Friday, Jan. 07, 2005 + 8:47 a.m.
�Oh, I�m just dying to know,� he lies.
�We have a new PET!� I scream into the phone like a 2 year old while simultaneously doing a happy dance.
�Please tell me I�m not going to have to kill you when I come home,� he says. �What is it?�
�It�s a MOUSE!�
�Where did the rat come from? Please tell me you didn�t FIND it!�
I should rewind and tell you the whole story.
I�m waiting on the school lawn for my daughter to be released from her kindergarten class. There are several other moms, dads, pedophiles, etc. waiting for the children to be released. I spot a large white marshmallow that someone had discarded.
One of the other moms goes, �Is it me, or is that a mouse over there?�
I look again and see the marshmallow and think she�s either LOONY or BLIND.
Then I see it. A tiny white mouse in the middle of all this bright green grass like a perfect target for a hungry cat or bird.
Oh, this guy is TOAST.
All the children come out from school and hook up with their families and walk off. I�m still standing there looking at this helpless little mouse. He�s actually not on the school�s property, but over the chain link fence in someone�s backyard. I don�t suppose they have him in there ON PURPOSE.
Unlike all the other people who glanced at the mouse and went on with the business of their day, I am glued to the spot until I can solve this mouse�s life or death problem. I can�t just WALK AWAY!
Maybe the mouse actually belongs to these people, so I go to the door to talk to them.
So back I go with the beastie (my daughter) in tow. She�s very excited about the situation as well.
I stop at the car and grab the plastic baggie that little B (one of the kids I babysit for) had been eating blueberry waffles out of this morning before pre-school. Some of the waffles are still in the bottom. That mouse looked scared, cold and HUNGRY.
Did I mention that my beastie�s teacher is watching all of this?
I attempt to jump over the fence, but my short, oompa loompa type legs are waaaay too short, so I decide to climb. Even more hilarious, but somehow successful. After I get over, the teacher offers to bring me a chair. Thanks. Thanks a lot.
I manage to scoop up the tiny mouse with the bag and he enjoys his waffle buffet. I climb back over the razor sharp fence of death.
He (the mouse) really looks freaked out.
Well, wouldn�t you be?
We have exactly 10 minutes before we have to pick up little B at pre-school and a mouse in a plastic bag. Luckily there is a pet store on the way, so we stop.
I have learned in the last couple of months that while pet store people may speak to you like they are somewhat knowledgeable on the subject of pets, this is a falsehood. Most of the time, they are stoned teenagers who didn�t get hired at the record store next door. They may know plenty about hydroponic marijuana growth, but pets are completely foreign. After all, they only work there 18 hours a week.
We don�t have much time, so we run to the aisle with little plastic cages. I just need something cheap to house this creature until we decide if A) he�s going to survive and B) he�s domestic (as opposed to those crazed WILD mice).
This young guy (translation: stoned teenager) is stocking the shelves. After I pick up an insect cage with a handle and some mouse/rat chow, he gives me the hairy eyeball.
�You�re not going to keep him in THAT are you?�
�Well, I just need something other than this plastic bag for right now, so I can get him home.� Why am I justifying myself to this kid?
�You really need something more appropriate for a rodent. Can I see him?�
I hand over the plastic bag and look at my watch. Five minutes left.
�You really need something well ventilated,� he says.
�Waddaya got?� I ask, looking at my watch again.
�This cage here is only $12.99 and has a water bowl and exercise wheel included.�
�Yeah, but it has bars that are spaced out far enough that I think he could squeeze through. I don�t want him roaming all over my house wherever he wants to go,� I say.
�Lady,� the kid tries, �the mouse isn�t getting out of this cage. And it�s way better than that one you�re looking at for not much more money.�
�I really think he�ll go through those bars.�
�Laaaaady,� he exaggerates the a, �I promise you. This mouse isn�t getting out of this cage.�
�Fine,� I say, �I�ve got to go,� and I rip the cage out of his hands along with the mouse. I grab a couple other things off the shelves and run to the checkout.
We pick up little B and get home to put all of our new goodies together. We have bedding, food, toys, etc. We drop the tiny mouse in the very large-barred cage and he casually walks over to the bars and slips himself out.
Back to the petstore we go. Now I have two children and a mouse with me. The mouse is back inside the plastic bag. Do you know how hard it is to drive with a mouse in one hand?
Stoner-kid is gone and now I have 3 new teenagers, one of whom is convinced that my �WILD� (because I found him) mouse is carrying the Hanta virus.
�You really shouldn�t keep this mouse. He could have the Hanta virus,� she says, dangling my mouse by the tail. �I could dispose of him for you and you could replace him with one of these� and she whips out a huge over-crowded box of white mice from under the counter. �Is that your daughter over there? She�ll never know the difference.�
You�ve got to be kidding me. �That sort of defeats the purpose of �RESCUING� the mouse, don�t you think?� I ask.
�It�s just not safe, maaaaaam,� she says, stretching out the a.
�I�ll take my chances. I�ve got good karma. I just can�t rescue a mouse and then turn around and kill him,� I tell her.
Now there�s a crowd around us.
Maybe The mouse is now safely back in his plastic bag. �Just give me a better cage that�s going to hold him and I�ll be out of your hair with my diseased mouse.�
She finds a nice terrarium-style tank with a mesh lid. Now I have to buy the exercise wheel and all the other goodies separately. We�re up to about $35 now. The mouse doesn�t even have a name yet. Good LORD!
We get home again finally things are looking up. The mouse is miraculously STILL ALIVE. We have a cage that works. The mouse is eating.
The only thing that�s bugging me is all that talk about the Hanta virus. That just doesn�t sound good.
I call the vet.
Back out the door we go.
An exotic animal office visit is $40 at my vet�s office. I never knew mice were so frickin� complicated.
He assures me that mouse looks healthy and the Hanta virus is in a completely different part of the country. What a relief. I didn�t want a tiny mouse to kill my whole family.
So, we officially have a new pet. My daughter named him Howard.
WE LOVE HIM SOOOO MUCH. The dog is really jealous.
He likes to run on his exercise wheel as fast as he can and poop at the same time. I think the running gets him in the mood for the pooping, which I guess is kind of a natural kind of laxative or something.
I�m really glad joggers don�t do this.
When he�s running on his wheel and pooping, sometimes the poop doesn�t fall off right away. It just hangs there while he�s running until another little poop comes out and another and another. If none of them have yet fallen off (like they are SUPPOSED to!), then they look like little poop sausages all strung together until he steps on one and ruins the whole effect.
Life is good!
�When are you going to get rid of that RAT?�, says my husband.
I am the Grim Reaper! Master of all that is