A Mouse in the House

It started with cheese in the sink. Someone had left a few pieces of grated cheddar on that black rubbery piece that leads down to the disposal. The cheese was stuck, so I had to pull the rubber thing out of the disposal to clean it. This is a dangerous thing to do, not because of the sharp parts in the disposal but because the rubbery thing has a nasty underbelly that gets gunk stuck to it.

For this purpose, I have a toilet brush. Be assured the toilet brush has never been used in a toilet. But it’s the right size and shape for cleaning a disposal. I keep this brush under the sink in the kitchen. I reached to the back of the cabinet behind the trash can and grabbed the toilet brush. As I did so, I noticed stuff on the floor of the cabinet.

I typically find napkins that didn’t make it into the trash can and a variety of crumbs under the sink. But this time, I saw Oreo crumbs. That was odd because I haven’t bought Oreos in a while.

Or were they Oreo crumbs? My advice: if you have not bought Oreos and you see black crumbs in your cabinet, close the cabinet door. Go play the piano or put on your bathing suit and run in the sprinkler. Do anything else, but don’t think about the black crumbs because they were probably not crumbs.  They were probably left by an animal. These “crumbs” are more commonly known by their scientific name, rodentus poopus, or “mouse droppings.”

There was a mouse in our house.

This was not our first mouse infestation. The previous time occurred in 2018.  A few mornings in a row, my cat, Rory, crouched by the refrigerator and stared at the floor. Rory the Cat’s sense of smell is much better than yours and mine. Rory the Cat looked at me and said, “What is wrong with your nose? Don’t you smell the mouse under the fridge?”

There ensued a psychological battle between cat and mouse. The mouse was perfectly safe under the fridge. Rory the Cat could not get even a paw in the small space. But after three days of my cat staring at the space under the fridge, the mouse succumbed to the pressure.

The mouse shrieked, “I can’t take it anymore!” and ran out. The chase was on. Rory the Cat caught up to the mouse and snatched it up in his teeth. I was rooting for the mouse because the cat is well fed on a diet of cat-food-from-a-bag, so he didn’t need a mouse meal. Rory the Cat set the mouse down for a moment – maybe to adjust his grip? — and the mouse was off again.

The mouse was not my enemy, but we humans did not want to find part of a mouse in the house later on, so we got involved. We whacked the mouse with a golf club. The mouse lay very still. It’s hard to tell if a mouse is dead or merely stunned after you hit it with a five iron. My husband used a shovel to deposit the mouse in the backyard.  

Fast forward to June 2021. The current episode started three days ago when I found mouse droppings (not Oreo crumbs) under the sink.

Then last night at 10 p.m., I heard a ruckus in the den. Rory the Cat was dashing about in a corner behind a recliner.

“Oh, crap,” I said, not as an expletive but because I figured the cat had found the source of the droppings. Rory the Cat backed out from the space between the end table and the recliner with a mouse in his teeth. I yelled for my daughter because I knew she wouldn’t want to miss this drama. But once again, Rory the Cat dropped the mouse. The mouse scampered under the sofa where it was safe. I wanted to go to bed, so I put Rory the Cat in the garage and left the mouse alone.

My daughter and I went to bed. Our bedrooms are upstairs. The mouse was downstairs.

“It’s a good thing mice can’t climb stairs,” said my daughter.

“Yes, it is,” I said. It was unlikely the mouse would climb fourteen stairs and make its way into our bedrooms. Besides, I’m not afraid of mice.

That’s what I told myself as I stuffed bath towels into the crack at the bottom of my bedroom door.

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