Friday, May 11, 2007

I know not these “early sixties sitcoms” of which you speak

On Monday, I was feeding Jack on the couch, watching some Gilmore Girls, and I spotted something out of the corner of my eye. I glanced over to the dining room, and what should I see but a mouse, casually walking along the baseboard behind the radiator, bold as brass. In the middle of the day! This mouse didn’t even have the common decency to be nocturnal.

I heroically refrained from screaming out loud into Jack’s ear. No, instead I just gasped and then got up to try to see where the mouse went so that I could catch it. Or, more accurately, try to catch it, but actually just to scream and flinch and let it get away.

Unfortunately, I lost a line of sight with the mouse for a second and it disappeared. Secretly relieved that I wouldn’t have to go through the charade of trying to catch it, I put Jack down in his crib and called The Husband in a panic. He did his best to reassure me and said he thought we had some mousetraps by the attic. We did not. So I was left wondering whether I should cancel my fun plans for the afternoon in order to buy mousetraps, or whether we would be OK without a mousetrap for a few hours. And that was when I saw the mouse again.

This time I did scream. And Jack cried. And the mouse ran. I screamed again and the mouse took up a position under the table by the window, and I began looking for a bucket or something to put over it and leave as a little present for The Husband. I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, “Oh, come on! Your big plan was to leave it trapped under a bucket for five hours until your husband got home?”

Well you know what I say to you? I say yes. Yes, that was my plan. Except you forgot about the part where I was also going to leave the house in the interim.

At any rate, by the time I got the bucket, the mouse was gone again. So I went to get Jack and try to soothe him, and of course I saw the mouse make a break for the linen closet and screamed into poor Jack’s ear and put him back down in the crib, scared to death that his mother had gone mad. And as much as I wanted to scoop up the baby and make a break for it, I couldn’t stomach the thought of that mouse having the run of the house, so I went to get the bucket again.

But then I looked at the bucket and realized that the likelihood of my actually trapping the mouse was next to nothing, what with the flinching and screaming and all, and I was suddenly struck with the memory of the time my father made me help him catch a bat.

I know what you’re thinking. You’ve just finished reading about how I completely fall to pieces when faced with a loose rodent, and you’re wondering why my dad thought I would be any help in catching a rodent that flies. I cannot answer that question. To this day, I wonder what my dad was thinking. Had he not met me before? My entire life I have been a pointer, as in, “There’s the bug! There it is! There! There!” I do not squish the bugs. Other people squish the bugs.

So when my dad handed me a tennis racket and told me to follow him to the room containing the bat, I can’t imagine what he thought I would do with it. It would appear that he thought I would use the tennis racket to hit the bat, but he must have known that I would be incapable of this. What I did do with the tennis racket was to use it as a shield for my head whenever the bat made any sort of motion that could be interpreted as possibly flying into my general vicinity. I may also have waved the tennis racket ineffectually at the air with my eyes closed a few times when the bat was safely across the room, but, trust me, I was no threat to that bat.

But what does this have to do with the vacuum and the mouse in my linen closet? Well, once my father managed to stun the bat with his own tennis racket he used the vacuum cleaner attachment to suck it up. I very distinctly remember the ssscchhhhhllloooommp sound as the bat disappeared into dusty oblivion. And what is a bat but a flying mouse? So I thought that, while there was no way I’d be able to stifle the flinching for long enough to trap the mouse under a bucket, I would be able to stick a vacuum cleaner attachment near it.

So I got the vacuum out, set up the attachments, plugged it in, and, with one finger on the “On” button, I opened the closet door.

No mouse. But I did find a giant hole in the wall.

I put in a call to the exterminator, and my neighbor, who was out in his backyard, kindly came over and set a trap for me in case the mouse came back while I was out. I figured the mouse was coming in through the giant hole, so a trap in the closet would be sure to catch him.

But that very night, while The Husband and I were watching Heroes, I heard a soft rustling sound behind the bookcase in the living room. THE LIVING ROOM. What kind of mouse walks around in the day and then hangs out in the living room? The food is in the kitchen! Fortunately, The Husband was home to catch the mouse this time, which he did by trapping it behind the other bookcase and then, on my suggestion, sucking it up with the vacuum cleaner. I heard the familiar ssscchhhhhlllooooommp that let me know the mouse was no longer a threat to me, and then I made him change the bag.

During this process, I stood on a chair.

Shut up.

Incidentally, you get extra super bonus points if you know how this post got its title.


Anonymous said...

The first thing I want to say is: "Bold as brass" is now my favorite saying. Better than yesterday's "tenterhooks" or whatever the other thousand things I've made fun of you for in the last several months.

Do you think the mouse died? I mean, did the journey up the hose kill him or do you think he suffocated in the bag of dust? Hmmmm. Either way, I think it was much better than the trap. Scchhlllooooooomp is so much nicer to hear than SNAP.

Anonymous said...

Delurking to say "AMEN". That is what I would have done. In fact, just the other night a spider the size of my head was watching tv with us and all I could do was point and my husband says, "Yes, it's a spider. What do you want me to do?" !?!?!?!?!?!?

As if there were any question about what that man should have done. Needless to say, the spider was killed by the husband and all was well again.

Anonymous said...

now I am going to have to google the title, because I *know* that I know the answer, but it's stuck in the back shelves of my mind. dusty shelves at that.

Pretty Momma said...

Ohhhh, a mouse on the house is not fun at all! We had a problem with mice for a while, and one night I saw one. Hubby put out the mousetraps and we waited. I wanted to wash the dishes in the kitchen -- the room where the mouse was last seen -- and I said to hubby, "if I wash the dishes here will the mouse come out and crawl on my feet?". "No!!" he said, and laughed at my ridiculousness. Feeling rather foolish, I started to wash the dishes and wouldn't you know that the mouse came out and RAN OVER MY FOOT! The scream was enough punishment to hubby for leading my astray and giving me false comfort.

I hope you never have a mouse in your house again. Me too.

Anonymous said...

The Dick Van Dyck Show?

Adam Golaski said...

M--took me more time than it should have to realize that your title was a reference to the venerable Guide and poor Slartybartfast. And just the other day I told a friend--in excrutiating, pointless detail--all about the whale and the bowl of petunias that thought: "Oh no, not again." --tennis pal A

Dr. Maureen said...

High School Tennis Partner: I was counting on you to recognize the quote. The Husband, by the by, thanks you for introducing me to the radio shows, because without you, I would have thought there were only books. Did you know they made 3 more? I have them if you want to borrow them sometime. Same cast, except for Peter Jones, because he died. And I think Trillian is different too.

Adam Golaski said...

I didn't know there were more radio shows--how wonderful. They still remain my favorite (and I think the original) incarnation of the story.

You two should rent the Doctor Who episode "City of Death" written by Douglas Adams. It's a great Dr. Who episode, and the special features on the DVD have a bit of good Adams stuff.

We're going cloth, too--nice to hear someone describe the process so matter-of-factly--most people call us fools and tell us we'll quit after the first diaper.