During the course of cleaning out the garage and moving boxes, I noticed that there were rodent droppings in random places.
I suspect that the mouse we found this morning in our bathroom, had relocated to our toilet from the garage, through our garage door we had left ajar so we could hear the children who were inside sleeping. Or, rather - the children inside who were supposed to be sleeping. For the past several weeks, children who once were in bed sound asleep every night by 7:30 PM have not been falling asleep until 9:30 or in some cases, 10:00 PM.
Last night, Charlie and I were playing a game of backgammon when Charlie asked me, "Did you see that?!" He was convinced that he saw a mouse scurry across our floor. But I didn't see anything and thought he must have been hallucinating.
It happens that my husband sees things, sometimes. Like tonight when he came home from work, he was convinced that we bought three boxes of Joe Joe's until I reminded him that we bought two. But then, I had to correct myself that maybe we only bought one. Because there was only one box in the cupboard and surely I didn't eat an entire box of cookies.
This morning when Elizabeth proclaimed that there was a mouse in the toilet, I responded something like "Oh, really? That's nice, dear." Because our children have developed a glorious imagination these days and seriously. What are the odds that a mouse would be in our toilet?
As I walked in to the bathroom, I could see that there was indeed something brown floating in the toilet and my first thought was that someone forgot to flush. But when I saw that the brown thing in the toilet wasn't floating, but actually paddling around ... and it had a tail ... I started freaking out like you ain't never seen freaking out before.
Even though I have on my resumé "Mouse Rescue" ... the circumstances this morning were a tad bit different than my last rodent rescue in 1996.
That time, I was conducting an environmental assessment on a vacant lot that was set to be graded for the construction of a new Home Depot. During the job walk, I spotted a mama mouse and her baby mice crouching in a hole. I was so upset to think that these poor little critters were going to be crushed by bulldozers, that I delayed the start of the job until we could save the mice. It took some convincing, but I had men running around the field trying to catch tiny vermin in their hard hats.
The mice were collected in a box that was transported back to my office. I could actually feel the hand of Saint Francis of Assisi guiding me as I dumped the box in to the vacant lot behind my office, releasing the mama mouse and her babies back in to the wild. And then, like a bad scene out of some mouse horror movie, I watched as a hawk swooped down and ate them all. It didn't help that my co-workers pointed out that the mice would probably still be alive if we'd just left them alone in the field.
This time, I had a baby strapped on to me who was nursing, a child that was dancing around and chanting that she had to go poo-poo, and two other children who were beating the heck out of each other with their stick horses.
Thank God in heaven high, Charlie was still at home. Because if he hadn't been at home, the mouse would, at this very moment, still be swimming in our toilet beneath a closed lid.
After debating what to do for several minutes ... flush it down the toilet ... (GASP, of course not - what a horrible way to go, and what if it backs up our plumbing??) or fish it out ... my extremely brave albeit squeamish husband went in to the bathroom with a plastic grocery bag.
He was able to get the mouse in to the bag and then, because the door was closed to keep our three curious children out, I could hear him whacking his shoe ... over and over and over again ... on the ground.
WHILE I STOOD SCREAMING IN THE KITCHEN.
He didn't actually kill the mouse. He just wanted me to believe that he was in the bathroom bludgeoning the tiny thing to death. Because Charlie has a warped sense of humor and thought the whole thing was insanely funny. But he doesn't think it's funny at all when I tell him that he's got a spider on his back. Or, that I might be pregnant again.
Moments later, he came out of the bathroom clutching a bag that contained a mouse who was alive and kicking. Elizabeth wanted to keep it and fell down in a fit of hysterics when Charlie took it outside and freed it down the street. Since then, she has asked me no less than 5,000,000 times today "Where my mowse?"
He's gone, love.
Just like the box of Joe Joe's.
This afternoon, I let the kids forgo their nap. They were showing no indication of being tired and because I'm tired of trying to get them to go to sleep before 10 each night, I thought I'd test a theory.
At 2:30, when I would normally be sitting in a quiet house nursing a baby while my three-year olds nap, I was instead watching the three-year olds launch dried cranberries over our back fence and jump in mud puddles while I ate cookies.
My only reprieve from mayhem today was when I filled up the tub, loaded the kids in for a 45 minute soak, and played on the bathroom floor with the baby.
Although the afternoon was downright challenging (for lack of a better word), Charlie was home to prepare dinner and all four children were in bed and asleep by 7:00 PM. After today, I've determined that the only way Charlie could ever go away on a "business" trip, is if I went with him.
There's no way I would survive a week at casa de crazy on my own.