Oct 29, 2012

All Creatures Big and Small and Evolution of Empathy

There are some lovely perks to changing from summer to autumn every year. Leaves changing color, after moving inside the house, the flies finally die and stop buzzing around in every room, and then there are the mice. They seek a more temperate climate. That would typically mean either my garage or my house.

As a general rule, I like fuzzy creatures. I even like feathered creatures. I'm not crazy about scaly creatures. I know I complain about my dog but she's a pretty good animal, as a rule. This is particularly true since she has been exposed to the shock collar. The cat brings comfort to the children when they are upset but lately she's been lurking on the kitchen counter like vulture waiting for road kill to die. This is typically my first clue to the possibility that we have a mouse in the house.

I feel no  love for mice. They seem to serve no purpose. They aren't even cute. They are useless and I place them in the category of ferrets, flies, and David Hasselfhoff. However, the latter had his moment when he was a sidekick for a car named Kit. I also have had some unpleasant experiences with the smallest of the furry creatures. I won't recount because they are told somewhere in other posts, but I will summarize:

  1. Me, 7 months pregnant with Jaxon. Samantha, 7 years old, calmly waiting for me to hang up the telephone since I chewed her out for interrupting me, finally explained that Ginger, the cat, had a mouse in the girls' room and it was a real one. Me, chasing the cat with the mouse around with a cookie tin, trying to trap the mouse unsuccessfully. Me, grabbing the cat by the scruff of her neck in an attempt to carry her while she is carrying the mouse out the door which she could not accomplish. She kept dropping the thing, causing me to drop her and scream at her, "Getitgetitgetitgetit!" I was barely much help, being so large I couldn't even see my toes, let alone touch them. Standing up from crouching position involved a lot of grunting. The mouse disappeared downstairs in the unfinished basement. I watched it squeeze beneath the drywall. Those things can really flatten out. And live.
  2.  6:30 a.m. The cat brings me her newest prize. No longer pregnant, four children and one husband asleep. Again, trying to catch the mouse/cat to throw them outside. Trying not to scream as I repeat the mantra, "Getitgetitgetitgetit!" to the cat. Success.
  3.  Repeat the following morning. The mouse was stupid enough to return where I somehow captured the mouse and threw the cat outside with it. In case you are missing the pattern, I am losing my sympathy for the smallest of the furry creatures. They are truly too stupid to live.
  4. Sitting at the kitchen table, talking to Alyssa who is, by now, a full grown teenager. She's sitting across from me on a stool. We hear the caterwauling of the cat outside. I open the door and call to her. She talks to me from the grass then darts in. In my peripheral vision I notice a tail drooping from her mouth. Being a responsible parent, I refused to look at said mouse but looked at my daughter instead and asked, "Is it dead?" She assured me it was. Nevertheless, Ginger the cat insisted on dropping it and batting it around the legs of the chairs and table. I ran to get a dustpan and broom only to return to experience my strong vasovagal response. I started to gag but pushed onward until my responsible teenager took over, scooped up the mouse, tossed it outside with the cat. I poured 409 and bleach all over the hardwood, still gagging.

More recently, the cat is watching from the counter like a vulture. I keep pushing her off the counter. It's gross to have a cat on the counter. Then one early evening she started making that caterwauling sound. I was in another room. I heard one of the children trying to quiet her. Another child suddenly yelled, "She has a mouse!" Mayhem ensued in the dining area. I stood up from where I was folding clothes in my bedroom and closed my door.

Go ahead. Judge me. I know you want you.

The cat took the live toy downstairs. Scott followed only to pass Ginger coming back upstairs without the mouse. A child came in to my room, panicked. I told her to close the bedroom doors. Like that would help. Refer to how mice flatten themselves. Scott threw the cat back downstairs and closed the door. Child came running to me to tell me Ginger was killing a mouse. I told said child to let her finish. Previous attempts to save mouse have proved unsuccessful.

Two hours later, the deed was done. She left the liver and a little bit of blood on the freshly and professionally cleaned carpet. Murphy's law. We should have known it was coming.

Early last week my oldest son informed us that he saw a mouse in the garage. Scott went out to check. He counted three distinct mice. We surmised that that would only be a fraction of them. He bought traps and poison. His fingers are bruised from the sheer number and force of the traps tripping on them while setting them. So far he has emptied them 4 times.

Still, Ginger sits on the counter, watching with pupils dilated. This morning I got up to a kitchen in complete disarray. Scott was cleaning out drawers. Mouse poo in the kitchen towels, hot pads, saran wrap drawers. More in the silverware, serving ware, and knife drawers.

He's a good man, that husband of mine.

I continued past him to sit comfortably and read the Sunday paper. I felt somewhat vindicated with a small article on "The Hoff." It's sign. Of what, I don't know. But it's a sign.


CountessLaurie said...

I love you. At least your cat can catch them. My two are too slow. Someday, I'll tell you about the time a dead mouse was stuck to my laptop. Yeah, it wasn't pretty....

Klin said...

A long time ago, my mom sucked up a mouse in the vacuum. She asked my then 7 year old brother to come take it out and he replied, "Hey, the Fonz don't take mouses out of the vacuum."

True story.

Rachel said...

I laughed and laughed and laughed through this post (no judging... I'm just not afraid of mice). And then I got to Klin's comment and it nearly pushed my bladder over the edge.

Y'all are a hoot and a holler. (Rather furry hoots and hollers, though :)