I am as jumpy as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rockers.
There is an uninvited guest in my Mansion. In my basement lair. Two feet to my left, under my office counter, in a space crammed with a paper shredder, a box of school supplies, and some Devil's Playground bags of waiting-to-be-recycled aluminum Diet Coke with Lime cans. Shh...did you hear that?
The last two times an uninvited guest came a-callin', it was Mr. Millipede and Mr. Millipede Jr. That was creepy enough, all those two thousand legs rippling like heads of wheat on the fields of Kansas (shout out to my college buddy, Bean, and my long lost brother, Chad!), where the wind comes whipping down the plains so strong it'll blow the eyebrows right off your face. Sorry, Oklahoma. My personal experience on a trip to Salina trumps your showtune propaganda.
Yesterday, when The Visitor arrived, I called my trusty Pony to investigate. The Visitor would not show his face, but continued to rustle and bustle, even after The Pony gave that box of school supplies a solid kick. So I figured it was another Millipede family member come to call. Icky enough, but somewhat familiar.
This morning, being home from school on our 13th snow day, The Pony lounged about on the basement couch while I wrote out some bills for little things like The Pony's Excellent Elbow Adventure. The I heard him holler, "Hey, Mom! You know that creature in your office? It's a mouse. I just saw him run by the Christmas tree." Like his pulse didn't even raise by one beat per minute. And yes, I'm purposely avoiding the issue of the Christmas tree in our basement on February 4.
We set out on an expedition to rival that of Captain Robert Scott's South Pole quest in order to pick up my paycheck at Newmentia, except that no ponies were harmed, and we all returned alive. I picked up four mousetraps for $1.50 at the Dollar Store, and we were ready for battle.
The #1 son couldn't figure out how to set the instrument of death, nearly severing a finger for his troubles, so he awaited the return of Mouse Exterminator H for counsel. He came sauntering down the stairs with a trap and bait, and insisted on showing me the means of execution.
See? You flip it back and put this pole in that slot.
What in the world is that bait?
Oh. It's a mushroom off the pizza. Dad says mice like mushrooms.
Dad says he's too lazy to get you a piece of cheese.
Anyway, I'm putting it behind the Christmas tree.
Several snaps and exclamations later, the deed was done. The trap was set. And I heard rustling in my counter alcove.
Get another trap and get in here now!
(Pant. Deep breath.)
OK. Where is it? I don't have bait.
It was over here. But now it's under The Pony's desk over there. Use a piece of sausage.
I hear him. I SEE him! He's so tiny! Do we have to kill him?
But he looks so soft.
He'll be really soft by this time tomorrow.
There he goes!
No, I'm not. He ran under the wall into the workshop. MY FOOT WAS RIGHT OVER THAT HOLE ALL DAY!
He's gone. Settle down.
NO! HE'S GOING TO COME BACK AND RUN UP MY LEG!
No, he won't. Where do you want this trap?
Where did you get that sausage?
Off that piece of crust on your plate.
I was going to eat that. I meant that piece there on the plate, not on the crust.
Too late now. Where do you want it?
In that little crack beside the box.
No. I'm going to put it right here along the cabinet base.
NO! It's too close to me!
He won't get it if it's in that opening. Mice run along the walls. That's because they're virtually blind.
He saw good enough to get out there by the Christmas tree.
You're ridiculous. I'm putting it here.
Silly me. I'm sure #1 knows all about the habits of mice. He probably learned it from the Library of Congress website.