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CKC Mesa, Arizona

Gray Anatomy

So about a year and a half ago we had a little battle waging at Chez Burniston that I chose not to share on my blog. It was simply too embarrassing.

We had a mouse.

I grew up in a very old house, rented old homes in college, lived in apartments, houses, condos in 3 states, and in all that time I've never had a mouse in my house.

And technically that's still true.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

This epic battle took place prior to the kitchen re-model. In the old kitchen we had a lazy susan in the bottom corner cabinet where we stored canned foods and kid foods. The kids could reach everything they needed for lunch - bread, peanut butter, honey, snacks, etc. One day John mentioned that late at night as he watched TV he thought he heard noises in the kitchen and wondered if we had a mouse. I clutched my heart (no really, I seem to remember doing that very thing) and said "Oh no! We can't have a mouse! We'll have to MOVE!" or something equally melodramatic.

About a day or two later John reached in for the bread, and hauled out what can only be described as a "bread cave". The entire center portion of the loaf was missing and a hole was chewed through the side of the bag.

"I think we can safely say that we have a mouse," he said, showing me the evidence.

I threw my hand up dramatically to my forehead and said "Moan!"

After calming my nerves with something that can only be described as "vodka", I went to work on all the cabinets, washing every single pot, pan, dish, etc. and discovering mouse droppings all over the place. Of course in the bottom of the cabinet and pantry I also discovered a smorgasbord of bread crumbs, cracker bits and enough pretzel portions to feed a small country, so it wasn't really surprising that we'd attracted this unwelcome guest. John surmised that the mouse got in through a small hole in the garage, so he plugged it up and then we sat down to figure out how to catch a predator.

My sister lives in an older house, so I called her first. It seems that at one point their neighbor did something to attract mice - left dog food out, or cut down some brush, or something. (The details are a little fuzzy) She put me on the phone with Randy, my brother-in-law.

ME: Randy, we have a mouse! I need your advice on how to catch it!

RANDY: You don't have a mouse.

ME: What do you mean? I've found droppings. There's a cave in my loaf of bread. It's got to be a mouse!

RANDY: You have MICE. They don't come in ones.

ME: Shut your mouth, Stupid McStupidpants!

As it turned out, my neighbors, friends, an exterminator and the Internet were all of the opinion that mice didn't come in ones, so I had to "play along" even though I was convinced that *I* only had one mouse. One very hungry, poopy mouse. (I mean, excuse me? Why exists the word "mouse" then? Huh? Answer me that!)

RANDY: Hello?

ME: OK. I have "mice". (I smile knowingly) Tell me how to catch "them", please.

RANDY: Well first you need some traps. Get the good old fashioned snap traps. Mice love peanut butter, but you don't want them to just lick it off, so you need a big morsel of something on the peanut butter. Dog food, a chunk of bread, cracker, cheese - some little irresistable tidbit.

ME: Oh no! I don't want to use those horrific snap traps! It might decapitate the mouse and leave blood and gore everywhere!

RANDY: Well I've caught several mice with them and it just kills them instantly - no gore.

But what did he know? He still thought we had "mice" after all! I went to the store and bought sticky traps instead.

Note to everyone: DON'T BUY STICKY TRAPS!

That night I put out two sticky traps - one in the center of the kitchen and one in the center of the pantry. Both had a dollop of peanut butter on them with a crouton stuck in the middle. I went downstairs to work and it was very late when I came up.

There was our mouse stuck to the sticky trap in the center of the kitchen!

The mouse was crying.

And squeaking.

And crying.

And breaking my damn heart!

I got the dustpan and scooped up the trap with the mouse on it, but didn't know what to do with it! I put it outside on the back patio and then checked the trap in the pantry. It was still intact, of course, because I'd caught the mouse on the other trap! ("Mice" indeed! What does Randy know?)

That night I had a terrible time sleeping. I kept dreaming of the neighbor's cat coming over and discovering a tasty crying treat on our back patio. I envisioned the sticky trap on the cat's paw as it ran crazily around the yard trying to free itself.

The next morning I ran downstairs and braced myself for the cat/mouse mayhem but there was no cat. The mouse was still alive and still crying. John said to just put it in the trash, but I couldn't imagine letting the mouse die slowly like that.

I put the trap in several layers of trash bags and beat it several times with a shovel.

And yes, I'm still traumatized.

Coming back in from my distasteful chore I found John at the pantry saying "Uh-oh". The pantry trap had been moved all the way across the floor!

Mice don't come in ones.

Over the next week we caught the entire family. It was a total of 2 adults and 5 babies. We switched to the snap traps and no, there was never any gore. I guess Randy knows a thing or two.

Mice don't come in ones.

Luckily we've never had any more mice, and even when they tore out the kitchen, we didn't find new droppings. I learned a valuable lesson about denial.

It ain't just a river in Egypt!

Mice don't come in ones.

And neither, it pains me to admit, do gray hairs. Because now that I've gone brunette, my roots are growing in lighter than my hair color. And much to my horror, one of them is gray!

Only gray hairs don't come in ones, so upon further examination, it's more like ten. Or maybe fifteen.

So upon discovering this shocking sign of approaching elderliness, I did what any rational thirty-something married mother-of-two would do.

I called my hairdresser and said I needed an emergency appointment. EMERGENCY!

And I'm wearing a hat.

RKQOTD (John: Karl, you need to get off the computer and gather your things for school. Your bus will be here any minute. Karl: Get ready for mad-ness . . . and mayhem!)

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