Everyone and their mother has a rodent problem.
I knew by the way my daughter came thumping urgently up the stairs that something gross had happened in our basement.
“There’s a mouse in the trap!” she cried.
“Okay. I’ll get it in a – ”
“It’s still alive. The trap is moving across the floor!”
In that case, we need to burn the house down, I thought. But we’re already late, so I will pretend this is not happening and deal with it tonight.
Eight hours later, I trudged down in my heels with a shovel. I didn’t know what to expect. A dead mouse? Mouse parts? An annoyed mouse demanding a drink and an aspirin?
It was indeed dead, with the trap flipped neatly over most of its body. But as I moved closer, something looked weird.
About a foot from the trap, a fuzzy, quarter-sized baby mouse sat patiently waiting for his mama to wake up.
“Please be joking,” I said, to the universe.
My other daughter piped from behind me, “Awwww, it’s a baby!" Then she yelled for her sister to C’MERE, IT’S A BABY, AWWW! Now I had an audience. So much for bashing it with the shovel.
Its eyes were barely open. It didn’t even know enough to run away from us. It just sat there wearing a piece of nest fuzz on its head like a little party hat. The kids gushed about how cuuuuute it was until they started to put the grisly pieces together.
“Was that its mom?”
“We killed its mom!”
“Its mom pooped in our kitchen drawer.”
“But what will happen to it?”
Things were getting heavy, what with a corpse in the corner and an abandoned baby looking all needy and sad.
So I humored the kids while they made elaborate rescue plans. These included enlisting our guinea pig as a foster mom, leaving a trail of cheese out through the bulkhead, and putting the mouse in our travel pet cage, which we actually tried for 30 seconds, but it ended with me screaming NO! NO! and shaking the thing off the sides of the cage as it tried to escape through the holes.
In the end, we scooped it up in a plastic cup and put it outside in the weeds. I’m sure it’ll live a long and healthy life or whatever.
Of course, the girls have deemed this the highlight of their entire summer. On the first day of school, people will ask how their vacation went and they’ll be all, BLOOD MURDER MOUSE ORPHAN, so I’m calling ahead to make sure the guidance counselor has me on speed dial.
So, uh, how’s your summer going?