Wednesday, April 27, 2016

a game of cat and mouse

Most of the excitement in our house occurs before 9 am.

Take last Wednesday, for example. Brad left before the crack of dawn to meet with one of the hundreds (I do not think I'm exaggerating here) of people he meets with regularly, and two of four kids were awake to get food in their bellies before we took Brody to school at 8:30.

Brecken and Oaklee were just rubbing the sleep out of their eyes when Clementine came sauntering out into the kitchen to see the light of day. Brody loves to sleep in, so he missed all of the "excitement" that was about to ensue.

I left Oaklee in our master bedroom to play around while heading to the kitchen to get some food on the table. Brecken opened the back door in our kitchen to pee off the back deck. (I wish I could tell you this was not a regular occurrence, but this is one of the perks of living in the country, and "ability to pee off the back deck" will probably be on our list of needs if we ever go house hunting again.)

Seeing an opportunity with the door open, Banjo, our indoor-turned-outdoor-turned-"just live in the wild" cat, came barging in with something hairy in his mouth.

I took a closer look to confirm my suspicions...mouse. Banjo occasionally brings us these little "treats" and leaves them at our doorstep, but they usually don't make it past the threshold. This one was still alive, and I could see him kicking his freaky little legs as Banjo clenched him in his jaw.

Banjo was headed for our master bedroom where Oaklee was hanging out, practicing her speed-crawling and pulling up on everything she could reach.

(Here is where you need to start using your imagination to see this scene playing out at our house...)

I grabbed Banjo to stop him from making it to our bedroom with that rodent. When I picked him up he dropped the stinking limping mouse on the kitchen floor. It started hobbling away quickly for a wounded little thing, so I dropped Banjo back down so he could grab the mouse again, thus preventing me from needing to actually touch the thing with any part of my body. He performed just as I desired, but then he DARTED back to our bedroom with that thing in its mouth, headed for our closet where he likes to hide. (Hide from what? Just eight small hands that are constantly poking, prodding and pulling hair.)

I hope that, as you have imagined this little scene in your head, you have been imaging me with all of my squealing and screeching, along with Brecken and Clementine who had no idea what to think of this little rodent and their mom's ridiculous hopping around and squealing. I'm not saying I squealed and jumped around like a looney tune, but I'm not saying I didn't.

Banjo made it to the closet door with that thing, and when I caught up with him he must have been deciding where to hide. Oaklee was a few feet away, gawking and squealing happily because she loves to try to snuggle that cat. She actually tries to grab his hair, put her face in it, and then suck her thumb. What a weirdo. Regardless, it is unrequited love, as you can see from this picture:


I grabbed the cat in his moment of indecision, but he dropped that stinking mouse again. I wavered for a moment before deciding to get the cat outside and out of the picture. He was clearly no help to me. The mouse was limping around slowly in our closet, trying without success to climb my husband's shoes to find a hiding place. I glanced at Oaklee to see how close she was, knowing that she would try to snuggle that mouse if she could get her hands on it. (GROSSSSS.) Meanwhile, Banjo was clawing me and freaking out to get back to his mouse, and I had to make a quick decision, sprinting him to the backdoor to put him outside and then sprinting back ensure that Oaklee hadn't found a tiny new snuggle mate. This was my biggest concern in the whole ordeal: Do not let Oaklee snuggle that near-dead mouse. Well, it was my first big concern.

I removed Oaklee from the situation and shut the closet door to keep the mouse inside, then ran to the garage to find a box. I ran back to the closet, opened the door, and looked by my husband's shoes to find the mouse so I could trap it with the box and take it outside.

It wasn't there. This is the very worst thing, thus making it my second big concern. I began walking on my tiptoes around the closet (because of course this helps), looking for this nasty little thing that I didn't think could walk. Couldn't find it, even after shuffling everything on the floor around. (My closet was recently cleaned, by the way, due to the fact that we moved Oaklee in there to sleep at night. Yes, she sleeps in our closet. We have a room situation; maybe I'll explain that one later.)

So, I shut the door again and went back outside to get the cat to trap in the closet with the mouse. By this time, Brody was awake and wondering why I was out of breath. I threw the cat in, expecting him to be hot on the trail. He sniffed around near Brad's shoes, then sauntered to the back of the closet. I gave up on watching and instead shut the door, because by this time we were going to be late for school if we didn't get a move on.

I called Brad. He laughed, then told me that mice can squeeze through dime-sized holes, so it was probably under our bed. Nice.

Putting that thought out of my head, I quickly finished up the breakfast I had started before the spectacle and served it up while wondering how I was going to get ready with most of my clothes in that closet. (We did have a blackened pancake casualty, due to said spectacle.)

The five of us got ready as quickly as four tiny people and one freaked out adult can be expected to get ready. (I wore the clothes I had slept in, due to said spectacle.)

When we came back I truly expected the cat to have the mouse taken care of so that I could just box it up and take it out.

Instead, the cat was curled up, sleeping in Oaklee's bed. (GROSSS.)

I finally found that thing--dead--behind Brad's shoes about 30 minutes later. (A small wicked part of me ALMOST wished it had died inside his boot to repay him for laughing at my dilemma.) I scooped it into the box and took it outside, only to find it missing about 4 hours later with a few large holes in the top of the box lid.

If the mouse had, instead, been a snake, we would have just sold the house and moved. I'm not even joking.

(And who knows what was going through Clementine's head this whole time. She is not an animal lover, but she has seen things that are much more dirty than a field mouse inside a house, you know?)