it.  Plain as day.  A small brown mouse ran from behind the box we keep DVDs in and skittered underneath the entertainment center.  It quickly made its way to the hallway and scampered underneath the fold in the runner that we have never been able to smooth out.  I would like to say that I kept my wits about me, that I moved calmly and formulated a plan to evacuate the mouse.  But if I did I would be a lying liar who lies.  I freaked out.  I don't know why, exactly.  I mean, it's a mouse, one of the many creatures on the planet that, I am told, is more afraid of me than I am of it.  They look so cute in pictures, balanced on the end of a blade of wheat with its long, slender tail wrapped around the stalk.  But when you're up close and personal with one in the sanctity of your own home, it's a vicious creature that's out for blood... and pretzels.

Once we got something to trap the mouse in I began to slowly pull back the rug so my husband could catch the fiend.  This did not work well because as soon as I saw its little head poke out and look at me with its beady little eyes I dropped the rug and the darn thing skittered under the hall closet door. 

The freaking out continued.  Over the winter we had gotten into the terrible habit of tossing the hats, mittens, gloves and scarves randomly into the closet, mostly landing on the floor.  In truth, it was not so much my habit as that of the other four people living in the house.  I simply gave up.  The thought of this stinking creature crawling all over my winter outerwear creeped me out right down to my toes. 

My husband reminded me of his father, the fire fighter, with his cool, calm, even disposition.  He wasn't panicking in the slightest bit, but calmly began to take items out of the closet one by one, making sure that our tiny visitor wasn't hiding inside any of the folds.  I would normally have stopped to appreciate this aspect of his father's personality showing in him, but I was too busy blaming him for putting the scarves and hats on the closet floor in the first place. 

The hallway filled with the junk that had been on the closet floor.  If a fire had broken out we would have all been doomed.  The front door was completely blocked and since the closet door was blocking the closest window, there was no way of escape. 

Unless you're a mouse.  It suddenly flew out of the closet like a shot.  I screamed, "Mouse! Mouse!" While my husband yelled back, "Where?!? Where?!?"  "It's under your legs!  Don't you feel it?!?"  "NO!! WHERE IS IT?"

At this point, the mouse had made its way through my husband's legs, around the back of the closet door, and squeaked through the door jamb and back into the closet.  The entire time, my feet were moving like Jennifer Beals' in "Flashdance", but with less poetry in motion and more panic induced motion.  I cried out, "Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!"  I briefly worried that I was using His name in vain, but quickly realized that it was a desperate prayer to God Almighty to deliver me from the tiny, furry enemy that was now hiding deep in my closet.

As my husband crawled deeper into the closet I repeated questions, "Do you see him?  Did you catch him?" while my feet continued to move.  I was sweating with anxiety.  After what seemed like hours, my husband emerged from the closet with the beast contained in our make-shift trap.  I grabbed a flashlight and we headed out into the dark night to release the mouse in the neighbors hideous wood pile from which, I believe, it came from in the first place.  The freaking out continued as I considered the many creatures who could be lurking in the darkness, raccoons, skunks, attack owls.

I like to think that this trap would actually work.  :-)
Once I got back into the house, I hit Facebook for advice on my predicament after scrubbing my skin, the floor, and putting all the scarves and hats into the laundry.  I needed to know if there were going to be more mice.  I couldn't sleep knowing that there were more furry little creatures roaming around my house, nibbling on my breakfast cereal while I'm in bed.  Facebook proved to be a terrible idea, with most people telling me that there were most certainly more mice to come and that I need to set traps right away because they breed like crazy.  My favorite advice, by far, was from my friend Andrew who suggested I half-fill a 5-gallon bucket with water and black sunflower seeds and lean a 3-foot plank with a trail of seeds on it.  The idea is that the mouse or mice will follow the seed trail to the top of the plank and unwittingly jump into the bucket of water and drown.  Of course, then there's the what to do with a bucket full of dead, wet mice?

The answer to that question doesn't really matter, because we set traps the next morning.  I'm happy to report that after several days there hasn't been a single mouse sighting.  Although, I was sort of looking forward to trying Mouse-Ka-Bobs.

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