Yesterday morning started like lots of other mornings. Breakfast prepared, school lunches underway. Me, trying to respond to my son's nonstop stream of morning chatter.
Everything took a sudden right turn when...no wait, scratch that, we drove off the bridge and crashed fifty feet into the water when I happened to leave the kitchen and glance behind me.
THERE IT WAS!!!
Under the baseboard of my kitchen was an extremely large mouse. Dead!! Tail, limp. Fur, brown.
I responded like any other reasonable woman of my age, which is to say I started gasping for air and making odd little moaning noises.
"You okay, Mom?" asked my son, who still hadn't spotted it?
"I'm okay, I'm okay." This was said more to convince myself than him.
My daughter appeared on the scene. The mouse situation was revealed.
"I'll pay you guys two dollars each to sweep it into a dust pan and take it outside," I told them.
My daughter, sensing opportunity for negotiation, raised an eyebrow. "Two dollars, mom? Really?"
"Ten," I said, because by this time it was clear I was unable to walk back into the kitchen.
"Yes, each. Just get rid of it."
They went at it with the broom and dustpan. This is where things took a turn for the worse. The mouse, it turns out, was only pretending to be dead. I know this because I heard cries of "It's moving," from the kitchen, while I was curled up in a fetal position on my bed.
My friend, who was staying as a houseguest, came downstairs. "I'll take care of it," she said. She walked into the kitchen with a swagger. Then turned around a moment later, retreated to the dining room and put her head between her knees.
"I thought I could do it," she said.
"Don't feel bad," I said from my new spot on top of the dining room table.
"It was just so brown and big," she said. "I was picturing it as one of those little white lab mice."
"You're mousist?" I asked.
I think she might have glared at me, but it was hard to tell because her head was back between her knees.
By seven o'clock in the evening the mouse had pulled itself together enough to disappear underneath the refrigerator and possibly into the walls.
We're not quite sure where it went. Out of sight, out of mind. Here's hoping it made it back to the great outdoors so that this summer won't unfold to the olfactory strains of Eau de Mouse emanating from the kitchen.