Sunday, June 28, 2015

Of Mice and Mowers

We are journeying home from our lovely vacation. I have to go to the bathroom. But I was so embarrassed after walking in on a man doing just that at our last stop, I missed my opportunity and now David won't stop again. So to distract myself from being stuck in this car for the next 70 billion hours, I have ample opportunity to relay a tale from 2 Fridays ago when I was frantically trying to get my act together to leave for vacation...

Procrastinators and trip planning do not go hand in hand. Let me just begin there. David starts asking me after Christmas what dates look good for our annual Summer trek to Alabama. And I start shutting down. I love going to Alabama, I just don't love planning. 

He'll let me sit and ponder it a few more weeks before broaching the subject again. "Ummm....I'm not sure yet. Let me check the calendar," I'll mumble. Knowing full well I have no intention of checking the calendar, nor is there probably anything written on it. {Our wall calendar in the kitchen currently still displays the month of May}

He may mention it one more time, but after that he just picks a date, schedules it off, books any hotels necessary, and lets me know the plan. 

And I'm good. Until the week before we go. I've tried doing it like you goody-goody planners...preparing weeks in advance with your lists, having all your packing done a few days before departure. It stressed me out more and I didn't know what to do with myself those last few days before we left. 

So this time I went back to what I knew and felt comfortable with...waiting 'til the last minute to get ready.

David was in Denver that week. I was working at VBS during the day and running kids around to games and practices in the evenings. In between, I would try to toss in a preparation or two for our trip. There was one looming task I knew needed to be taken care of before we set off. Kansas was apparently trying to compete with the Amazon for the highest amount of rainfall recently and our yard was beginning to resemble the rainforest. The timing of the rain itself was impeccable. Basically whenever I had a free moment from running around, the sky would let loose.

So each day passed as the grass continued to grow...and grow. We were set to leave that Friday when David got home. The VBS decorations I'd spent hours constructing the week before had to be dismantled, I had to hit the bank, Walmart, dry cleaners, drop off dogs and gecko to caretakers, and then...tackle the Amazon.

We store our mower in the greenhouse out back. The same greenhouse 2 little mice have taken up residence in. George has been on the hunt for these mice for weeks, jumping on the counters and stalking them. I love George for this. I guess I kept blocking out the fact that they lived there, because each time I'd open the door I would kick myself for not having traps set. 

The safest place for the mice to hide from George was under the mower. He even chewed off the pull handle trying to get to them. So now we have to be creative in how we start it. 

My mowing routine the past few weeks has been as follows:
~Bang on the door to alert the mice I'm entering.
~Quickly pull out the mower and jump back approximately 7.2 feet. 
The pair usually scurries out the front of it and I begin my chore. 

That Friday I did my pre-mow ritual and sure enough, two mice ran out from underneath. I pulled the mower into the yard and rattled it a few more times just to be sure. 

I started on my merry way, heading to the front yard. Because I was pressed for time, and the grass was still a tad damp, I took the catcher bag off. As I was turning around by our mailbox, a wiggly ball of fur caught my eye, and a scream caught in my throat. A baby mouse had flown out of the mower, clinging to life and missing an appendage. I. Was. Horrified. I immediately wanted to fashion a little tourniquet to try and save him, but then remembered I was deathly afraid of him. I did the next logical thing and panicked. 

David wasn't home yet so I hastily texted the next person on my emergency contact list, my friend, Carrie. Her husband also travels so we've learned to use whichever one's in town for such things as mice extraction, hot water heater repair, or any other miscellaneous calamities which may befall us that we either have no clue how to handle, or no desire to. 

"Eeeeek! Is Brian home?" I texted. She replied right away, "Yes. Do you have a mouse?" 

By this time my initial freak-out was leveling off and I was beginning to think more rationally. David would most likely be home soon. I could probably mow the other parts of the yard until he arrived to discard my poor little mowing casualty. 

As I saw Mickey breathe his last, his brother scurried out from under the mower and ran across the driveway. Another frantic text to Carrie. 

It was evident now, somewhere along the way, my two mouse friends had gotten married and started a family. And had set up the baby nursery under the mower. 

Tate must have seen me dancing around and screaming in the yard, because when I headed to the garage to collect myself, out he came. "What's going on? Is something dead?" he asked as he headed out to investigate. 

"No, Buddy! I mean, yes, something's dead, but don't go out there." I didn't want him to see little Mickey that way. 

"Well, what is it?" he asked.

"Nothing. Go back inside," I said, with all the normalcy I could muster. 

As soon as he left, my tears started to fall and Reese emerged from the house. I let my guard down a bit. I told her I'd killed a baby mouse and she immediately shifted to comfort mode. "It's ok, Mom," she said sweetly as she patted my shoulder. "There are worse ways for them to die. Did you know they sell mice at the pet shop for people to feed to snakes?!" 

Bless her heart. I blew my nose, thanked her for the pep talk, then asked how she had known something was up. As she headed back inside she said, "Oh, Tate thought there was a dead person in our yard since you wouldn't tell him what happened." 

Thankfully, Brian showed up post haste and started poking around the little mouse nursery. Out ran another furry sibling. With all appendages intact. And out came another scream from me. 

Just as I was contemplating how difficult it would be to dig up our entire lawn and lay turf instead, Brian found the last little baby and finagled it safely out. I was not about to relocate them with their parents in the greenhouse, nor was I going to snap their pictures to use in a whimsical video of their family. 

David called to check our ETD and, after I tearfully relayed the whole story to him, supportively laughed until he could no longer speak coherently. And he continues to laugh each time he retells the story to others, ending with, "One minute she's crying over killing a baby mouse, the next she's telling me I better set some traps in the greenhouse pronto to annihilate the entire family!" 

Now it's time to say goodbye to all our company,
M-I-C (Hope I never see them again)
K-E-Y (Why? Because they scare me)

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