Meeting the Mouse

So, picture it: it’s late last night, I’ve just finished up work, and am clearing the day’s debris from my desk before going to bed. This done, I head downstairs to put the aforementioned debris in the bin, which lives under the kitchen sink.

I’m not thinking of anything much as I do this: well, OK, I’m thinking a little bit about those boots I have my eye on in Zara, but other than that, my mind is a glorious blank as I enter the kitchen, open the cupboard door and…

… find myself face to face with a GIANT MOUSE.

I mean, I say “giant”. It was pretty much mouse-sized, and I think it’s only my re-imagining of the event which has blown it up to roughly the size of a small fox. But let’s just say it wasn’t a small mouse. It’s clearly been eating well, put it that way. (WHAT HAS IT BEEN EATING? PEOPLE?)

The mouse was right at the front of the cupboard, poised as if ready to jump out. I’d obviously disturbed it in the act of preparing to leave its cupboard home and join us in the body of the house, and I think – I think – it was every bit as surprised to see me as I was to see it.

Well, actually, no, that’s not right. NOTHING could have been more surprised than I was. And I really don’t know why. I mean, it’s not like I didn’t know that the mice overlords had found a way to penetrate the outer walls of our house . True, I thought we’d found all of their means of entrance (and when I say “we” I mean “Terry and the Mouse Man” ) and blocked them up, but as the Mouse Man never tired of telling us during his many visits earlier this year, mice are like little contortionists, and are cunning and tireless in their efforts to breach the fortress, so there were never any guarantees that they wouldn’t return.

That’s not why my reaction to my meeting with The Mouse (I feel his name deserves to be capitalised. I hope Disney don’t try to sue me or something, because let’s face it, it definitely wasn’t Mickey under my sink…) surprised me, though. It surprised me because, if you had asked me how I felt about mice prior to this, I would’ve thought you were a bit odd, really told you that, why, I like the little critters! Mice are cute! They have little wobbly noses! They are the compete opposite of “scary”! I mean, last summer, an ickle baby mouse came to live in Terry’s mum’s garden, and I used to sit and watch it and make cooing noises at it through the window. I named it Jim.

So no, I’m not afraid of mice. Which is why I have no idea why, having taken one look at our furry visitor, I proceeded to freak the hell out, like I have never rarely freaked before. I can’t even blame my innate drama queen tendencies here, because it was a completely instinctive reaction, in which I slammed the cupboard door shut, then turned and stumbled from the room in a panic. (That’s not a figure of speech, by the way:  I actually stumbled, in the sense that I almost fell down. Twice. It was like one of those nightmares where you’re trying to run away from some terrifying threat, such as that posed by a small, defenceless mouse, say, but your legs won’t work properly) I was out of the kitchen and halfway across the living room before I realised that I was also screaming at the top of my voice, a shrill but steady, “OMG!OMG!OMG!OMG!OMG!OMG!OMG!OMG!OMG!” What the hell is wrong with me?

As I reached the stairs, I met Terry on his way down, his eyes wide with fear (and actually moving a little slower than I’d have liked, given that he was on his way to rescue his wife from an unspecified, but obviously serious, threat). “Mouse!” I managed to say. “Sink! OMG!OMG!OMG!OMG!”

“Oh,” said Terry, straightening up from the crouching position he’d adopted, presumably in order to try to conceal himself from whatever hellish intruder he imagined was down there. “I thought there was something wrong.”

“There IS something wrong!” I spluttered. “There’s a mouse under the sink! It LOOKED AT ME!”

Well, Terry hotfooted it to the kitchen, me close – but not too close – behind him, Rubin dancing at our heels, thinking this was the best! game! ever! Upon arrival, Terry flung open the cupboard door dramatically, and…

…nothing.

The cupboard was bare.

Terry swung round to face me, accusingly. “Oh, great,” his expression seemed to say. “Now we can add ‘seeing imaginary mice’ to the list of Things That Are Wrong With Amber.”

“Are you absolutely SURE you saw a mouse?” he asked me? I assured him that yes, I was 100% sure, although obviously the question itself instantly made me doubt myself. Could I have imagined our furry visitor? Could my brain, en route to the kitchen, have thought, “You know, I’ve not freaked her out for a while now. Let’s have some fun, here!”?  Possibly. The fact that we have a history of mice in the house, however, suggests that our visitor was actually real, so Terry blocked up the gap around the pipes, which the mouse had presumably been using as his gateway to our world, and then he instantly forgot all about it.

I, meanwhile, haven’t been able to open any of the kitchen cupboards since.

And I have no idea why.


18 Comments

  • Roisin says:

    I love mice. In fact, Nic’s pet name for me is Mouse, so I am extra fond of them.

    However.

    If I saw a mouse in one of my kitchen cupboards? I would freak out too. Not because I’m scared of them (because, small and cute) but because, no matter how cute the wee fellows are, you don’t want them in your house, eatin yr fud. So, I suppose what I am saying is, I think your reaction was pretty understandable. The house I lived in as a teenager was very old and in the country and it was impossible to keep the mice out, and one very cold and wet winter we were overrun with the little gits. Like, one got trapped in the toaster and one night in bed one ran over my pillow (a bit like that scene in Sex and The City, except that my hair was short so it didn’t get into my hair. A beetle once did, but that’s a different story) My little sister got really good at catching them in her hands and we made all sorts of humane mouse traps out of milk bottles and suchlike. And, you know, I love mice, but I did NOT enjoy sharing my house with them. Get the Mouse Man back! x

    p.s. Mouse in your kitchen cupboard – not as bad as Crab In Your Bed?

    • Amber says:

      Oh lordy no, nothing is as bad as Crab in the Bed!

      I think it was probably just that I really wasn’t expecting to encounter a rodent in my kitchen cupboard – I was so shocked! Also, the “running across the pillow” thing? That’s exactly what I was thinking about when I got into bed last night – aaaarghhh!

  • Karen says:

    Yikes! We had a mouse (mice?) last year, called a Mouse-Man, and he placed some lovely poison which doesn’t actually trap them, but makes them really, really, really thirsty, so that after they nibble the poison, they flee your home seeking water, and don’t even die. Humane AND effective. Win-Win! The poison was even contained in little devices that were child-proof and beagle-proof!

    I consider myself VERY lucky to have never seen or heard any of them face-to-face though, because I probably would have freaked the same way you did.

    • Amber says:

      Our Mouse Man did something similar – you’d think the mice would have gotten the message that they’re not welcome by now! I really didn’t think about them all that much when I knew they were safely in the attic – meeting one in the flesh was just not on my Life List!

      • Karen says:

        We also used to keep the beagle’s food in a container that wasn’t sealed or airtight. After the poison traps were placed and we put all dry food into airtight containers, we’ve not seen any “evidence” of the mice returning since. Our Mouse-Man was convinced they were attracted by the dogfood though.

        We like to buy the big bag (20 lb. at a time) too, so we ended up using a storage container with a lid intended for wrapping paper, but the top just flips open, so it’s still convenient for us to scoop the dogfood and keep the beagle happy. :)

  • Sandy says:

    I’m sorry…I did verily guffaw at your peril! LOL!

    I’ve had meeces run across my front room floor before and I know they like the cat biscuits in the kitchen cupboard! I too stuffed holes in the kitchen cupboards to stop the critters getting in…..however, I think I made a mistake using dish sponges as I think they thought a new mouse world IKEA had just opened!!

    We now have a kitty that brings them in instead so I have to prise them from her jaws to rescue them.

    • Amber says:

      It’s OK, I guffawed in turn at “mouse world IKEA” – I’m sure that’s how the mice think of our house!

      I *had* been thinking this would be a good excuse to start begging Terry to let me have a kitten, but I’m guessing if they actually bring them IN, that might not be such a good idea!

  • Stacey says:

    I like mice, I have no problem with them, and in fact had a pet hamster (who died early this year and I cried like it was my best friend that died). That’s why I have no idea why I freaked out like I did when I thought there was a mouse in the garage. I went in the garage to get something to drink and I hear some squeaks behind me. We have lots of storage boxes in the garage and my dad keeps his old car that he’s restoring there, so I assumed that a mouse or a family of mice had found a way in and was living nice and comfy. I stand there for a minute and hear the squeaks again and take off running through the door, slamming it shut behind me. I don’t really scream when I’m panicked, but I do stutter so after I finally get the words “there’s a mouse in the garage” out, we open the door and find…..

    A tree scraping against the window. I had freaked out over a tree branch.

    • Amber says:

      Oh no! I shouldn’t be laughing, but… :)

      Sorry about your hamster: I had hamsters when I was a kid, and I loved them, so, like you, I was really surprised to be freaking out over a mouse! I felt like one of those women in a cartoon, standing on top of a stool, while some cute little mouse sits looking up at her!

  • Amy says:

    You’re so funny :) We had a mouse in our apartment very recently, too (just the one that I know of, so far) – he was a cute little dark brown one who liked to race back and forth across my kitchen floor (and when I put a trap out, proceeded to fly over it like Superman). Thankfully, he was not in any of my cupboards – that probably would have freaked me out too. I used a humane trap and finally caught him, released him a few blocks away and haven’t seen him since. I’m not scared of mice either, but I definitely freaked out the first time I saw him – not because I was scared (I like mice, rats, all that stuff – my only pets are chinchillas), but because I felt very strongly that it just was not NORMAL to have strange mice running across your kitchen, and that he should probably go elsewhere…

    • Amber says:

      “because I felt very strongly that it just was not NORMAL to have strange mice running across your kitchen, and that he should probably go elsewhere…”

      I think this is the crux of the matter: if I’d met that mouse in a different setting (like, he was in a cage, say), I’d probably have wanted to pet it, but finding it underneath the sink was just all kinds of wrong!

  • Alex says:

    I really did think this was going to be about Disney at first!

    I’m hoping the presence of two cats will stop the mice getting in. For their sake as much mine; if there’s one thing more icky than a cute ickle living mouse it’s one twitching as it bleeds from several cat-induced punctures…

    Yes, I speak from experience. No, it wasn’t my cat (thank God).

    • Amber says:

      If only it could’ve been about Disney!

      The “killing of small animals” thing is the only thing that puts me off getting a cat. I know it’s just their nature, but I don’t think I’d deal with it very well, which is a shame, because if we continue to be some kind of weird safe house for mice, I think even Terry could’ve been persuaded that it was time to get ourselves a kitten!

  • lila says:

    I feel your panic Amber…it is just so wrong to see a mouse run across your floor in your house, it sets off alarm bells..I am still freaked after the year of the mice in our house, and still have mouse traps indoors..just in case..I see things and jump all the time..dont think the picture of a mouse in my house (living room) will ever leave me..I hope you dont see Mr Mouse again..

  • Rock Hyrax says:

    When it’s summer, if I don’t shut the garden door early enough in the evening, mice will come into my flat. A couple of years ago, when the mouse had worked out how to get the food out of a couple of models of (humane) trap without getting stuck inside them, I could swear it was laughing at me as it stared back at me from under the cooker…

  • We have rats. Many rats. The pre-renovation piles of crap around our house are the perfect place for them to live, and the blasted things are thriving, despite the presence of a dog and two cats. And a rabbit. But I don’t think the rabbit’s very good at rat hunting. Anyway, they come into the kitchen, eat out of the dog’s food bowl and drink out of her water bowl. And what does Big Black Dog do, while this is happening? She sits there and watches them. Yep. Did I mention that the rats are thriving?

    • Amber says:

      Oh my God. I know I would freak out if it was me, but somehow the image of a rat sauntering up to the dog’s bowl and casually helping himself is making me chuckle! I’ve also been wondering how Rubin would react if he came face-to-face with one of our rodent guests. I suspect he would wag his tail and want to play with it (and I don’t mean that in in the way a cat “plays” with a mouse, either) – this is probably why the mice are so bold in our house!

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