Ding, Dong the Mouse is Dead

>> Friday, April 30, 2010

If you haven't yet had a chance to read yesterday's post, then stop, rewind, and go do it.  Don't worry.  I'll wait for you.

Okay, are we all ready and up to speed now?

We left our story yesterday with me turning in for the night fully armed with visions of "death by rat" (thanks again, Spike TV) while Girl Cat, Houdini, and Big Black Cat were wandering around the house in search of Girl Cat's new friend "the mouse."

The plan was to have DH run to the hardware store the next day at some point to pick up some sticky traps.  While the idea of traps at all with Toddler in the house is not pleasant, sticky traps beat traditional traps because if I lose track of the child for two and one half seconds, and he finds a trap, at least I can cut it off him and no bones will be broken in the process (his or mine).  In the meantime, I was going to stay home and try not to think about "the mouse" somewhere in the house.

After all, chances were good I was never going to see him again.  Either he found a way out, or he suffered "death by cat."

However, early in the afternoon that next day, I was belatedly folding some laundry and draping some shirts over the dining room chairs.  I was about to go check on a corner near my plants while I was out there, because I thought I caught the faint whiff of pissed-off cat potion.  (That's unlitterboxed pee to those of you not worthy of having cats.)  

*Fold, fold, fold* *Sniff* *Take one step toward plants*


He's right there on the floor, not moving.  (I say "he" like I know.  I assure you, I don't know.)

No sane, healthy mouse sits in the middle of the floor in broad daylight.  I know that much.

I back up.  He ... doesn't move.

I went back into the laundry room, thanking my lucky stars Toddler is snoozing in his room.  All I need right now is for him to come running around the corner yeling, "WHAT YOU DOING, MOMMY?"  I retrieved the bucket and broom from last night's collection of mouse-combating elements.  I gingerly walked back into the dining room.  The mouse was ... still not moving.  Okay.  I took that bucket and dropped it on him, trapping him inside.

He ... didn't move.  I'm getting the very real idea that perhaps he has met his maker and is never moving again.  Perhaps that smell I so hastily blamed Girl Cat's temper for was really ... the smell of dead mouse beginning to emanate.

So, I promptly announced to Twitter:  "Because I have a child who will soon wakeup, I will actually pick up the dead mouse I found. If I didn't, I'd wait for DH like a coward."  Then I said, "At least, I hope its dead. If not, you will hear the shrieking." Followed by, "I'm getting the cat for backup."

The problem was I couldn't find Girl Cat, and neither of the boys were interested.  I tried.  I even brought down Houdini and sat him next to the bucket.  He promptly ran away.  Great.  Just what I need.  Me, a mouse, and no backup.  So, I donned some disposable gloves, grabbed a plastic bag, called my mother for a pep talk, and went out to remove said mouse.

A few moments later, I said on Twitter, "Oh help.  He's alive."

Yes, the little stinker (and I mean that literally) was, in the immortal words of Monty Python, "not dead yet."  I moved the bucket, and as I was reaching my hand up, he sidled away a few steps. I promptly slammed the bucket back down, threw a towel over it and, after further thought, got a big book and put it on top.  Then I got a moment to catch my breath and think about it, and I had the sickening feeling this was not the same mouse we saw last night.  That one was small and black.  This one was medium (if you know what I mean) and gray. 

That meant that this mouse was probably not lying here in a fit of exhaustion after having been harrassed and teased by my cats all night long.  I had been imagining them kicking back with some catnip tossing insults at the mouse while he was surrounded.  Alternatively, I imagined that after being chased from the upstairs by a cat bigger than he could imagine, he met all three of them at once, looked up, had visions of being in the movie, Cinderella, and just gave up the ghost.

But no.  This was altogether a different mouse.

So, here I was, the proud jailer of a semi-conscious mouse in my dining room, under a bucket, under a towel, under a very big book.  (It was Antonia Fraser's Mary Queen of Scots, if you must know, an ex-library edition.)  Even better, Toddler was due to wake up soon.  Best of all, there was still another mouse somewhere in the house.

What to do?  What to do?  Clearly the mouse was messed up.  I was thinking perhaps I might have the courage to take it outside and let it go, but I was afraid he'd been poisoned somehow and would possibly harm the outdoor predators like my cats ... or the neighbors dogs.  Or worse ... he might recover and come back.

Of course, my alternative was to ... I can't even say it ... kill him. 

Either way, I couldn't just let it sit there.  I was having visions of Toddler coming down the stairs, picking up the bucket, and then grabbing this sick mouse.

Ugh.  I decided that it was a good day to leave the laundry unfinished and go ... anywhere with Toddler.  Shortly thereafter, I sent my first (and so far only) tweet by phone:  "I am now outside with Toddler. mouse is dying in my dining room."  Then Toddler and I went for a walk.

Wouldn't you know it, though, but today was the one day Toddler did not want to stay outside.  After the walk, and a little bit of playing, Toddler insisted on going back inside.  At that moment, I found out that even though Toddler is not tall enough to open the screen door from the inside, he is plenty tall enough to open the garage door.  He was in the house before I was even sure which way he went.

I succumbed to my cowardice.  I decided to just play, "distract the Toddler from the bucket" for the afternoon and leave the semi-dead rodent for my husband.  After all, snakes, bugs, spiders and rodents are some of the reasons I got married.  They became, "someone else's responsibility" on the day I said, "I Do."  (For that matter, so did the job of examining loud noises and stealthy sounds of intruders in the middle of the night.) 

Surprisingly enough, I was able to keep Toddler's attention from the bucket for the remainder of the time until Darling Husband came home.  Toddler never even noticed it was there, even when he took his push toy and ran it around the living room and dining room a few times.  I guess I have to thank goodness for small favors.

Despite my neurosis of not wanting Toddler upstairs in case any more ailing rodents appeared, and not wanting him downstairs in case he kicked the bucket (literally, not figuratively), and while periodically looking for Girl Cat, who was most decidedly MIA when I needed her the most, I found time to tweet a few observations. 

"The small woodland creature expiring in my dining room bears no resemblance to Warehouse Mouse of Imagination Mover fame."

"Neither does it resemble Mickey Mouse."

"Toddler asked me if we could get a dog today. I said no. If I had known how apathetic my cats were about mice in the house, I'd have said yes."

"Cat #3 used to live outside. He is chomping his food not 6 feet from the rodent under a bucket and he doesn't even care. "

"From now on, the round eared creature that lives in #disney shall be referred to only as "Mickey". No mice are allowed in my house."

And so I passed the hour, waiting for some sort of solution, or for someone else to bump off the mouse so it wasn't on my conscience.  Darling Husband came home as soon as he could, and with a piece of cardboard as an added weapon, slid said mouse into a plastic bag, at which time he told me the blasted thing was dead, and I had suffocated it. 

I deny suffocating it.  I say he was at death's door before I got the bucket, and all I did was give him a little bit of privacy. 

Either way, the mouse had left the house.  Thus endeth the drama.

PS:  After a closer look when sliding said mouse into the trash bin, DH said he thought it WAS the mouse from last night. (We're still debating that, but in his defense, the cats seem to think we are alone again.)

PPS -- Special thanks to those of you who participated in the "mouse dialogue" that day.  I especially appreciate the clarification that Douglas Adams was referring only to white mice as being super-intelligent pan-dimensional beings.  The gray (or black) ones are just ordinary mice.


Barb Dittrich May 1, 2010 at 11:25 AM  

I read this out loud to my cat-loving 13 year old, her friend and my 8 year old. We laughed our buns off, remembering the time I chased my husband around the house with a baby mouse one of our cats had caught. Snakes are my aversion, and I don't want mice setting up shop in our home, but I get to be the rodent remover. I wonder if he married ME just for that qualification! What a riot!

Karin Kysilka May 5, 2010 at 1:11 PM  

I once went camping with a bunch of girl scouts when I was young. One of the girls found a mouse in her mattress. It was ... giving birth while girls were screaming and chasing it with a broom. Fun, fun times.

That mattress slept outside that night.

Karin Kysilka May 5, 2010 at 1:12 PM  

PS -- you guys have *GOT* to quit talking about snakes on my blog. Entropy is watching! Have a heart!

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