Even though I enjoy summer, I’m a cold weather fan. By September, I’ve had about enough of high heat and humidity. When fall comes around, I usher it in with unmitigated glee.
Of course, like everything in life, nothing is perfect. As I prepare my house for the winter months, little field mice are packing their bags as well, in search of their winter home. My house, apparently, has a neon “Holiday Inn” sign with a perpetual flashing vacancy sign, beckoning mice from all over the town.
I know this is going to sound weird, but I’m torn about having them in my house. They carry diseases, get into our food, and leave disgusting mice poop in their wake. But like most moms, I read the children countless stories about adorable miniature mice families living peacefully with humans. And who could forget the movie about Fievel, the sweet mouse searching for his family, singing, “Somewhere out there”? Yet when they move in, I want them to move out - immediately.
Even after reading the stories about coexisting with tiny mice families, what is it about them that strikes fear into the hearts of women everywhere? I’ve found myself standing on stools and countertops, quivering as one scurries across my floor. What am I thinking; that they’ll morph into giant rat gladiators like something out of the Nutcracker Ballet?
Last year, as the weather turned cooler, I vowed that I wouldn’t leap onto the nearest chair, stool or countertop, quaking in fear at the first mouse sighting. I steeled my resolve that an itty bitty mouse wouldn’t turn me into a shivering mound of Jell-O. A loud, shrieking bowl of Jell-O.
Then, while alone in the kitchen, I saw the first mouse of the season skitter across my floor. Keeping in mind my vow to be fearless, I bravely screamed as I courageously ran from the room.
I knew that Mickey Mouse and I couldn’t share the same kitchen; and I wasn’t going anywhere.
Still remembering the stories of cute mice families, and not wanting to hurt the poor guy, I made Matt buy a humane trap; we placed peanut butter crackers inside. Unfortunately, our little Mickey thought we’d erected a four-star restaurant, which he frequented regularly. He came and went at his leisure because apparently, no one had told him that he wasn’t supposed to waltz in and out whenever the mood struck. When he didn’t like what was on the menu, he quickly found my pantry.
Finally, after a few weeks of me screaming (no matter how bravely), Matt finally made me make a choice – poison or a traditional trap. Since I couldn’t bear to think about the slow death poison would cause, I opted for the trap. Because life is funny that way, I was alone in the kitchen when I heard the loud thwack that signaled Mickey’s demise. I actually felt really bad for the little guy.
I couldn’t bring myself to go look. Instead, I went in search of a shoe box which I put on the counter with a note for Matt. I asked him to put our small vermin visitor, whose life I had ended, in the shoe box. Then I announced that the funeral was at 5 p.m.
Later that day, I made my family stand in the cold, rainy drizzle of twilight as we laid to rest the mouse that had invaded our house. I ignored their murmurs of being the only kids with a crazy mother, burying a pest in the back yard. I even said a few words. I figured I owed Mickey that much after being the one to hasten his departure from the earth.
For several weeks, all was quiet. I had just begun to relax while alone in the kitchen. Until a few days ago, when another mouse scampered across my floor.
And the dance begins again.
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