It's more than a house. It's an adventure.

Friday, April 07, 2006

A mouse in the house!

So there I was sifting through email on ye olde computer, and I heard my wife calling from the other end of the house: "honey....can you come here a minute please?" I ambled out to the living room to find out what was up. She says "there's a mouse in here!"

A what???

As I came into the kitchen, I saw my lovely wife on the floor, restraining Jade while Juniper made a half-assed attempt at chasing a little grey ball with something hanging off the end of it. Yep, it's a mouse. "Get a pot or something!" So I grab my favorite soup vessel, a 2 1/2 cup CorelWare mug-like thing.

I tracked the sucker down to under a storage cart. Move the cart - he takes off for the living room. As do the cats. So now he's in there, and the cats are at least keeping him too scared to move away from the desk/sofa area. I send my lovely bride to the pantry to fetch some items to seal the room - just a couple planks across the doorways at floor level. But now...he's gone.

I started having flashbacks to when a chimpunk was brought into my parents' house, live, by one of our cats many years ago. I chased that thing around half the house for 45 minutes.

I moved some things around - coffee table, sofa, a desk chair - trying to track him down. He didn't appear under the sofa, which I thought for sure he had run to. Then, my wife saw the varmint hiding behind a leg of the desk.

I dove under the desk, just trying to intimidate him into staying put. It wouldn't last long. "Get me something to block him in with. Some books!" And books were fetched. I blocked him in - but couldn't get a hand in to nab the rodent.

Not that I'd want to. I was still bare-handed, and who knows what this thing's carrying. My heavy leather work gloves are outside, in the shed. So I sent her back to the pantry for my Mechanix gloves. I had her put them on my hands, one at a time. Then I slid a book back. He was still in there. I slid it further, reached in and...he bolted.

Right across the room and under my recliner. We dove to the floor - he was wedged under the tilt mechanism. I put a hand in to grab him by the tail, but as soon as my hand went in, I lost my line of sight. When my hand came out, it was empty, and he was missing again. We stood up and looked at Juniper, in the corner next to the chair. And right behind him...was our prey.

Moving quickly, I got the mug set down over the critter, and he was contained. It's far too heavy for a mouse to move. Now I've got some time to think. Just how am I going to get this thing out now? If I lift the cup in the slightest, he'll be on the loose again.

Flashing back to the chipmunk incident, I ran to the kitchen and picked up this week's Time Warner Digital Phone ad. Heavy card stock, yet thin enough to slide under the mug and contain the mouse.

Out to the front porch with this guy. I wanted to get him in my hand and really lob him a good 50 or 60 feet, get him well away from the house (I was in my pajamas and slippers, it's raining out, I wasn't going past the covered porch). Alas, he managed to escape to the flowerbed in front of the porch as soon as the cover was lifted, and he was gone into the night.

I need to stop here and thank my wife for handling this situation like a man (I admit, I'm a pig). No shreiking, no jumping on chairs.

So, how did this mouse get in the house? We can't be entirely sure at this point. She says that it got into the dining room by way of the kitchen, being chased by a cat. She also says she heard a cat food dish sliding across the pantry floor immediately before the chase happened. And Jade has been very intently studying one corner of the pantry ever since - not to mention acting very, very weird in that room over the past few days. The floor in the pantry isn't completely "sealed" against the baseboards - things have settled and shifted. So our guess right now is that it was in the crawlspace below, and found its way up. I had planned on sealing those gaps up. But now it's a priority. Some expanding foam shot in there, and then some quarter-round around the room to really seal things up.

I suppose I should have expected this, with spring arriving. I expected bugs, I expected spiders...but never mice.

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