It was about 4:30 a.m. I was sitting at the dining room table with my laptop, coffee by my side, working bleary-eyed toward a deadline that was fast approaching. The house was filled with a serene stillness, punctuated only by the gentle click-clacking of my fingertips on my keyboard.
I stopped typing to reflect. Then I heard the slight jingle of my dog’s tags as she raised her head from her slumber. She sensed something. “What is it, Spirit?” I asked. Then I heard it too:
It was coming from within one of the dining room walls.
I know that sound. It means one thing: We have a mouse in our house!
Having mice in our house is an Event. It starts with my husband, and now our 5-year-old daughter, constructing a contraption like this:
Then we set out special traps that capture the mice but doesn’t hurt them in any way. Once we catch a mouse in one of these traps, we release them into the fancy contraption above (Mouse Mansion?), let them live in there for a while, and then we drive the mouse out to a wooded area away from our house, where we release the mouse into the wild.
In the past, if we caught the mouse in the winter, we would keep it in our Mouse Mansion until springtime, when we would release it. (One time we had over 20 mice living in Mouse Mansion over the winter!) If we caught the mouse in the spring, summer, or fall, we would release it right away, and skip the whole Mouse Mansion step. But our daughter was SO KEEN on catching a mouse that we thought we would keep it for a while this time once we caught it.
So after my 4:30 a.m. mouse detection, we set out some traps. A few days passed. Much to my daughter’s disappointment, they were empty each morning when we checked them.
Then my daughter happened to sleep in today. My husband went up to her room, knelt down by her bedside, and gently shook her shoulder. He whispered, “Sweetie? Sweetie, wake up.”
She opened her eyes groggily, still half asleep.
“Sweetie, we caught a mouse!”
She was out of bed like a shot.
The transfer from trap to Mouse Mansion went smoothly. My daughter helped place mouse treats at various points in the tunnels. The mouse stared bulgy-eyed back at us, like this:
Despite a few hiding spots that my daughter had constructed in the Mansion, the mouse remained out in clear view. It even started to travel along the tunnels:
“What shall we name it?” I asked.
We couldn’t decide. My suggestion of Pickle Juice didn’t go over very well.
Soon it was time for the kids to head off to summer day camp. Me having the day off, I promised to keep an eye on He-Who-Has-Not-Been-Named.
Now that the sets of peering eyes have left the house, the mouse is asleep. Hopefully the little guy isn’t too stressed. And is that the only mouse that was in our walls?