Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The House With the Mouse

Return of the Bunny's Butt

1985 - Somewhere in Oklahoma -

It didn't take me long to realize that my new husband and I differed on the way things should be done...

One morning about 3 weeks after we were married, I woke to find that my husband's cat had brought me the rear end of a rabbit. Worse, he had placed it on my pillow while I was sleeping. Feeling something tickle my cheek, I opened one eye thinking it might be a spider. It was the cat, jumping from the pillow to the floor, leaving the bunny's buttocks behind. I sat up with my mouth hanging open, and screamed as loud as I could.


Brad came running.

I pointed at the offensive little fanny. "I'm not accustomed to having the buttocks of strange animals deposited on my bed," I explained. "Please get rid of it!"

Thinking that was the end of that, I tossed the pillowcase into the laundry basket and went about my daily routine when less than an hour later something caught my eye. It was the cat, tiptoeing across the carpet. Once again he brought me the bunny's you-know-what and placed it a little too close for comfort.

I went back to the doorway once again to find Brad who was in the process of fixing himself a mega-sized iced tea. Try being nice.

"Honey,” I said, this time with my voice a little more genteel. "The butt is back. I thought you got rid of it."

Once again, there came my husband to the rescue, charging forth with my brand new barbeque tongs in hand (yes, the ones I received as a wedding gift), and with a wide sweeping motion he snatched the little carcass from the couch.

"Where did you put it last time?" I asked with the sweetest tone of voice that I could muster.

"I threw it on the roof,” he said. Dad said we have to be nice to each other. I remind myself of that sometimes.

"Well, this time, could you pick a place a little less traveled by the cat? And make sure it's gone for good, PLEASE." It was not a request.

Now I figure it this way...once is an event, twice is a pattern. And as far as I could tell, there was a pattern developing here, because for a third time, the cat appeared in the doorway grinning from ear to ear, and looking rather smug. And why wouldn't he be? For the third time in the same day, he had hunted and captured the same rabbit’s rear, and had proceeded to sneak it into the house. This time he deposited the fluffy little fanny at my feet. I do believe my husband was playing a joke on me. He knew the cat would keep bringing it back to me. I was not amused.

"Bradley Ernest Pitt Palmer,” I all but screamed from the doorway, "your cat has returned with the rear. What did you do with it last time?”

"I tossed it into the bushes," he answered, smiling.

“Very funny! I want the thing gone,” I yelled. It was obvious that someone was not communicating.

So. That's the way you want to play it, huh? Okay, have it your way.

This time I was the one with the tongs. I took a deep breath, reminded myself not to look too closely, scooped up the pitiful posterior, and headed to the one place I knew my husband would be sure to look. Without the slightest hesitation, I opened up the mailbox, tossed the tail end in, slammed the lid, then poured myself a glass of ice-cold lemonade with real sugar and all, drew back the curtains of the living room, and waited at the window for my husband to retrieve his mail.

Just as I predicted, he opened the lid, reached in without looking, pulled out the bun, and started to run. This time I was the one who was smiling. Perhaps we could communicate after all.

That was 19 years, four dogs, three cats, about twelve lizards, and I don’t know how many mice ago.

Missy Cat

Charley loves Missy Cat. He loves it when she sits and waits for him outside his door although he refuses to let her into his room, for whatever reason, and he loves it when she sits with him before he gets on the school bus in the morning.

He loves it when I put pink blush on her snow white cheeks.

He loves it when she sits in his lap and look adoringly up into his face, and I do believe he’s right when he says, “OOk Mom, Missy Cat smi-o-wing!”

Charley’s job is to tell us when the cat’s bowl is empty. Brad’s job is to fill the bowl with food. My job is to let her sit between my computer keyboard and me or on top of my books, and we all have the job of making sure she doesn’t get out the door. It goes like this…

Someone opens the door.

Everyone else yells, “Shut the door.”

“Don’t let the cat out.”

“Watch it, the cat’s gonna get out.”

“Shut the door, will ya?”

Then we look around and notice that she is on her usual perch on the back of the couch sound asleep ignoring us all.

Missy Cat’s job is to catch the mice. And she does it well…

The House With The Mouse

“Mommy, Missy Cat eat da mouse.” Charley is standing in the doorway.

“That’s nice honey,” I say.

“Mommy, Missy Cat eat darn mouse,” he says again, this time with more oomph.

“I heard you the first time,” I say, and open one eye. It’s blurry but if I squint I can just make out the numbers on the clock. It’s about 2:15 am. “Honey, go back to bed, we’ll worry about it in the morning.

Charley gives up on me. He goes around the bed to his Dad.

“Daddy, da mouse mouse in da hallwee,” he says.

Brad is snoring. Or that’s a train. No, wait, there are no tracks around here.

“Charley, let Daddy sleep,” I say.

“Mom, get up!” he says.

“I’m sleeping,” I say, and somewhere I think I heard him say something about a mouse which isn’t a good thing because I don’t DO mice.

When I was in college I was studying for a final exam. It was about 3:00 in the morning and cold, so I got my robe out of the closet and put it on. All of a sudden I felt feet on my back, and before I knew it a mouse had gotten stuck in my hair. I had very long hair at the time, and I pulled my hair out in a sort of pony tail in front of my face and there was the mouse, just squealing.

So I started squealing. No, I started screaming. I ran to my roommate and yelled, “There’s a mouse in my hair!”

She was of no help whatsoever because she jumped up on her bed and grabbed a broom and started beating me over the head.

So I ran to the trailer next door. One of the guys opened the door and I said, “Help Tim, I’ve got a mouse in my hair.”

“Eewww,” he said, “I’m sorry, but I don’t do mice.”

So I ran back to my trailer and called the police. The officer answered and I yelled, “Help, there’s a mouse in my hair.”

He asked for my address and a couple of minutes later there were two patrol cars out in front of the trailer with the blue lights flashing. By this time the neighborhood was up and people were standing outside watching.

I answered the door and the officer said, “Is this the house with the mouse?” I could see he was smirking.

“I’m glad you think this is so funny,” I said, “But could you please help me get this mouse out of my hair?”

“Sure,” he said, “Where are your scissors?” I freaked as he cut my hair.

As I lay dreaming about that day back in 1976 I thought I was also dreaming that Charley had come to our room, when all of a sudden, yank! The covers are now on the floor. I guess I’m getting up.

“What were you saying?” I ask him.

“Missy Cat got da mouse. Cose you eyes,” he says. Not a problem, they are still shut.

He ushers me out into the hall and says, “Okay, eyes open.”

I peel my eyes open and sure enough, there’s the cat standing over her latest conquest.

I’m not surprised really; after all, we do live in the country and it’s freezing outside.

It seems I remembered the cat meowing and running after something earlier in the evening. I had said, “Brad, I think the cat is chasing a mouse.”

We looked at each other for a moment and immediately formulated a plan of action, and in our house that translates to if- you-don’t-look-at-it, it-will-go-away.

And now, here it was, laid out in lavender in the hallway.

“Mom, you get it?” Charley says.

“Not on your life,” I say and march into the bedroom. If that man thinks I’m going to get rid of a mouse while he pretends to be asleep he’s got another thing coming.

“Brad, the cat killed a mouse.” I say.

No response.

“Brad honey, there’s a mouse in the hallway.

No response.

How dumb does he think I am? When he’s not snoring, he’s not sleeping.

“Come on faker, get up.”

“I’m sleeping,” he says.

“Not anymore,” I say.

Charley runs into the room.

“Missy Cat stop,” he yells like it’s an emergency. I go back to the hall. The cat is flinging the mouse up in the air.

“We’re waiting,” I say to Brad, standing there with my hands on my hips.

“And I’m sleeping,” he says as he slides off the bed and makes his way out to the hall.

The three of us stand over the mouse.

“Is it dead?”

“It’s not moving.”

“Is it breathing?”

“Sure looks dead.”

“Yep, he’s a goner.”

“I hate darn mouse,” Charley says. That makes three of us.

“Stuart Little bites the dust,” Brad says.

“I got dat movie,” Charley says.

“At least it wasn’t in my hair,” I say.

Brad grabs the dust pan. “I can’t find the broom,” he says, and why not? He's only half asleep and I'm standing right in front of him holding it.

All of a sudden, I become brave. “Open the door and I’ll sweep it out,”

So the door opens.

“Don’t let the cat out.”


The mouse slides under the crack between the door and the floor.

“Mommy, you missed.” Charley says. Do ya think?

I never was very good at golf.


The mouse bounces off the door stopper.

“Miss again,” says Charley.

“Well then why don’t one of you birds take a whack at it if you think you can do so much better?” I say.

So Charley grabs the broom. “Batter up!”


“Charley, you missed,” I say.

“Stop it Mom,” he says and laughs out loud.

“Daddybrad, you up!” Charley says.

Brad reaches back with the broom and gives it a good whack.

The mouse sort of bounces off the metal doorstopper again and slides on the floor back towards us. Charley and I scream and I run out of the way nearly knocking each other down. Don’t ask me why we are running, the thing is dead.

There comes a time when you stop being afraid of the mouse and the only thing left to do is to sweep it into the dustpan, which is what Brad does. He scoops the little critter up and flings it into the bushes.

So there we stand, the three of us, peering into the dark of the night.

“Do you think we should say a few words?” Brad says. So we bow our heads.

“Rest in pieces,” I say.

“Amen,” says Brad.

“Men,” says Charley.

Well, glad that’s over, now we can go back to bed.

We can still sleep four hours.

The heads are fixin’ to hit the pillows.

The covers are fixin’ to get pulled back up over the bodies.

The cat is fixin’ to take a cat nap.

The lights get turned off.

The screaming starts.

The lights get turned back on.

“Mommy, Daddy tep on bug.”

Brad is jumping around in the middle of the floor, yelling “OWWWWWEEEE.”

The thing is fluttering its wings. I lean in for a closer look. It’s a wasp.

I jump on top of it, with shoes of course.

“It’s dead,” I say. “Flattened like a bug.”

“I hate darn bug,” says Charley.

“Better get the dust pan,” says Brad.

The wasp is swept up.

The family gathers in the doorway.

The wasp is tossed outside.

We peer out into the night.

Monday rolls around and you-know-who is refusing to get out of bed.

“The bus is on its way,” Brad says.

“Go way,” Charley says.

“It’ll be here any minute,” he says.

“Go way.”

He’s pretending to be asleep.

Time to play good cop, bad cop. Me being the bad cop, Brad being the good cop. We should have trained him better to get out of bed, that’s for sure.

I go to his room. “Charley, if you miss the bus you’re going to be in big time trouble,” I say and give his covers a yank.

He’s ignoring me.

“I’m going to let Missy Cat into your room.”

Ignoring continues.

“Get up or I’m going to take your TV out of your room.

More ignoring.

I take a string and tickle his ear. "Charley, there's a bug on you," I say.

"No not," he says as he swats at me and misses.

Brad goes to his room. “Charley, please get up.”

He yells, “No.”

“Please, get up for Daddy.”

“No kank-u,” he says.

I go to his room with the water bottle and spray him with it.

The covers are pulled over his head.

“Well do you think you could get out of bed so we can get the mouse out of your room?
Buddy, oh buddy, the covers are flung off the body.

The feet hit the floor.

And he’s off!

He’s running down the hall.

He’s sitting on the couch.

He’s putting on the shoes.

The door flings open.

He’s out the door.

He’s down the steps.

He’s running to the bus.

“Shut the door!” Brad yells.

The two of us stand peering out into the early morning light.

The cat is sleeping on her perch.

Who’d-a-thunk-it? The kid is mouse-trained.

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