Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Visitors

As usual, I was attempting to do too many things at once. As I was shouting instructions for a reading assignment to Justin, I stumbled into the laundry room with my arms loaded down by stinky towels and socks. Completely distracted by everything that needed to be accomplished, I began to shove my pile into the washing machine when I SAW IT. The tiny flash of movement was all I needed; my feet scarcely grazed the tile as I bolted through the hallway, directly to the kitchen table, where I scrambled up and continued to scream like the little girl I apparently am.


THANK GOD Patrick was home and AWAKE. Otherwise, not only would I not have finished that load of laundry but I also wouldn't have gotten off of the kitchen table. Folks, I learned something about myself this week: I don't like mice. AT ALL. I mean, in cages or out in fields, they're freaking adorable. I'll even hold them! But in my house with my shoes that they can crawl into and attack my feet should I unknowingly put it on is NOT COOL. That scenario reduces me into a little ball of icked-out shivers and screams.

My dashing prince of a husband, though he was on his way up to bed, took one look at me, and said,

"Really? You really can't wait for me to buy a trap later on?"

My incoherent collection of high-pitched vowels "AAAYyyiieeeeeeAAAIIIIIEEEE!!!" forced the poor guy to get dressed and trudge out to pick up a no-kill trap.

While we waited for him, I shouted instructions to Justin on the settings to finish the load of laundry from my trembling perch atop the table. Once Pat was home, he loaded up the trap with peanut butter, placed it in a "good spot" * and stumbled off to bed, shaking his head the whole time.

And then I cleaned the heck out of the family room. There was NO WAY I was letting that little guy get any ideas about venturing past the laundry room.** With 3 kids, there were plenty of surprises under the couch that a furry visitor might find interesting. Using tongs***, I picked up toys, socks, Cheerios and candy wrappers from under the couch and out of its cushions. My kids thought I was freaking hilarious at first;

"Hahahaha!! It's just a little MOUSE, Mommy! Why are you so freaked out?!?"

But as I continued with the ranting and raving over the crumbs and crud, they realized that I was SERIOUS. The younger two wisely put on their shoes and coats and ran out into the muddy backyard to escape my wrath. Justin remained inside and lent me moral support.

Once I had vacuumed every inch of our family room, I climbed BACK onto the table and told Justin to check the trap. Nothing. Not a critter. Damn. The day continued without any luck, and I somehow managed to do a flying leap past the laundry room door to the staircase so that we could go to bed.

"Can we sleep in your room tonight!??"

"YES. Yes you can. Right next to me, in fact." My plot, naturally, was to distract the mouse from nibbling on MY hair by surrounding myself with my children. They're juicier and smell like cookies, anyway... And people? I even locked the bedroom door. As if that would stop a mouse, smaller than a pink eraser, from entering my room. Sigh...

The drama continued when I woke the next morning. Justin volunteered to check the trap again.

"We caught him! We caught him!" He came running out of the laundry room HOLDING THE TRAP WITH THE MOUSE IN IT! I could even see its squirmy tail through the plastic!

"GET IT OUT! GET IT OUT!" Again with the screaming and darting from the room. It was decided**** that the mouse simply couldn't wait until Daddy got home from work. They HAD to let him go. So we all put on our shoes and coats and trudged to the field down the road. This is where I am grateful to have an 11 year old son. HE carried the trap and HE released it into the field (where it most likely became a meal for a hawk). When we got home, HE put more peanut butter into the trap and put it in the garage because I knew that that was where that critter came from. And, later on, when we caught TWO MORE MICE (bleerrcccghhhhh) HE brought them down to the field again to set them free. There definitely are advantages to this whole "pre-teen boy" thing. Not enough to offset the hormone fluctuations, but advantages, nonetheless...

After 2 days and no new rodents in a trap in either the garage or laundry room, I am able to cautiously reach my hand around the corner to grab a can of tomatoes off of the pantry shelves from the laundry room. No more laundry has been or will be done by me until I am 100% sure that it is SAFE to enter. Therefore, my darling children will be making the laundry room chain. I am looking at this as a life education experience. Everyone needs to know how to load the laundry, right?

* What's a good spot for a mouse trap? I wouldn't know because I never looked. I don't know that I WANT to know where a good spot is. I mean, that would mean that that location would be the most ideal for the mice to lurk within for future attacks, right?

** Yes, I KNOW that he most likely ran rampant through my entire home while I was asleep. I KNOW THIS and I am trying to be positive and not acknowledge it too often so that my little brain doesn't explode from the sheer ickiness of that thought. Be kind and help perpetuate my fantasy, won't you?

*** Can you imagine me using bare hands? What if he ran out and OVER MY HANDS?!? Hell no...

**** By the kids, not by me. I was all for the traps that snap the mice in half as a grisly example for any other rodents who might want to risk entry into my home....
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