There are times in my life when I stop and think, "This is not going to end well.”
Perching on top of the not-a-Hoosier cupboard on the back porch, leaning over the top of the upright freezer, flashlight in one hand and broom in the other, trying to sweep a leg-caught mouse in a trap out from behind the freezer before it drug the trap under the freezer was one of those moments.
Phoenix was helping.
He is my vermin dog.
If there is any kind of scurrying, slinky, ratty-tailed rodent in the vicinity, he will tell me about it. Repeatedly. Often at 3 a.m. He is a great at alerting but that is usually as far as it goes.
Even though he’s made a couple of spectacular catches – including digging a ground squirrel out of the house foundation and carrying it around the yard in his mouth until he dropped it and it escaped – he’s never killed anything he caught. Except the baby rabbit earlier this summer. And a couple of birds that probably died of fright when he literally grabbed them out of mid-air.
Fortunately, this vermin alert came at 8:30 p.m. I’d let the dogs out and when they came back on the porch, Phoenix immediately tried wedging himself into the 5 inch space between the upright freezer and the not-a-Hoosier cupboard. (It’s not a real Hoosier cupboard. It just looks like one. Actually it’s sort of falling apart but it works great for storing miscellaneous dog and gardening stuff on the porch.)
I knew there was a mousetrap set in the narrow space between cupboard and freezer and figured Phoenix was telling me there was a mouse in the trap, so I hauled him out.
The mousetrap was not there.
I said some bad words and grabbed flashlight. Crawling around on the porch floor revealed no mousetrap under the not-a-Hoosier, no mousetrap under the front part of the freezer and the fact that I really need to vacuum both places before there is a fur-ball apocalypse.
I said some more bad words. Mousetraps do not disappear by themselves. They usually disappear when the inhabitant did not commit proper mouse suicide and ended up getting caught by the leg or tail and drug the trap off underneath some very large and impossibly heavy piece of furniture, where they promptly die and stink up the place.
If the mouse wasn’t under the not-a-Hoosier, logic held that it must be behind the freezer and I was praying mightily that it was not already under the freezer.
Nothing like a missing mousetrap to make me get religion.
I drug a chair out of the kitchen, climbed up on it, stepped onto the work shelf of the not-a-Hoosier and briefly, seriously, with total sincerity, reviewed my commitment to lose 15 pounds.
I laid over the top of the freezer and once again noted my candidacy for world’s worst housekeeper. When was the last time I dusted up here? Apparently never.
I flashed the light between the back of the freezer and the wall and bingo! There was the mouse, caught by the leg and determined to get even with humankind by dying and making a big stink.
I was swiping at the mouse with the broom and the mouse was running backward on three legs for all it was worth, dragging the trap, and Phoenix was leaping around making crazy squeaky noises. That was when about 10 different visions of how this could end flashed in front of my eyes. Most of them involved gravity coming into play and me explaining to an ER doc how I got a concussion trying to take a mouse out of a trap. (Hey, it could happen. A friend dislocated her knee by hitting her head on her van's overhead hatch. Don't laugh.)
Just as I swept the trap clear of the freezer danger zone, the mouse made one last frantic bid for freedom and pulled loose of the trap. Now I was doing an insane parody of a housewife teetering atop a piece of furniture, swinging a broom and screaming, “GIT THE MOUSE!”
With a mighty pounce and snap, Phoenix caught and killed his first mouse.
I don’t know who was more surprised – me, Phoenix or the Farmer who opened the porch door just in time to see his wife standing atop the antique kitchen cupboard or his dog, with a mouse tail hanging out of his mouth.
Yep. We have all the fun.