Small Fears

Just when you think you’re brave….

I’ve always prided myself on not being squeamish. A bat’s fluttering overhead? I won’t flinch. Spider creepy-crawling towards me? Feh!  Need someone to pick up a snake? I’m your girl. But even the determinedly calm among us have limits.

I hit my personal wall one night when a mouse found his skittish way into our house. In the wee hours of the morning, I woke to the sounds of squeaking and loud purring that meant our cat Vinny was hunting. Not wanting to find the gory remains on the floor in the morning, I threw on my robe, woke my husband and headed downstairs to intervene.

Our house is more than 160 years old and has a dungeon basement so the mice occasionally find their way in. No worries. We have a mouse eviction protocol. Our system works like this: one of us holds a plastic bucket and the other, a magazine (WO works very well, in case you’re wondering.) While one of us positions the bucket in front and gives the cat a shove in the opposite direction, the other partner gets behind the mouse with the magazine. One good flick and the mouse generally lands neatly in the bucket. The magazine goes on top to keep our little buddy trapped while he’s returned to the great outdoors. The cat hates us, but it’s a no muss, no fuss solution and we don’t wake to headless corpses on the carpet in the morning.

We were, therefore, well-prepared to spring into action the night we heard the squeaking and purring. Magazine and bucket at the ready, we cornered both cat and mouse, pushed poor Vinny aside and went to work. While I positioned the bucket, my husband got behind our prey with the magazine and flicked….a little too hard.

Instead of landing in the bucket, the mouse sailed high into the air and came down like a furry parachutist into the front of my robe. Now, gentle readers, I hesitate to shock you but the truth is, there was no nightie under that robe, so the mouse connected directly with my bare hide. His brief flight had scared him and he panicked, racing wildly in search of escape. And that is when I lost my pride, my robe and quite possibly my mind as well. Screaming like a mad woman, I tore off my robe, flung it on the ground and ran around stark naked. Ever-helpful, my husband collapsed on the couch and laughed until he cried.

“That,” he said when he could breathe again, “was impressive.”

And the mouse?  Well, he hasn’t been heard from since.  My guess is that he went back out the hole he’s squeezed through in the first place and has spent the rest of his little rodent life telling this story…”and then all of sudden, I was flying through the air…”

Is a travel writer with weekly columns in the Toronto Star, various other newspapers and She's a thrilled to be a blog contributor, and is inspired by the people she's met through White Oaks.