Opinion

Is there a mouse in my house?

One morning a week ago, sounds of what I took to be a mouse scritching about under my pillow had me wide awake in seconds. A smash of my fist over the sound halted it. I wondered, “Could that really have been a mouse? Or was I dreaming?”

I have a farm kid’s aversion to the pink pawed little creatures who destroy far more than they eat, and I’ve never been comfortable knowing a mouse might be lurking somewhere in my home.

Years ago while living in a mobile home that had been damaged during a 900 mile move, my family battled mice so prevalent even the cat took refuge on the third shelf of the kids’ closet so she could rest for next day’s hunt.

But my current home is built on an impenetrable concrete block foundation with snug doors that are kept closed, and windows that are screened. Outside two dogs come alive at the hint of any moving alien.

How could a mouse have got into the house? Except now and then I had been throwing firewood into the basement. Could a mouse have ridden in on a block of birch?

That night reading in bed, I thought I heard rustling sounds on my closet floor. Or was the wind whipping dry leaves?

Next morning, my suspicions were confirmed when I found a mouse turd beside the brown sugar jar. A mini marauder had invaded my home.

Journaling as I sipped my coffee, unusual loud popping noises began under the coffeemaker. The sounds grew louder as though the counter was being hammered from underneath.

Gradually the sounds migrated to the corner shelves where I store frying pans, mixing bowls, and a tower of Ziploc containers.

I thumped my fist into the cupboard door. Peace. No activity ... for all of three minutes before renovations resumed.

I leaned over the counter listening. Definite sounds of something big. An eight inch rat? The possibility made me shiver.

Grabbing a flashlight, I peered between the frying pans and mixing bowls. Silence. No stirring. No headlight eyeballs.

I closed the cupboard door and all doors into the kitchen before noting the gap under each one. I blocked the gaps with rolled up mats. But owing to the generous space around the gas line supplying the range, a mouse could traverse along the back of all the cupboards yet remain out of sight.

Less than  three  minutes later, scuffling began a few feet over under the sink where I collect empty bread wrappers, and stuff plastic shopping bags in a two-foot-high plastic bulk bin phased out by Safeway.

In a frenzy, I tore out everything under the sink – bags, folded paper bags, plastic bin.

In the bottom of the bulk bin hidden under four plastic bags, a tiny dark blob ran a wild circle.

I carried the container to the slop sink and flooded two inches. A mouse  smaller than my little finger leaped up the sides.

More water and it might have leaped right out. I tried to pin it with a pickle jar. It fit safely in the bin’s square corner.

When the drenched rodent teetered on the rim of the jar I gripped one of its legs with pliers and dropped it into the swirling water of a flushing toilet.

Trying to return to journaling, I thought, “Suppose the little fellow didn’t drown but is clinging to the inside of the bowl waiting to leap out to dry linoleum?” I lifted the lid to check. He was gone.

Throughout the morning I found evidence he had been in the dish drainer, in another cupboard and on my bed, proving in one week like the Hank Snow song, he had been everywhere.

 

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