So we’re currently riding one of the peaks of this rollercoaster ride. The girl is relatively well, her blood sugars within readable limits. I’ve upped her pain medication, so both of us have the chance to breathe. Now I can concentrate on other things in my life. Like writing, publishing my book, THE CANDIDATE’S DAUGHTER, through Amazon and Smashwords. Learning to format and edit to within an inch of my sanity. The mouse.
That’s right – THE MOUSE!
We had mice before. I hate it. They leave little black currents in the cupboards and pile up stashes of dog biscuits behind the fridge. I thought I’d dealt with it. Three weeks ago, the dog chased a mouse into the bathroom. It scaled a towel hanging over the bath and I found a tiny, frightened body hunched into the plug hole. I dealt with it swiftly and surely, then went back to my life.
A short while later, I was pulling into the driveway, and what do I see? A mouse on the grass outside my house. It scampered and scuttled and boinged its way up the grass then headed toward the neighbour’s place. I smiled and drove into the garage. Incredibly, the same thing happened two days later – mouse, scamper, scamper, boing, boing! Except this time to the other neighbour. I’m like, “Wow! How often do you see that?” Ignoring the tiny voice in my head that’s asking exactly how many mice there are that I can’t see.
Next thing I know – yes, we’ve got another mouse. There’s poo in the cupboard and chomping noises emanating from behind the fridge. I pulled out the fridge, gouging the wood floor, and sure enough, dog biscuits. I cleaned them out. And worried.
I told my neighbour I’d have to use poison.
“You cannot poison them,” she said. “It’s cruel. Get a trap. That’s what we did.”
So I go down to Bunnings Hardware Store where the guy in the pest eradication section tells me, “Yes, a trap is the best way. These days they’re so quick, the mouse won’t know what hit it.”
I bring the trap home, test it. The spring is hair-trigger. Hair-trigger! You only need to look at the thing and it snaps shut with the force of a tiny guillotine.
The traps sits on the kitchen counter for almost a week. Finally, after finding mouse crap in the cupboard for the umpteenth time, I know I have to do something. As instructed, I put peanut butter in the little bowl of the trap, pull out the fridge again (gouging the floor in the process), and set the trap.
The next day, I grab the fridge and gently pull it out (scoring the floor yet again). Sure enough, no frikkin’ peanut butter, and the trap is still set.
“Oh, hair-trigger, is it? Traps are best, are they?” I’m muttering as I shove the fridge back in.
Now I don’t know what to do. The peanut butter clearly didn’t work. And now the mouse is skipping across the living room floor going hither and yon while I watch TV. The dog no longer cares. He knows the mouse is smarter, faster – probably stronger than he is. And he hates the dog biscuits anyway.
I leave the trap behind the fridge. I’ve got far more important things to consider. Most pressing of which is that I’ve got my grief counsellor arriving at 9 am. I’m tearing around, dressing and toileting The Girl, trying to do the dishes, and the washing and apply my makeup all at once (and failing miserably), when WHACK!
I look to the fridge. The dog also looks, then scuttles across. Next thing…
The squeaking and clattering goes on and on. I latch onto the fridge with a hand either side, and pull it out, gouging the floor for the millionth time and muttering, “It’ll never know what hit it,” in one of those wheedling childish voices. I get the fridge out, and sure enough, sitting there with its spindly little foot stuck in the trap, is the mouse. It’s got fire in its eyes, and its ready for the fight of its life. From the corner of my eye, I see another tiny shape dart out the door. It’s probably a second, opting to live and fight another day.
Friggin hell, how many are there!
The mouse is now leaping and thrashing around and the trap is crashing against the floor, the walls, the fridge, the mouse (although that’s not really making any noise). With all the clattering and squeaking, I can hardly think. I’m standing there with my hands clasped to my chest and my lips sucked in. I have to do something, and I have to do it now.
I race to the cupboard and get a Tupperware cup…No, too small…a mixing bowl…too wide…a pasta container. Perfect.
The mouse is watching me. It’s eyes are narrowed and its expression is grim, yet determined. In one swift movement, I lunge, scooping up mouse, trap, and a handful of dog biscuits in one go. The mouse leaps and rattles and hops inside the container. With all the urgency of the Westpac Helicopter rescue team, I burst from the back door and run up the back yard to the feijoa tree.
“Quit jumping,” I’m yelling at the thing. When I go to stick my hand in, the mouse leaps at it. “You bite me, it’ll be the last thing you ever do,” I warn it.
Finally, I lift the spring with the tip of my finger and the mouse slithers from the container and into the bushes. Which is where the one from the bathplug went. It’s probably the same bloody mouse. It probably beat me back to the house.
Almost as if the scene has been staged, my grief counsellor arrives. She advises me that opening the door with my hand on my chest and the word, “Tragedy” on my lips possibly isn’t the ideal way to greet a grief counsellor. But she’s a doll and she fully understands.
I wish these damned mice wouldn’t come in. If I thought I could knock them off peacefully, I’d be grinding up handfuls of Valium and leaving out tiny saucers of gin. But they’re not that easily fooled. They’re not about to pack up to move to a nicer neighbourhood. There’s been a population explosion over the summer and there’s approximately sixteen zillion waiting in the wings.
But it’s given me something else to think about. When you live in an isolated world where you expect the worst, any diversion is a blessing. Until more currents appear in the cupboards, that is. Which will probably happen before I’ve finished writing this.