Saturday, June 10, 2006

Mouse Tails

I am well known for being unable to kill creatures that have found their way into my house. I have a catch and release policy for most things. I once spent 3 days trying to discourage a cricket from residing in the door frame next to my office before resorting to bug spray in desperation. I have carried poisinous insects out to distant fields and released them and will shoo a bee out of the house rather than dispatch of them.

That being said, I have no tolerance for termites, roaches or ants in the house. Ants, if allowed to live, will go back to the mound and tell all the other ants where to find all the good stuff inside the house, so they have to go. Termites will eat your house, and roaches---ick!

Add mice to the list. When I came home after dark last night, turned on the kitchen light and there, as bold as you please was a mouse sauntering across the back of the countertop, I freaked. I would prefer a humane trap and releasing in some field far, far away, but at that moment it was kill or scream. So I turned the whole matter over to Steve who has no patience with my tolerance for vermin, and even knowing what it would mean, I asked him to take care of it.

I awoke this morning and with great trepidation entered the kitchen. There, in the middle of the floor was our little mouse, who never saw it coming. I confess to being unable to deal with dead creatures, so like a coward, I left the little critter for one of the male members of the household to find and dispose.

I am still thoroughly creeped out by the idea of those little feet traipsing across my counters, leaving footprints in the butter. I am barefooted, but not without the creepy feeling that soon little feet will crawl across my bare toes and perhaps take a nibble. EWWWWWWW!

So much for Disney. So much for Despereaux ("The Tale of Despereaux" by Kate DiCamillo"). When it comes right down to it, I am at least an accomplice to murder most foul. I couldn't help but think of a friend who was looking into getting mice as pets. I think she settled on gerbils (which are one and the same, it seems to me). Strange how our perspective changes. As a child I had gerbils in a cage in my room, procreating and recreating all over the place, eating their young...the whole deal. I think eating their young is when my feelings toward them changed. They were no longer cute and cuddly, but utterly foreign and creepy.

It was the same year we had an infestation of mice, as happens every so often here in town. I cried and sobbed as Dad killed them on the back porch. He, of course, had no illusions about the sweet nature of the critters, but saw them as carriers of disease and filth, who would eat everything they could get into if they weren't dealt with. I, not yet having come to terms with the nature of the beasts, saw them as little different from the pets I so lovingly fed and played with in my room mere feet away.

Ah how time changes us. And last night, had there been no men around to take care of matters, I have no doubt I would have taken care of things, but I would be inwardly shrieking from the top of the table the whole time. Oh. What was that? I think I felt something touch my foot. I'm going now to put on my steel reinforced boots. Eeeeek!

1 comment:

Beth said...

Ya know, I can totally relate. I am quite schizophrenic on this issue. On the one hand I adore Avi'
s Tales of Dimwood Forest, which my son introduced me to, Stuart Little, and a host of other Disney & other wisps of anthropomorphical sweetness. On the other hand, I am acutely aware of the potential for disease and wish to protect my precious children from it.

But as far as I'm concerned, the deciding factor is scent.

We did get two mice - two MALE mice which I later learned carry the most repugnant aroma of all rodent pets. I'm told female mice are "practically odorless" but after the musky smell of the pet male mice, which smells exactly like the ones we try to kill from time to time, I just couldn't risk the possibility that female mice might also smell badly.

Hence the gerbils. They originate from Mongolia and do not occur naturally in the American wild, so there is zero possibility of having one runnning over my feet or through my butter unless I am negligent in their housing containment.

And they do not smell. It is recommended that one clean a mice cage at least twice a week if not more. I found websites advising me to clean gerbils' quarters once every three weeks.

Yet another thing to look forward to in heaven - animals as we wish them to be, untouched by sinful imperfection.