Monday, August 22, 2011


We have unwelcome guests in our house.

There is a mouse, at least one mouse--probably more--running about our living space these past 24 hours. And I mean something besides our usual live-in "mouse," Josefina. Real four legged furry things. Last night one bolted into the living room and another was spotted in the kitchen, setting the entire household into turmoil.

Children love mice in books and videos, talking mice all dressed up and dancing about. Real, wild, uncontrollable, shooting-across-the-floor mice are a different matter. They might crawl on someone. They're creepier than bugs and too big to squash (not that my kids deal very well with bugs, either). Arrrgh!

Like a flash, the bed in our room is suddenly covered with frightened children. Not even John Paul is particularly thrilled with the idea of mice. The truth is, Mommy and Daddy aren't very jazzed about it either. Bleeech. Traps. Disposal of their eventual contents. Errrgh! And nobody wants creepy things running around the house. (As for Teresa, she has been more stable in recent days. We are still working on her particular problems, but they don't seem to affect her reaction to a mouse, which is that of any regular eight year old.)

One person seems puzzled and not quite aware of what is going on. Josefina. "Can I see the mouse?" It's all kind of hazy and exciting for her. "Can we keep the mouse and play with it?" Josefina hasn't actually seen the real mouse. I don't know if she ever has seen one.

We've had mice in the house before. But it has been some years. The neighbor's outdoor cat has been keeping control over the mouse population for some time. But recently our neighbor gave the cat to her granddaughter. No more cat. Our address has once more become known to the mouse population as a safe place to hang out and maybe get lucky and raid a box of cheerios.

Last night was a strange night. A mouse snapped a trap but somehow escaped. Another trap was robbed of its peanut butter. Meanwhile there were a few extra squeamish human occupants in our queen sized bed. Nobody slept well. Everyone had nightmares about strange mouse-ish monsters invading the house.

Today everyone has gone about gingerly. We have assembled a whole arsenal of traps. Any rodent who sets foot in this house now faces nuclear war.

But we don't see or hear a peep.

Maybe they have day jobs.

Tonight I expect they'll be back, and we shall catch them. I'm a night owl, and I hope they don't wait until after I go to bed. Perhaps this is why owls are up at night.

At dinner time, I crept up behind Josefina and grabbed her and said, "I have the biggest mousetrap, because I want to catch the biggest mouse!"

"I'm not a mouse," she said.