Any of you who live out in the country will laugh at me when you read this. I will state at the very beginning that I am not a girly-girl. Never have been. Really. Except – perhaps, in maybe one or two areas of my life. This is one of them.
People all over the country are probably aware of the scorching heat wave to hit Southern California. It is sizzling here! It was 99 degrees at 7 p.m. last Friday evening in my backyard. I woke up early on Saturday to get a walk in before the temperature could rise and it was 85 first thing in the morning. It is beautiful out, but so, so hot!
Every year when summer arrives (not usually in May – global warming here we come!) the critters come out. We live on the edge of a canyon and although we are a part of suburbia, our house is located on the edge of wilderness. Over the years we have seen mountain lions, bobcats, road runners, pheasant, quail, doves, rattlesnakes, coyotes, countless deer, tarantulas, zillions of rabbits, etc., etc. Many of these critters have ended up in our backyard or on the adjacent slope leading down to the lake. The list of local critters seems to be never ending. Occasionally however, my encounters with wildlife leave me a bit … undone.
Briefcase was gone all weekend. (Of COURSE he was!) I let the boys have friends over for the day on Saturday to enjoy the pool. Trying for Mom-of-the-Year I made an early morning grocery run so I would have plenty of snacks and drinks for a crowd of teenage boys. (If you don’t have teenage boys you have no idea – I don’t think they even chew … they just inhale massive quantities of food and then turn around and tell you they’re hungry!) The boys had a great day of swimming, eating, swimming, eating, laughing, eating, pool basketball, etc. By the time everyone made their way home at the end of the day I was 1) grateful that no blood had been shed (it always is for one reason or another when you get too many boys together) and 2) exhausted from the sheer noise of having them all around. All that youthful, exuberant energy is just exhausting!
I wandered through our backyard gathering beach towels to launder when I heard our Golden Retriever crying. THAT isn’t normal. I located him on our side yard frantically scratching at a large garden pot. He is always chasing lizards (unsuccessfully) so I casually reached down and scooted the pot a few inches to the side so he could have his fun. And then … oh yes, the neighbors, the people all the way across the canyon, and probably even people 20 minutes away at the beach heard me scream. Scream as in "someone is getting murdered" scream. Because a gross, disgusting, despicable, rodent ran straight at me. OK, so it was just a mouse. But I wasn’t expecting it. And it was coming right at me! And it was fuzzy. With a tail. S-C-A-R-Y!!!
I wish that was "The End" of my little story … but oh no! I leaped a good five feet into the air (no really, I mean it!). The mouse ran past me, and the Golden Retriever began the chase. I admit, I did not want him chasing the mouse. The dog has been known to catch things in the past and then bring them into our house! One night a few years ago, he scratched on the door to come in from our backyard. I opened the door. It was dark so it is understandable why I didn’t immediately see that he was bringing a rabbit – no make that a DEAD rabbit into the house. He was quite proud of himself too. Ugh … I had nightmares of dead rabbit feet for days.
Anyway, back to the mouse saga. In a matter of minutes I heard the mouse squealing and I (shudder) knew the dog had caught it. Do you know what heebie jeebies are? Yes, well, that is what I had. Hearing the mouse screaming (squealing?) for its life gave me the heebie jeebies. I would have called Briefcase to come deal with the mouse/dog situation … but oh yeah, I can’t do that when he is off drinking with all his buddies at some convention somewhere. (But I’m not bitter about that!)
So instead, I ran … yes RAN into the house to get RC who was laying on the couch watching ESPN. "Come quick, the dog has a mouse!" I said highly agitated. RC barely raised an eyebrow before he responded, "I’ll come out there after it’s been dead for awhile. I’m not going to get near it when it is still all fresh." OK, never mind that it wasn’t even dead yet!!
At this point I was distraught. Did I really want to save the mouse’s life? Well, no not really. But I didn’t want to hear it squeal EVER AGAIN and I really didn’t want to have it in my house. I also didn’t want to have to clean up a squished dead rodent from our back patio.
I decided to go back outside. After all, with Briefcase gone I am in charge of protecting the home front. The Golden was exuberant from the thrill of the hunt and was proudly standing over what I now presumed to be a very dead mouse. I approached cautiously and tried to cajole the dog away from the carcass. To my utmost horror, the mouse chose that exact moment to raise it’s head, stare right at me in its misery, and try to push its half smashed body up into a standing position. The dog immediately pounced on it again. I ran screaming back to the house, LOCKED THE DOOR (just in case the mouse tried to come in for shelter) and began hyperventilating! "Do something!" I begged RC. RC just shrugged nonchalantly and walked away. Clearly he is not ready for marriage.
Thankfully, this story has an ending. (Not a happy ending … particularly for the mouse, but an ending nonetheless!) On Saturday evening our pool boy stopped in. Wait a minute – I need to stop and explain. Yes, Briefcase was out of town. And yes, it was Saturday evening. And no, Pool Boy usually doesn’t show up on weekends let alone evenings. But we were having some pool filter problems earlier in the day so I had called and ….. You know what? The more I try to explain the worse it sounds. So let’s just skip to the part where he told me all about this squished up mess of a mouse he saw on his way in. And how I maybe batted my eyelashes just a little bit (at his young 25 year old brawny, shirtless body which I never even noticed). The end result being a working pool filter and no more mouse guts on the patio.