Friday, August 17, 2012


Remember that famous movie Princess Bride?  Remember the scene where Buttercup and her FarmBoy are forced to enter the Fire Swamp as Prince Humperdink closes in, and FarmBoy is attacked  by a large, evil, leg-biting, man-wrestling, rat type thing?

Yeah, I thought you would probably remember.  You can't forget those R.O.U.S. very easily.

Now you have a good mental image of Wednesday night at our home, except I was Buttercup and Aaron was FarmBoy, and the Fire Swamp was our kitchen, and there really was no Humperdink unless you count the girl who is living with us, but she is very sweet and altogether unlike Humperdink.

It was late.  We were getting ready to turn in, and I had just set the alarm to wake up at 5 am.  There are water restrictions in our little droughty town, and the only time our quadrant can water is 5-8 am two mornings a week.  A girl makes sacrifices for her flowers.  So there we were.  Aaron went into the kitchen for a drink of water, and then I heard him groan.  "Uh-oh."  

I knew instantly.  Call it womanly instinct.  There. was. a. mouse. in. our. house.

A few weeks ago, I had been proudly commenting to our friend Christian that we'd never had a mouse.  Three years of living in an older home, and I had never once seen mouse droppings, ragged teeth holes in cereal boxes, or the furry beasts themselves.  Chalk it up to my masterful housekeeping, I guess, or Divine Favor, but we weren't the sort of house that had that problem. 

"Babe," Aaron called.  "I just saw a mouse."

And I let forth a blood-curdling scream.  Not really, but the expression on my face rivaled Edvard Munch's famous painting.

"A mouse?"  I said as I rounded the corner into the kitchen.  "Are you sure?  We've never had a mouse."

"Yup, I'm sure. I just saw it run from here (he pointed to the white cart by the stove) over to there (a careless wave to the basement stairs). "

"It's in the basement?  Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh."  I think at this point I began to hyperventilate and rend my garments.

Have you ever had that experience where it is as if a version of yourself steps out onto your shoulder to reason, but the rest of you will have none of it?  You can almost see the ghostly twin of yourself, come from a better, more peaceful and enlightened time, patiently offering sage advice....but this is not the time!  This is the FIRE SWAMP for crying out loud!!!

"You lived with a rat in Kolkata.  You were fine.  You can handle this," my rational self urged.  But I interrupted her mid-shoulderpat and sent her flying across the room.

"Aaron, why did it come in?"  I shrieked.  

He looked bemused and totally unaware of the gravity of the situation.  Clearly, he was also wishing I would retrieve my logical self post-haste. 

"I don't know, babe.  I'll buy some traps in the morning."  

"No," I wailed.  "You've gotta go get some now."  

"But it's 11 o'clock!" 

"But there's a mouse in our house!" 

I pulled the stove away from the wall to reveal little pieces of spaghetti, coffee beans, a couple of dried up raisins.  "This is why he came in!  Oh my gosh, this is disgusting, oh my gosh, I have to sweep and mop right away!"  

"Lara, it's 11 at night.  We need to go to bed."

I flailed the broom.  "Please, please, go to Wal-Mart right now!"  

I have thought, in those more peaceful and enlightened times, that I married a man with extraordinary patience.  And it is true.  The fire swamp moments only serve to reinforce that belief.  

He went to Wal-Mart.  And I went to our bed and cowered on the edge.  

Thirty minutes, four traps, and ten smashed fingers later, we had us some mouse traps, baby.  And in the morning, that R.O.U.S. was lifeless underneath the metal bar.  VICTORY!

We're not out of the woods, er, swamp yet.  The next morning, when I called Dad to share my tale of woe, he assured me that it's rarely just a's usually mice.  Oh thanks, Daddy.  Well, you just sealed my fate for the next month.  I will not be able to walk into the kitchen without gingerly peering through the doorway first, because as everyone knows, dead animals are really scary.  

Don't try to follow my logic on that one.

Come on friends.  Commiserate with me on this one.  Share your awful mouse stories.  I am in desperate need of some solidarity.  A girl needs to know she's not the only one.  




  1. Funny that you and I had (are having) a similar experience this week. My husband walked into our garage and saw a pack rat at his feet gnawing on something plastic! We waited in the garage, he with a BB gun and I with a long metal pole for that thing to reappear (not sure what I would have done if it did). It didn't. And now....the worst part. It got into the roof of our house!! So now we hear scratching on occasion and have no idea how we're going to get it out of there. Yay us.

  2. Lara, it's not your fault; it's your heritage. Bear with me, please. Your Aunt Linda, many years ago, called me from our dining room table; from on top of our dining room table. She called me at work to tell me that there was a mouse in the house, and that I had to come home at once and take care of this situation. I calmly and lovingly explained to her that my supervisor probably wouldn't appreciate me making such a request. She relented and graciously withdrew her demand. The mouse did not receive such grace later. She cornered it, and she destroyed the mouse and a perfectly good broom to ensure this creature did not terrorize her again.
    Your Aunt Sherry, when she was about your age or a little younger, once abandoned a car in the driveway of her parent's farm. The car was moving. She did not stop the car; she did not put the car in park. She opened the driver's door and fled from a mouse that had somehow gotten into the car. Fortunately, the driveway was uphill enough that the car just kind of idled in place.
    These are true stories with no embellishment. You can't make this kind of stuff up.
    So you see, you are victimized by your heritage. It may not be real spiritual (for God hath not given us a spirit of. . ..), but it is an honest trait of some of your aunts.
    Aaron, hang in there, Bro. That's a whole lot of love to make an 11:00 PM trip to Wal-Mart.
    Your Loving Uncle Dave

  3. PS -- Your wise Dad is correct. There should be no singular tense for "mice". They don't roll that way. They only travel with a posse.

    Uncle Dave

  4. Rats in our apartment in Mumbai. I kept the headlamp next to our bed and shined it all over the kitchen before I would put my feet on the floor to use the washroom in the night.

  5. Jessica, okay, a pack rat is definitely worse . Haha, I wish you could have gotten it with the BB gun. That would have been classic!
    Uncle Dave, I runs in my blood. I love your stories!
    Karen, ugh, Indian rats. Gross, gross, gross. I like the headlamp idea. :)

  6. Just to follow up, Shane bought a HUGE mousetrap and we found it dead a couple days later. YES. Victory. No remorse whatsoever. I hope pack rats don't live in colonies like mice...