An unwelcome visitor


When last heard, I was languishing with a broken left wrist, encased from knuckles to elbow with a smelly non removable cast. Freed at last, it has been replaced with a Velcro wrist cast, easily taken on and off. Praise be!

From Thanksgiving to just recently, is a long time to be incapacitated. A friend walked in and asked, “Why is everything covered?” “It’s dust, my dear.” No more excuses. I rolled up my arms (the left, gingerly) to first tackle the kitchen, only to find a very recent roommate—a mouse. “A mouse in the house” screeched generations of clean-freak maternal Methodist and paternal Mennonite women, throwing aprons over their faces. I was not too pleased either.

This mouse was particularly peripatetic, climbing from pantry floors to top shelves, inspecting drawers and cupboards, leaving a discernible trail of chewed muffin packages, pasta, rice, anything and everything in plastic or paper and tracks of feces. I caught it with a sticky trap under the sink. Not particularly humane, but arriving without an invitation???

Every micro-inch of the kitchen has been scrubbed, scoured, and Clorox-ed. Despite that little girl not showing up (this time she is fired for sure), there was no reason to stop. The kitchen is attached to the living room; the living room is attached to the dining room; the dining room is attached to two bathrooms; the bathrooms are attached to the bedroom; the office is attached to the garage, “Now Hear the Word of the Lord.” I am about halfway done. The garage can wait for warmer weather.

A mouse is a small rodent with a pointed nose, small ears, and a scaly tail the length of its 5/9-7.9 inches; not to be confused with its cousin, a rat. The life span of a mouse is 2-5 years, remarkable considering the array of natural predators. A mouse’s heart beats at 632/minute. Studies show that mice have a range of facial expressions: pleasure, disgust, nausea, pain, fear, and communicate with each other using regular and ultrasonic sounds. Mainly nocturnal, their poor eyesight is compensated by acute senses of smell and hearing. Due to adaptability in various environments, mice are among the world’s most successful mammals, helped by unending prolificity.

Herbivores (contrary to popular belief, mice do not have an overwhelming appetite for cheese, although they do like peanut butter) they are a major source of crop damage; not just by consumption but spreading disease and parasites. In the wild, like other burrowing mammals, mice construct intricate burrows with long entrances and escape tunnels.

Small, inexpensive, with rapid reproduction, mice are a favorite research mammal, particularly in the fields of biology and psychology. They are a protein source in some areas of Africa. Chipped beef being unavailable, creamed mouse was on the menu of some English during WWII. My palate is a little more discriminating. The only mouse with which I choose to be acquainted, is attached to this computer.

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