We have a mouse in our house. This is not nearly as delightful as that rhyme implies.
Which, now that I’m considering it, is not entirely true. There’s at least a little delight. For all its faults, our uninvited guest is kind of adorable. When I first saw it peeking out at me, its itty-bitty head snooping around the partial wall that separates the dining and living rooms, his little black eyes gleaming in the yellow incandescent glow of the overhead light, whiskers twitching with curiosity, I felt a tinge of enchantment.
The feeling quickly subsided.
“There you are,” I said. Or something like it. There were definitely squinty eyes and shaky fists.
I was first alerted to our unwanted house guest when I pulled down on the in-ceiling attic door and was showered from above with what turned out to be tiny fecal grains.
“What is this?” I said, shaking the debris from my hair and clothes.
My wife entered, hunched to inspect the pellets on the ground, stood and announced, “That’s mouse poop.”
I searched the upper floor of our house – the place we store things we own but don’t want but also don’t not want because they carry enough sentimental currency and/or potential usefulness in extremely specific situations that we won’t just toss them in the trash. Think excess plastic hangers, luggage for trips we never take and Christmas decorations we rarely set up. Said search revealed plenty of excrement and our two mutant children chained up there, but no mice.
But then, just a few days later, I saw the little guy. By that point, I’d consulted the all-seeing, all-knowing Google and learned that mice eat through everything, poop poison and are prone to spreading exponentially.
He was cute, but he had to die.
I went scrambling after it, trying to catch it as it ducked below the broken grandfather clock, beneath the bed bench we use as extra seating in the dining room, and behind the cluttered shelves of board games and board game paraphernalia.
But I am large and slow, and a mouse is small and quick. I basically had no chance of catching it when it dashed out from behind the end table stacked with decade-old copies of Decibel Magazine, past the plastic tubs filled with Halloween decorations and into the kitchen, where we had inconveniently left a cabinet cracked open. Into it our unsolicited visitor ducked, squeezing between the Crock-Pot I rarely use and all that useless glassware the cousins and cousins-in-laws I didn’t realize I had gifted us on our wedding day. I removed every bit of this from the cabinet – every piece of dusty decorative crockery, each single-purpose cooking device – only to discover the roustabout rodent had vanished, slipping, I suppose, into the interdimensional space between the waffle maker and the stack of unopened Bundt pans.
I’ve spotted our house mouse once since that day. We repeated our chase with similar results, although this time the little guy vanished behind some shelves in the dining room. I really need to plug those dimensional gaps.
I suppose we may just have to learn to live with our cute but destructive tenant, at least until he or she accidentally wanders into one of the dozens of traps I’ve placed about the house, or one of my three lazy cats actually makes itself useful.
But, you know, if life isn’t about learning to barely tolerate those defecating all over everything you cherish while secretly plotting to murder them at the first chance you get, then I’ve been doing it all wrong.