Just last week I told a neighbor that we never have mice in the house since the cat came into our lives. We do have mice in the yard, shed and garage. Not as bad as when we first moved here and the pasture behind us was only mowed once in the fall, which triggered mini mouse stampedes.
All that ended when houses were built on the land behind us, but in the last few months, another nearby section was sold. It was a piece of land that hadn't been touched by development or agriculture since we've lived here, if ever. But after they started clearing trees, the homeless mice, coyotes, and at least one bobcat began relocating.
A few days ago I started hearing noises in the house when it was quiet. At first I thought it was Hubby rattling papers in another room. I hoped it was Hubby rattling papers in another room. But he denied doing it, and since I walked into the bedroom after I heard it to find him sound asleep, I think he might be telling the truth.
Last night I couldn't get to sleep. I did everything I usually do to try to get to sleep, and finally I just lay awake thinking, and listening. And I heard it again. The sound of rustling paper and plastic. It was coming from the kitchen. As wide awake as I was then, it was cold outside the covers, and I was snuggled down into my blankets. And safety.
Or was it safe? I didn't know what it was, a mouse, maybe a rat, or maybe something even bigger, like a weasel. And maybe it would leave the kitchen and come into the bedroom, waiting to jump onto the bed as soon as I fell asleep. I heaved a big sigh, threw the covers back, and felt for my slippers with my toes - bouncing them a few times to make sure there wasn't a mouse inside them.
Stealthily, I crept down the hall so I could surprise the creature to see what it was, but I had forgotten about the motion detector night light in the hall. Well, so much for stealth. It was quiet as, well, quiet as a church mouse when I walked into the kitchen. I flipped on the light and nothing moved. I put up a few things that had been left out, checking for teeny tooth marks first. I found a package of sticky trap things for mice, so I placed one by the trash can and one in the water heater closet. Then I went back to bed fully expecting to hear a squeaky mouse scream and the sound of the trap being dragged across the floor. But there was nothing.
Now I was beyond wide awake. I was awake, nerves on edge, and cold. I curled up into a comfortable position and tried to convince myself that it was just trash in the trash can, something heavy that shifted with gravity, and then shifted a few more times. I tried to think sleepy thoughts but it was no use. I wondered if I could trap the little varmit with the sheet before it skittered up my leg. I drew the blankets closer around me and tried to convince myself that Hubby was now an easier target for a marauding mouse.
Then I heard rustling that sounded like it was coming from my bathroom. I rolled onto my back so I could hear with both ears. Yep, coming from the bathroom. I eased the covers back and crept into the dark bathroom. The noise continued; it was in the wall. Or the ceiling, it was hard to tell. Somewhere above me. Then silence. I think the silence was worse than the rustling noise. At least I knew where it was when I heard rustling.
By then, Hubby was awake, and not happy. Not happy with me; it had nothing to do with the mouse, or rat, or whatever it was. He couldn't hear the rustling even with both of his ears off the pillow. All he could hear was me sitting up to listen, me throwing the covers back, me tapping my slippers on the floor, and me making noise in the kitchen. Now we were both wide awake, so we discussed the noise. Or I discussed. Hubby listened for a few minutes, said it was probably a mouse, and then rolled over and started snoring within minutes.
I glanced at the clock, 3:30. In two hours Hubby would get up. Should I stay awake or try to go to sleep? If I went to sleep, there was no way I was going to be able to wake up when my alarm went off at 6:45. While I was trying to decide whether to sleep or stay awake, I must have fallen asleep. The next thing I knew, Hubby was up and shouting from the kitchen that he got one. Turns out, he had heard rustling in the trash can and saw the mouse trying to climb out. He shook the trash can so it fell in again, and he closed the bag and hauled it off.
One down, how many more to go? They can probably do anything they want tonight. I'm so tired I think I'll be able to sleep through a bobcat fight in the kitchen. But I went to the store today and bought real traps. It's either that, or let Buddy spend the night inside the house on mouse patrol. And I think that would keep me awake. Especially if he brought it to us in the middle of the night, trying to meow his triumph with a mouth full of wriggling mouse.
Think good thoughts if you have a moment, for us, not the mice.