Monday, August 29, 2005

Did I mention the mouse?

Oh, and about 10 days ago, a mouse ran across Mary's foot as she was nursing Kasia to sleep, with predictable results. Not having seen the mouse myself , I'm afraid my reaction was somewhat ineffectual: I got a soup bowl in which to capture it and stared intently at baseboards. "You've never actually seen a mouse, have you?" my wife asked. Well, no, I've never had to deal with this problem before. This went on for several days, and then yesterday, I saw the mouse (well, a mouse) leaving via the backdoor. It was huge. I mean, I could no more have captured it in a soup bowl than Godzilla. So I switched to one of those giant salad mixing bowls.

Mary was not impressed. She did not share my optimism that since I had seen a mouse leaving, that the problem was solved. She pointed out that the mouse I had described was the wrong color, and that there was no reason to assume that we were dealing with a lone mouse. In any event, when I came down this morning, the back door had been left wide open all night (a problem with the latch, so yet another required repair) so no doubt any number of addtional mice could have wandered in. Sure enough, a/the mouse ran across the floor in front of Mary again this evening, and I was directed to go to Home Depot and buy mouse traps. I am extremely squeamish about hurting fellow mammals, and protested that traps were inhumane. Mary, grumbling about people who can't kill mice but have no problem eating steak and porkchops at the same sitting, got out Tigana's butterfly net and started stalking the mouse for a capture and release program. She complained that everything she'd read said that if you released the mice too close to the house they would just come back the next day. I suggested that we take it with us on our trip to Kananaskis and relase it there, where it could never find us. She gave me one of those "is it time to have him committed already?" looks, until I explained that if it got loose in the hotel,we could call the manager, and maybe they'd comp our room.

In the end, it became obvious that capture and release was unrealistic, since we were not doing so well with the 'capture' portion of the program. (Particularly annoying here was the sighting of the mouse walking past the dogs, whose only reaction was to move so as not to be in the mouse's way.) So Mary set out a couple of traps, on the understanding that I woull retrieve these when Kasia first wakes (around 5:AM), before our toddler can be allowed to wander down stairs, lest we hear a 'snap' followed by howls of pain; and to avoid too many penetrating questions from our vegan 7 year old (Lisa Simpson having nothing on Tigana). About an hour later, the first trap had caught a mouse. Mary took one look and said, "Okay, now I feel guilty." This one looked much smaller than the one I had seen earlier, and may or may not be the same one that has been driving Mary crazy, since they probably look much bigger when in motion. But darn it looked cute. No wonder there are some may storybooks featuring mice. But not so many with the dead mouse in the trap illustration. I keep thinking of the Gaham Wilson cartoon with a certain hollywood mouse caught dead with suit and brief case in a giant mouse trap.

And the boiler is still not fixed -- though they are supposedly coming to finish tomorrow, along with the locksmith for the doors.

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