Mouse story

I was sitting at the breakfast table yesterday, minding my own business, quietly working on my laptop. The dogs napped in their crate, and the cat was hiding out in another room. The TV was off, and the only sounds were the white noise of the outdoors coming in through the open windows and the light tapping of keys as I typed some email replies. Deep in thought, I looked up, my vision shifting focus into the living room. In that very moment, I saw something out of the corner of my eye -- a faster-than-lightning streak of blackness that ran low to the ground from the sofa to the chair, not far from the dog crate.

What was that?!! I thought to myself, and that brainwave was accompanied by a weird, creepy feeling. Immediately, I fired off an instant message to Sandy: OMG!!! I THINK WE HAVE A MOUSE IN THE HOUSE!!! OK, it wasn't all in caps, but I really was shouting.

Just a short time later, I saw "it" again . . . a black shadow dashing from the chair back towards the sofa. By now, I'm feeling pretty freaked out. Not because maybe WE HAVE A MOUSE IN THE HOUSE (and I'm beginning to feel a little Dr. Seuss-like), but because I can't see "it" clearly and I don't know where "it" is. Therefore, I don't know for sure what "it" is. I went out to the garage, looking for something, anything, but for some reason I brought back a broom. Like a madwoman, I brushed all around the sofa. Why, I have no idea, because if something would have come out from under the couch it would have freaked me out even more. But I guess I felt like I had to do something.

Then for some reason, I started thinking about Misha, the cat. "MISHA!" I shouted, and ran through the house looking for her. She was on one of the beds, and she looked up at me as if I'd shaken her awake from a nice dream about . . . chasing mice. "MISHA!" I yelled. "GET OFF YOUR FAT A$$ AND COME HELP ME FIND THIS MOUSE!!! EARN YOUR KEEP, YOU LAZY FELINE!!!" She just looked at me as if I was a big bother, then put her head back down on the mattress and closed her eyes.

Slowly, I calmed down and went back to work. I couldn't stop looking out into the living room after that, but I saw no more black shadows for the rest of the day. Still, I felt an uneasiness. I avoided getting too close to the chair or the sofa, and my mind began to wander. I'd always heard that where there's one mouse, there are several . . . the phrase "a nest of mice" came to mind, and the creepy feeling intensified.

But I could find no signs -- no mouse droppings or mysterious holes in food packages or anything. There were no "smells" or anything. But what about that morning back during the winter when I woke up in the middle of the night hearing light squeaky sounds? OMG!!! WE HAVE A MOUSE IN THE HOUSE!!! I couldn't stop thinking about it.

I asked Sandy to stop by the hardware store to get some mouse traps, and she brought home a couple of these really modern-looking white plastic thingies. You put peanut butter in them, set them, and put them out. It's kind of a Roach Motel concept, but for mice. We rigged them last night and set one behind the sofa and another behind the TV cabinet, and that was that.

I dreamed about mice last night. I dreamed that we turned the chair and sofa upside down, and they were both encrusted (sorry, but that's the word that comes to mind) with mice nests, and it was all gross and disgusting, and I wondered how on Earth we'd been living like this for so long without knowing that we were harboring mice. Ew.

Of course, the first thing I wanted to do when I got up this morning was to check the traps. The one behind the sofa was untouched, but the one behind the TV cabinet had been tripped. I picked it up. It seemed slightly heavier than the untouched one, but . . . suddenly I saw it. Tiny, tiny "fingers" covered by grey fur. IT WAS THE MOUSE THAT HAD BEEN IN OUR HOUSE. It was not moving.

I started crying, realizing that we had killed another living creature. OK, some of you will be going: "Yeah, right" -- but really, I have an inner Buddhist in me. For example, I've always been the type that doesn't kill house spiders . . . I just put them on a piece of paper and then throw them outside. So yeah, I shed a few tears. Until Sandy explained that the mouse wasn't actually murdered: It committed suicide! After all, no one forced the mouse into the trap! It went in of its own accord. Thank you, Sandy, for always putting things in perspective.

Just in case there was something to my dreams, we turned over the chair and sofa. No nests. And there's been no other sign of mouse activity, so I think our mouse must have just come in from the garage or the back porch. After all, we've had the doors open quite a bit lately, since the weather's been so good.

I think it's safe here now. I hope so, anyway.

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