Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Life on the Farm: House Mouse

Last Monday, I made leftover barbecued beef ribs into sandwiches for lunch.

The ‘wiches were very saucy – so, after finishing mine, I headed down the hall to wash my face and hands. That’s when I saw it.

Actually, I saw them – the larger cat blocking the doorway to the bathroom, the smaller laying on top of the bathmat, which had somehow gotten folded over.

“Oh, kitty”, I said.

“What have you got there?”

I was expecting to see the odd bit of crumpled paper – which I am 100% guilty of tossing about the house so that they can chase crunchy noisy tumbling things. Fun to watch.

I lifted the mat, thinking I’d pick up a wadded grocery bill or a candy wrapper.

But, it wasn’t paper or anything else from the tree family, like a dried leaf or a bit of stick that had errantly blown into the garage over the weekend.

It was a silvery mouse.

Hantavirus, rabies, fleas!

I screamed and ran from the bathroom, elbows tucked into my sides, glad hands waving wildly like a little T-Rex.

“What are you doing,” said my husband Dan – and you have to imagine an irritated roll-your-eyes tone, here.

I barely managed to get it out.

“There, over there —the-- cats.”

He gave a casual look from his seat at the dining room table, “The cats are fine.”

“No, no, I think it’s still alive –there -- in the – bathmat!”

He finished his sandwich, put his plate on the counter, and went into the bathroom.

“What do you know,” he says, “I think it is alive.”

“Shut the door! It’s going to get out!”

And then: “Kill it!”

“What do I kill it with?” he said.

“A shoe, kill it with your shoe.”

“I’m not wearing shoes”

(Me) “Kill it, kill it!”

He grabbed a shoe from the utility room, went in, and closed the door to the bathroom. Thump, thump.

Was that my shoe?

Then, I thought. ‘It’s over’. Deep breaths, in-out in-out. It’s going to be all right.

He exited the bathroom and started walking to the living room

“The mouse, where’s the mouse?” I said.

“I flushed it.”

“What? Are you kidding?”

“It’s not going to swim back up and bite you, you know.”

(Pinwheeling hands to get that thought away far from me, and screaming on the inside.) ‘Aaaagh! OMG!’

Then another thought.

“Wait, what about the bathmat?”

“What? It looks fine.”

No. No. I said, ‘”If a cat had snagged you by the skin, dragged you into a house, and brought you within an inch of death – wouldn’t you piss yourself?”

“Well, yes,” he replied (with revelatory introspection). “I think I would.”

The bathmat is going through the clothes washer as we speak. It’ll take a second trip, make no mistake, and then - only then - if I can get past this incident, will it go back on the floor where it belongs.

Or be burned in the backyard. Lovely fire makes everything clean again.