OF MICE AND FINER MOMENTS

My good friend, code name: Ms. Bone, was reminding me yesterday of one of our “finest moments” as roommates. We were in our mid-twenties and living in Valley Ranch. Cue the dreamy harp music as we go back in time…

Picture this: A large living room divided the apartment, with a bedroom on opposite sides.   In the middle of the living room sat two couches at right angles to each other. Yes, we each had our very own couch, which comes in handy later. 

One evening, I was in my bedroom for some reason when I heard a great “WHOOP!” from Ms. Bone.  Moments later, another “WHOOOOP!” followed by “Ann!”

I ran out of my bedroom and rounded the corner to find Ms. Bone standing on top of her blue couch, doing some sort of dance. Although I couldn’t identify the dance at first, I had a hunch it was not a happy dance. This was confirmed when Ms. Bone pointed to the floor behind me and babbled “Mouse!”

I leaped three feet from a standing position to the cushions of my couch, gasped so desperately I nearly sucked all the air out of the apartment and began a little “There’s a mouse in our house” dance of my own.  (Told you it wasn’t a happy dance.)

After much debate we decided to attempt to persuade the mouse to exit our 1st floor apartment. In other words, while prancing on the couches and keeping a watchful eye on our little furry brown friend in the corner, we realized every man we knew was either out-of-town, or likely to “assist” by appearing at our door with a camera to record our hysteria for posterity. You can see why persuasion was our preferred choice.

I drew the short straw and was forced to make the first attempts to catch the mouse.  With powerful girl reasoning, I decided to use a sauce pan to try to trap Ricky (detested, misunderstood brother of Mickey). I can only imagine I thought having a handle meant I didn’t have to get too close to him. I approached him several times, arm extended, holding the pan.  As soon as I would lower the pan toward him, he darted in a very appropriate mouse-like way, scaring me silly and causing squeals to erupt from Ms. Bone and myself. This was particularly disturbing because neither of us was prone to squealing about ANYTHING.  In other words, the pan method was a failure.

I hopped back on the couch to begin the “There’s a mouse in our house” dance again. The next method of attack was decided. Broom and cardboard. Ms. Bone would wield the broom, I would wield the piece of cardboard and we would urge him toward our front door which was now hanging invitingly wide open (we hoped).

Although I liked this idea because it meant we were BOTH on the same level with the mouse, I disliked the thought that we might inadvertently a) hurt the mouse in the process or b) annoy the mouse until it attacked one of us.

Using the patented “Advance, Shriek, Retreat” method, we were actually making progress with Ricky. We moved him past the kitchen and were headed in the general direction of the front door when I remembered one important thing. I was a cat owner.

Second important thing: Kahlua had been awakened by the commotion and was now VERY interested in our little game. I heard one low-pitched “meeeeooooow” before Kahlua joined the fray. Luckily, Ricky moved faster than Ms. Bone or I did and made for the open door before inexplicably changing course and running under the door of the coat closet. The coat closet that was still full of boxes and such.  The one that had lots of places to hide. Forever, if necessary.

The next half hour consisted of repeatedly throwing the cat out the back door and watching as she quickly circled the house and re-entered through the still wide open (invitingly, we hoped) front door. The closet was emptied one item at a time, with delicate deliberation and often a little panicky jump in anticipation of a mouse racing across our feet. Kahlua continued to try to get into the closet, we continued to push her out, and the mouse was no doubt busy having a little mouse heart attack.

Aside: I’m not quite sure why we never put the cat in one of our bedrooms. That must have made too much sense for us at the time.

Anyway, just as they say, “It’s always the last place you look,” as Sandy poked the broom handle at the last box in the closet, Ricky came tearing out. We both blocked the attempted route back into the living room (somehow) with broom and that threatening flat piece of cardboard. To our delight, Ricky spun around on his little bony mouse feet and scampered out the front door, making a sudden right into the bushes, Kahlua on his heels. (Don’t worry. We are almost 65% sure he escaped. Maybe even 75%. It’s amazing how quickly you go from “don’t hurt the mouse” to “screw the mouse” when you think you might be co-habitating with said mouse against your will.)

Important lessons from this “finest moment:”  1) We don’t need a man to rescue us.  2)  The higher off the ground your couch is, the better. 3) It would still be nice if a man HAD rescued us, but he would have done it all wrong (according to the “There’s a mouse in our house” dancers).

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