Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Game of Cat and Mouse - Literally

It’s 4 a.m. Do you know where your cat is?

I can tell you where ours was. She was holding a mouse hostage. In our daughter’s room.

Around midnight about a week ago, College Kid stood in our bedroom, rattling her father awake. “Dad. Dad. Sophie brought a mouse into my room.”

Seriously??

Surprisingly, she was somewhat calm and yet clearly adamant that he would be assisting her in this particular endeavor.

We kind of knew this might happen because the dang cat had been sitting in the kitchen for a few days staring at the stove. Being that she is not usually into the culinary arts, we surmised that there had been a security breach by some critter, and she was merely anticipating playtime.

As for coming to her dad for assistance, let me explain something about my spouse. He is not the guy you necessarily want coming to your rescue when it involves live things crawling around your house. He is the guy who - instead of getting a jar to capture a giant creepy crawly fuzzy speedy spider – will attempt to convince the thing to jump into his hand so it can be carried outside to safety.

Safety? I’ll give you safety. Where’s my slipper?? Because you know this ends badly 9 out of 10 times, and then not only is the creepy crawly thing free somewhere in your bedroom – it is free with a vengeance. Now you have to live in fear that you will wake up with its tentacles up your nose, or worry about that funky sensation in your ear.  Yeah… I don’t do creepy crawly well.

So back to the mouse, whose hiding place was not to be revealed that night a week ago. Her dad poked and prodded various items under the kid’s bed, but to be fair, at the time her room was still in what-the-heck-exploded-in-here mode from her return from college. He was risking his own life by treading carefully between the door and the bed. That mouse had more places to hide than there are crevices in Carlsbad Caverns.

I am still shocked that College Kid was even remotely willing to still sleep in her room that night, considering we all know how the creepy crawly story could wind up. She did do a total revamp of her room the next day, even moving the bed to a more central spot. You have to know that with every item she lifted, she was anticipating something jumping out. It didn’t happen. Was the mouse still in her room? Was it still alive? Do we wait for the stench of a carcass to permeate the house? Why did the stupid cat have to get bored with this game after she unceremoniously dumped a live creature in there??

We figured if it was alive, eventually the mouse was going to get hungry, and weak from being hungry – which is to say – slow. We were right about that... we just neglected to think about what a mouse would consider the best hour of the day to venture out. Umm... when it's dark and quiet, maybe? He (or she – who the heck knows) chose to stick his tiny little neck out at 4 in the morning, and being hungry and weak, he was apparently not quiet enough about it.

Sophie pounced. The mouse bolted under something on College Kid’s floor by the closet. I’m not exactly sure what it was, but it sort of looked like a school project she had saved that consisted of either a Frisbee or a paper plate with sequins and feathers. I have no idea  - it was 4 a.m. – I could have been dreaming that part.

The only reason I was even awake at that time was because I heard what can only be described as a ruckus – which turned out to be the kid chasing the cat chasing the mouse. Of course I had to investigate… mainly because the light was on in her room and I had some typical Mom statement ready to make along the lines of “Did you stay up all night???” Guess I’ll have to save it for a non-vermin-generated moment.

So there was the mouse hiding under this paper plate thing (I should go back in there and see what it actually was) which College Kid – armed with an empty Jif jar (there is always an empty Jif jar in this house) – was hovering over in the hope that this thing was just slow enough to catch.

Hah.

It managed to slip into her closet, which – again – is not a safe place for man or beast. Now I had a new job… find a shoebox to trap the little bugger, since the jar wasn’t going to cut it.

Do you know what the hardest thing to find is when you are looking through the 17 shoeboxes you have stashed under beds, in closets, and on top of shelves? A shoebox with a removable lid. Think about it. The new thing is to have the lid attached to the box. How does this help me? And what about all those class projects kids need shoeboxes for? Doesn’t the shoebox industry know they are possibly affecting the grades of middle schoolers around the world?

I finally found one from 1987, I think. By now, as you can imagine, I was making little attempt to be quiet (and even if I had been, the shotgun cracks from my knees as I knelt to look under the bed for shoeboxes would have woken the dead), which meant the Spouse was up and wondering What Was Going On???  I handed him the 1987 shoebox and he delivered it to the mouse’s room. I mean – the kid’s room.

Moments later College Kid – who wasn’t going to let her dad even think about catching it with his bare hands – had the mouse not-too-happily ensconced in its temporary home. The good thing about the Spouse being wake was that he didn’t mind slipping his pretend Crocs on and releasing the mouse outside.

By 4:30 a.m. or so it was all over and we crawled back into bed, finally mouseless – at least for the moment.

At 4:50 a.m. the alarm went off.

I just really wish our cat would stop giving me blog material.


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