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I’ve suspected on multiple occasions that there is one or more mice sharing my house with me, but I’ve never actually known for sure.  Once I found a bag of flour that had been nibbled, but no other real evidence.  When I expressed this notion to someone, they immediately countered with “Have you seen droppings?  They always leave droppings!”  I had to admit that I had  seen no droppings, thus my thinking I had a house mouse was reduced to simple paranoia.

Last fall, Wee Watson (kitty), starting spending nearly all of his time sitting in front of the fridge staring at it.  He would sit for hours, and sometimes get up close trying to look under it.  I found this alarming, but didn’t really know what I could do about it– so I did nothing.  Watson has always been the type of cat to get very fixated on things, so I figured there’s really no harm in him becoming obsessed with a real or imagined mouse.

About a year ago, after Watson destroyed my mother’s dinette set, she gave him a partial declawing as a “Christmas Gift” (let it be noted that this was the first, and only christmas or otherwise gift that Watson has ever received, so her phrasing it this way was strange to me–still is).  Watson no longer has his front claws– can he still mouse?

A couple days ago, Jewish Friend and I decided to take ourselves out for a lunch of delightful Indian food.  Since I had just gotten off the treadmill and needed a shower, I asked her to come to my house.  Once I was out of the shower, and wearing my robe trying to pick out an outfit, I noticed that Watson had something hanging out of his mouth.cat-and-mouse

He was running around the apartment in a playful way, and I was worried that he had found a broken rubber band and would swallow it.  It was not a rubber band though, it was a mouse, and Watson took my advancing toward him as an invitation to drop the still-living, and completely unharmed vermin on the floor.

It scurried into my bedroom, and hid itself under the piles of laundry that had been piling up on my floor since the dryer broke.

Then the situation turned into a slapstick routine.

I screamed, “Jewish Friend!  Oh God! Watson caught a mouse!  eeep! eep! What should I do?!?!?”

Jewish Friend: Find a dustpan, I can get it.

Me: But it will crawl out of a dustpan, should I get some kind of tupperware?

Jewish Friend: It’s still alive!?!?  Eep! I dont’ know what to do with living mice, my cat usually kills or maims them.

Me: It’s alive, it ran into my room!

We went into the room and found Watson stalking the mouse with a very determined look on his face.

Jewish Friend: It ran behind the table! (the table is a folded card table in my closet).

Me: Well get it! Can you get it?

The mouse ran out of the closet, past diligent Watson, I screamed like a girl and ran away, Jewish Friend screamed like a girl and ran away, my robe popped open, and I seriously contemplated jumping up on the chair.

Finally, I saw the mouse cowering on a Gap back that was lying on the floor.  By this point, Watson had proved himself to be a totally useless hunter and was stalking the wrong part of the room entirely.  I took the dustpan, and the tupperware, trapped the mouse, carried it outside (in my bathrobe and sandals), threw it into the tall grass, and ran away screaming.

Not my finest moment, but not Watson’s either.

I am reassured that Watson can actually catch mice, despite not having front claws.  I don’t know if he can actually kill a mouse, or if he just prefers the chase.  While I’m glad I didn’t find decapitated mouse head in some corner of my apartment, I’m still not pleased with this turn of events either.  Conundrum.

I love bats– love, love, love bats.  In a perfect world, I would have a pet flying fox who loved me completely and who would wrap his leathery wings around me and eat all the bugs in my backyard.  In reality, I just force my friends to stand far too long at the bat exhibit every time I go to a zoo, and I do the obnoxious pointing thing “Look at that guy!  Oh, that’s so cool!” etc.

Imagine my joy when Gentleman Caller posted on his blog that Brown University does awesome stuff with bats, and has rad videos that I can watch all day long, like this one:

and this one:

Which reminds me of a picture I took at the Royal Ontario Museum, which has a rather large bat exhibit (for some reason).

misc-139… so I guess that’s true.

Many more videos, and much better quality here.

BATS!

I was never one of those little kids who told lies.  Yes, I exaggerated (like all kids do), and I relayed false information, but that’s only because I was and am a naively trusting person.  Grown-ups kept accusing me of lying and that’s when I decided that I would never lie because then I wouldn’t get trapped and if accused, I could honestly said I never lied.  Like that works.

 I can’t remember for sure how old I was, let’s say 8, my dad brother and I had gone to the grocery store to pick up boxes for moving.  This was in Hallock, MN, a town where we lived in 4 different houses over the years.  This was not a major move for us, it was just the end of a 2-year period in one house. Tiemans are a nomadic people, even if it is only across town.  We were in the alley behind the grocery store going in the back door and grabbing boxes, which I thought was the coolest thing ever and must mean that we were in some kind of elite group.  Who else would be allowed in the back door?  I was waiting for my dad to come out with another load so I could help organize them in the truck of our Chrysler 5th Ave., when I saw a mouse run behind the spare tire.

 Barely able to contain myself, I yelped, “Dad there’s a mouse in the trunk!”

“No there’s not.” was his immediate answer.

“But there is,” I insisted, “It ran behind that round thing.”

“That’s the spare tire.” He stuck his head into the trunk and looked around while notions of what a spare tire must be rapid-fired through my brain.  I decided that it was like some kind of horse-drawn carriage wheel, and pictures our car rolling down the street with three normal wheels and one wooden one.  Then I started to wonder how such a big wheel could fit into our trunk.

 Boxes loaded, trunk slammed shut, and we made out way to the house we were soon leaving.  I told mom my news.  She looked at my dad for confirmation and he shrugged “I looked and didn’t see anything.”  I reminded him that it had gone around behind the spare tire and he hadn’t really looked there, besides wheels had middles and the mouse could have gone in there too.  I was dismissed as some kid who apparently has hallucinations, which really should have concerned them a little bit, but didn’t.

 A week later en route to my Aunt Corky’s house there was an unmistakable squeaking sound coming from the trunk.  Pulling over and checking more thoroughly confirmed that yes, there was a mouse in the trunk, and now it had given birth to a dozen pink, blind, and disgusting mouse babies.  My parents did what anyone would do, once we got to Corky’s, they scooped them out with a garden trowel and threw them under an evergreen to die.  As my cousins, brother and I played in the yard that day, we successfully dared each other to poke the mouse babies at least three times, the first time with a stick, but as we got bolder, our bare fingers.  All this fun was curtailed when Aunt Corky saw what we were doing and started yelling about rabies.  My protests that the mouse babies couldn’t have rabies, they’d never lived outside our trunk, were not noted at all.

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