This was one of my kids’ favorite books.
Lucy’s toy bucket.
There is a mouse in my house!
Even if I weren’t living in a historic Victorian built in 1882, I might have a mouse in my house. But an old house has lots of great places for a mouse to come and go at will: fissures in the foundation, chinks in the brick, fireplaces, wood beams and an attic. Cute little field mice have made their presence known for years, mostly in the winter. When Polar Vortexes plus long winters equals long-term stays, I set friendly traps baited with typical mouse fare. Say cheese. Our visitors usually high-tail it outside in warmer months.
One year, my cat cornered a cute, little field mouse in the bathroom. Kimba announced her prize and the mouse sat in stunned silence. It was squeak-less.
Another year, my cat discovered a tail trailing back and forth under a kitchen cabinet toe-kick. Note to mouse: pull in your tail!
Hon, if you think my ambivalence towards cute, little field mice is due to my love of children’s literature, you would be mistaken. I’ve always loved animals, even–gasp–rodents. Just ask Hubby or my kids. They think I’m crazy when I say I bond with wild animals, but I actually do! We make eye contact. We “speak.” Either I’m Dr. Dolittle or I was a Cute Little Animal in a past life!
Do you think I should add “Bonds with Animals” to my cover letter bios? Maybe if I do, agents and editors will know that when I write from an animal’s perspective, I am being authentic. But, I digress!
This year, our cute, little visitor seems to have moved in permanently. I heard ch, ch, ch, ch under the fridge and shone a flashlight so I could see him. I placed the open end of a friendly trap adjacent to the fridge with a bit of bait. No luck.
The next night, he moved to the linen closet.
I repeated my flashlight shining and friendly trap setting routine, switching out cheese for peanut butter. No luck.
When he moved to the laundry room, I tried to entice him with dog food. Still no luck!
Not only was this mouse disinterested in ordinary mouse fare, he was brave. My daughter ascended our creaky stairs to find the cute, little field mouse sitting in the hallway, perky as a bunny at dusk.
About a week later, Hubby was hanging out in the kitchen when you-know-who scurried out from underneath the fridge. The mouse looked at Hubby with his small, dark eyes and twitched his nose and whiskers. Hubby asked, “Who invited YOU into my kitchen?”
If creaky stairs and encounters with people couldn’t scare him away, could our dog Lucy?
When we’re in the yard and Lucy sees chipmunks, squirrels, and groundhogs (see Lucy versus Groundhogs), she either wants to make friends with them or eat them. There was evidence that the mouse had played in Lucy’s toy bucket, which sits right next to the dog bed. Lucy is also known as The-Dog-With-Bionic-Hearing-If-Deli-Meat-Is-Being-Unwrapped. Since the mouse had evidently roamed freely unscathed, I can only assume this rodent is not only a gourmand, but a hypnotist as well!
We finally called in the big guns (a pest control person) who put out more friendly traps. Still, I heard ch, ch, ch, ch under the fridge.
Since the cute, little field mouse hasn’t been interested in cheese, peanut butter or dog food, I wonder if he might like mousse. Chocolate mousse. I like chocolate mousse. I bet we would bond!