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Mice, cheese, and plastic training potty’s…

March 16, 2010

I ran into my first winery mouse coming around the corner of the kitchen while looking for a broom.  It scurried under a rolled up piece of rug awaiting the déchetterie.  I called for Raphael who was thankfully not far away.  He picked up the rug and whacked the rodent silly then put it in a shoe box.  I risked a peek before Raphael took it to a far away field to set it free.  It’s zigzagging movement across the box reminded me of a cartoon mouse who just had a piano dropped on its head.  I expected to see little birdies tweeting in a circle around its head.

 I have a phobia of mice.  (That’s not so bad.  I have a friend, a French friend, who has a phobia of frogs!)  Mine began when I was 11 years old.  I went behind the bar in my grandparents house to get a coke from the fridge when a little (enormous) black mouse flew out of a corner right across my naked toes.  I can still feel his tiny claws pressing into my skin.  Just typing the words now makes the hair stand up on my arms and a chill crawl up my spine.  Even cartoons bother me.  In Ratatouille, it took a huge effort on my part to get past the scene where all the rats fall through the ceiling. 

This phobia can be a problem living in the country as I do, on a farm, near a river.  When I was 8 months pregnant with my second daughter, I was sitting on the couch playing with Olivia.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw a flash of black rush across the living room to hide behind a buffet.  Unsure of what I saw, I lifted my feet to the coffee table and hawk-eyed the spot.  A few minutes later a black rodent the size of a squirrel (I exaggerate maybe.) ran out of the corner and into the girls bedroom.  I slammed the door blocking any reentry and reached for the phone.  Threatening Raphael that if he wasn’t home within 10 minutes I was moving back to the states as soon as I got brave enough to leave the room.  When he finally returned, he was unable to locate the rodent.  Night fell, and still no mouse.  I ventured into the kitchen eventually as Olivia wanted to be fed.  Rounding the corner near the garbage can I reached for the light and came feet to face with the mouse.  It scurried under the armoire holding the dishes.  Raphael was immediately dispatched but to no avail.  No rodent could be found. 

I decided since the last known sighting was in the kitchen, Olivia was safe to sleep in her bedroom.   But my night posed a problem.  At 8 months pregnant, it’s necessary to use the toilet at least once a night.  Worried about a repeat encounter with the mouse (bathroom was located right next to the kitchen), I decided desperate times called for desperate measures.  Olivia, at two and a half, was potty training.  Her little green plastic training potty was my only hope.  I took it to my bedroom, placed it on a chair and went to bed.  Sure enough, at 2am Baby’s insistent pushing on my bladder made it necessary to pee.  And sure enough, I used Olivia’s little green potty.

The next day, Raph set up a trap using, to his delight, a piece of  Comté cheese as bait.  He assured me that no French mouse could resist the temptation of good cheese.  Within the day, which I spent out of the house, the rodent was caught. 

Kitty came to live with us a month or so later and we’ve had no rodent problems since.  Until the other day.  Where were you Kitty?

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