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Nature’s moving in

Having recently endured an assault on my inner calm by a jolly band of skunks, it appears that the forces of nature have decided to press the issue. Friday evening, Emma (our extremely lovable cat) began to get interested in the goings on around the baseboard heater in the dining room. Initially I thought there was a housefly or mosquito tormenting her, and let her have her fun. But she persisted, and began running from one end of the heater to the other, looking into the vent, looking quite interested. I signaled to Brenda that something seemed to be going on, and she went to investigate while I chatted with my friend on the telephone.

Moments later, Brenda shot up with wide eyes, exactly in the manner she had done the previous week when she identified the source of the rustling in the bushes. Not good. “What is it?”, I asked, naturally fearing the worst—alligators. Turns out it was not alligators. But a single reddish American Field Mouse had somehow made his way into our abode and was now serving as live entertainment for our cat. “Uh, I gotta go”, I told my friend.

Armed with my trusty flashlight, I cast the uninvited guest in a whitish glow. He looked at me, while Emma kept her eyes on him. His look clearly said “hey, I have no idea how I got here, and I’m just as unhappy about this situation as you are”. I went to get my trapping kit. My trapping kit consisted of a Glad tupperware bowl, barely larger than our guest was, and a piece of cardboard that I figured I’d slide under the bowl once I had trapped the little bugger. It was as good a plan as any, especially since it was Friday night and I’d already had a couple of beers.

The next ten minutes went like this:

  1. shine flashlight at rodent
  2. prod rodent with long stick
  3. watch rodent scamper along heater to other end, while wife writhes and makes noises. Come to think of it, husband was writhing and making similar noises.
  4. go to other end of heater, and repeat step one.

I’d had enough. OK, that’s it, this guy’s outta here. I pulled the cover off the heater, and Mickey Mouse made a getaway dash for the living room, with Emma in hot pursuit, and, with my Glad tupperware bowl and cardboard, I was Emma’s wingman. We cornered the beast by the bookcase, and his little bug-eyes looked ready to burst. He was breathing heavily & rapidly, and looked plum tuckered out. The time was now. I lunged for him with my bowl. I missed. He was a small target, but then again the bowl was small too, and don’t forget I’d had a few brews by now. But Mickey Mouse suddenly got a burst of energy, and headed for the stairs to the basement. I didn’t see it, but Brenda saw Mickey’s Great Escape move in realtime. There are thirteen steps down to the basement, but apparently our guest did a Superman imitation, sailing from the living room level straight down to the basement without making any stops along the way. Wow. You gotta admire his spunk.

Brenda, Emma and I all formed a search party in the basement, uprooting the sofabed, peering behind the bathroom door, opening cabinets, but no joy. Mickey had eluded us. I decided it was bedtime, since the bedroom is two whole levels above the last known whereabouts of the elusive Mickey Mouse.

The next day, I bought two mousetraps from Home Depot and set them in the basement. So far, they remain empty. Did he get out the way he came in? Brenda said she saw a couple of mice dashing about in the backyard in the days since this event. So, clearly they are reinforcing the troops. The skunks and the mice and the mosquitoes all know it: there’s a city boy in the end unit and he’s pretty slow with the tupperware. The cat watches you like you’re a television show. Come on in, and have a look around.

I’m telling you, I need a flamethrower.