Don worked late last night, so I was all alone when the power went out. I was sitting on the couch reading Ysabel, contemplating whether I ought to start a fire and lo! off went the lights. Perhaps two or there seconds later, they came back on. Went out again. Then on. Twice more, and I was in utter darkness. I stood for several moments, trying to recall the location of the nearest flashlight. “Hmm,” thought I. “If only I had firelight by which to find my way. dumbass.” I made it into the kitchen relatively unscathed (I only whammed into one piece of furniture), found a flashlight and a lighter and began lighting candles. Once they were going, I started a fire in the woodstove. I think the Fire Gods took pity on me, because it caught beautifully, and was putting out a fair amount of heat in no time.
I’d just settled on the floor with my book and a glass of wine when I heard the rapid patter of kitty feet. Isabeau was on the couch and Zee was curled up on the ottoman. They perked up, curious, as Jilly trotted into the room. In the dim, flickering light, I saw she was chasing after something: a toy, perhaps, or a crumpled bit of paper she was batting along. The object slowed to a halt in a pool of candlelight. “Ooh!” I squeaked, pathetically and stereotypically. “We have mouse!” The poor thing looked up at me equal parts fear and disdain. "really, giant lady? you’re shrieking because of me? try being chased by three lion-creatures." In my defense, my girly-noises stemmed from surprise rather than any sort of distress. I’ve no fear of mice. Still, I’d rather not have them sharing my living space.
The chase resumed, this time with the full complement - as already noted by the wee rodent - of kitties and myself. Kitties showed no desire to do anything other than chase. Save for expiring of a fear-induced heart attack, little grey mouse was in no imminent danger. It scuttled to the wall and under the sideboard, then past the yoga mat and target mitts beneath the TV table.
It may have found a way behind the baseboards, for I couldn’t find it after that. Pity, too, ‘cause I had my catch-and-release gear standing by. I can do wonders with a greeting card and a plastic cup, let me tell you. I should start tallying the number of successful releases. It would be impressive. (side note: eight hornets - EIGHT! - today alone. what were they all doing inside of my bay window?)
There were no more sightings of l.g.m. that evening, though the kitties kept a weather eye out. I rather hoped it had found its way back to the basement (at least I’m assuming that’s where it came from).
Today, as I sat down to breakfast, I noticed Isabeau clambering on top of a speaker, trying to get her paws down behind it. Then, I saw a teeny grey head poke around the side before darting out of paw range. l.g.m. was back. I tried to lure him out with cheese - Saturday morning cartoons taught me that such a treat was irresistible to rodents - to no avail. Curse you, animators! That's right, Mr. Barbera. I'm looking at you. As the cheese hardened on the floor, I wondered what I ought to do. Letting l.g.m. get comfy in the living room really wasn’t an option. Neither was a snap- or glue- trap.
It seems l.g.m. sensed this, and that he wanted out of the crazy kitty-fueled merry-go-round as much as I wanted him gone. In the early afternoon, when all three of my girls were taking naps - stalking mice with no intention of actually hunting or killing them is exhausting - I noticed movement beneath the wood holder. l.g.m. sat, front paw raised as if to say, "hey, giant-lady. please don’t scream, but I’d really like to go now. kthx." I refrained from commenting upon the ‘scream’ thing. Instead, moving with stealth (trying very hard to keep said movements from being ‘cat-like’ lest I spur l.g.m. into making another run for it) I gathered up my plastic cup and greeting card and knelt down on the hearth. lgm crossed it’s wee arms and tapped it’s hind paw. "any day now, giant-lady." I placed the cup over it, tucked its tail under the lip, and slid the card beneath. "about time!" l.g.m. grumbled. I shook the cup a few times.* Even mice need an occasional lesson in humility.
I took cup and card and captive mouse out into the clear November afternoon. “You’re free now, l.g.m.!” I cried, and let the creature out onto the carpet of leaves. It ran directly toward me, resting for a moment on my shoe. It might have stopped there as an acknowledgment of the service I had done it, or it might have paused to pee a little. Either way, it was off into the woods a moment later. Mission accomplished.
Now I have to accept the fact that where there was one mouse, there are very likely more. Traps (the kind that don’t kill the mice!) need to go in the attic and in the basement. *sigh* I’m already worried about releasing them outside when it’s cold and snowy. I may have to set up little mouse condos - bird houses, maybe, placed on the ground and lined with cotton ball, a ready supply of seed close to hand.
*I totally didn't