Monday, March 5, 2012

Mouse in the House

Just a reminder:  this Thursday, March 8th, I hope to see many of you at the fundraiser shopping event being held at the greatest little store in the world.  Pretty please.

Speaking of said store, we play music all day, every day.  We play the CDs that we sell, which are from a company called Putumayo.  Putumayo specializes in world music, so of course that fits in with the global theme of the store, but...well, not every song appeals to every listener.  The staff tends to be a little divided on the quality of the songs.  We do seem to all be in agreement that Blues Around the World is the unanimous favorite of the CDs, but beyond that, there's some discrepancy.

Putumayo puts out a series of children's CDs, the 'playground' CDs.  I myself am not crazy about most of these songs, which are of course geared toward younger kids.  There's one song, I couldn't even tell you which CD it's on, but my coworkers and I pretty much all agree that this song drives us nuts.  It's called "Mouse in the House."  A grown man sings about how there is a mouse in his house, and he's terrified.  It's really kind of sad.  Catchy, but sad.

This song was on my mind earlier, though.

I was at my mother's house, sitting down to dinner with her and my sister Liza and Mom's Aunt Edie.  Mom had brought soup from Panera, and I had just finished passing out the bread when Mom asked, puzzled, "What's that black shape up on top of the window?"

We all looked.  "It's a mouse," said Liza.


Yes, it was.  Vicky, the fifteen-year-old cat, only seemed marginally interested, which is a bit of a shame since she used to be a champion mouser; apparently she's decided she's retired.  I guess the mouse didn't know that, though, because it was hanging out on top of the curtain rod to keep out of her reach.  Gamely, I attempted to use a paper bag to trap the mouse...who promptly took a massive suicide leap through the air, making us all scream.  It hit the floor and kept going, and nobody quite knows where it went.

And suddenly, all I could think was "There's a mouse in the house and I'm scared."

I'm not afraid of mice, as might be indicated by the fact that I tried to catch the thing and release it outside. In fact, I've had more than my share of experience with them coming indoors.  We had a mouse problem here in my house some years ago, during a time when the resident cat was a tuxedo-patterned creature called Harley.  Harley wasn't the most intelligent beast, but he had absolutely the sweetest disposition.  He was my baby, he followed me everywhere around the house.  During the winter months, though, he'd take up position by the stove, which is where the mice would sneak up from the basement.

I'd hear a loud crash, which was the sound of Harley slamming into the stove when a mouse appeared, and I knew what was coming.  He'd find me, wherever I was, and bring me his prize - alive and squirming.  I would then pick him up and carry him outside and say, "Okay, drop it."

And he did.  And it would run away, unharmed and probably looking forward to telling its grandchildren one whale of a story someday.  One friend of mine speculated that it wasn't multiple mice at all, just one mouse with a daredevil complex who kept sneaking back into the basement.

The mousing adventures came to an end after Harley's death in 2003.  By then we'd acquired Madrigal, who is considerably less merciful, and it only took one mouse to not survive the adventure before word got out to the rest of the vermin community that our house was to be avoided.

I wonder what sort of memo is going out among the mice at my mother's house.

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