Today a “friend” (this may or may not be me) told me that she had seen a mouse in her lounge room. I recoiled in horror on her behalf. She said she then decamped to another room and lo and behold, another mouse. Or maybe the same one, given that they are pretty homogenous in looks. So her mother (who bears a striking resemblance to my own mother) was despatched to the shops post haste to get some traps while she stood on the verandah hoping that the only wildlife she encountered was her dogs. Ok. It’s me. And today I had at least one, but maybe two mice in my house and for all I know they’re still there. And I hate mice. So much. I’m generally in support of all creatures great and small but I draw the line at rodents. I’m happy to share the house with spiders and I’ve currently got a pretty spectacular golden orb on the outside tap. Flies – frustrating but fine. We have the odd stumpy tailed lizard and I’ve often seen snake tracks in the driveway and none of these things worry me as much as a mouse. And for the record, mum has said that I probably shouldn’t tell people there’s a mouse in my house but according to the lady at the supermarket, they’re doing a roaring trade in traps due to some kind of plague – or at least a rise in numbers so I don’t think I’m the only one with an uninvited four legged guest. I’m not sure what constitutes a plague but I think two should do it.
This furry little fella has brought back so many unpleasant memories about mice – my first experience involving me in the bath, a mouse’s tail and dad trying to prove there was nothing to be scared of. Plan backfired. When I was in my twenties and probably should have been more resilient I found a half dead mouse on the floor at mum and dads and I was home alone. I phoned dad from the safety of the verandah (there’s a theme here – a verandah is essential to escape mouse attacks) and although he couldn’t come home and sort it out, he did send one of his work mates over.
And then – the nightmare to end all nightmares; our honeymoon. Driving a kombi through central Australia in the middle of a mouse plague. We didn’t know there was a plague until we got there and there wasn’t really any way to escape in a vehicle with a top speed of about 75kmp/h. There were mice everywhere – scurrying along the top of the shower stalls in the caravan parks, dead in traps, dying slowly from poisoning or running freely with gay abandon in every supermarket, service station and shop we visited. I remember lying in bed one night and saying to Shane ‘i’m pretty sure there’s a mouse in the cupboard’. He told me there’s no way a mouse could get in. I now believe that he actually thought it was a mouse too but did not want to be doing battle with a rodent in the middle of the night. So I went to sleep and awoke the next morning to find that a mouse had chewed through everything. As if living in such close quarters 24/7 for the first six weeks of wedded bliss wasn’t challenging enough, now Shane had an irrational mouse hater on his hands. At night, the ground was moving with mice running hither and thither and I was that scared that one would run up my leg, I had to sit with my feet on the table and/or my pants rolled up so they couldn’t. It was terrifying.
And now, there’s a mouse in my house. It or they are either still here and waiting to scare me again or they’ve tripped off back to whence they came. These are the times I abandon my feminist principles and am more than happy to defer to a man to fix the problem and I’m relieved that Shane will be home to wage war over the weekend. Of course the bleeding heart in me doesn’t actually want to kill them, I just want them to leave. And if I should see a mouse next week, when neither mum nor Shane is home to save me, I’ll take my goods and chattels and hit the road until such time as it’s safe to return.