My birthday fell on a Thursday in 2006, which meant I was still a nanny for the girls, Zae and Ava. I woke up around ten in the morning, which is pretty normal and arrived at their house at my usual hour, just a few minutes late (which is essentially on time, for me). Because I was running late, their mum and my friend Marnie was running late and had to run out the door without our normal morning chat, just quick instructions for dinner and a request: “Don’t move or turn over that bowl!” Turning, I see the large overturned mixing bowl on the counter.
“Because there’s a mouse under there.”
“Oh. Um. How big is it?”
“About four inches.”
I leave the bowl alone, of course. There’s a feral mouse in the house? No, thank you. I escape as quickly as possible. The girls and I go for a walk then stop for a bit of playtime at Toys R Us. We come back for lunch, and as I'm fixing the girls some organic bunny pasta (you know the kind) with chunks of roasted organic batch-made sausages, the bowl catches my eye.
I’m not going to move the bowl; I don’t really want to deal with the mouse.
But as I sit and keep up with the running commentary of a nearly-five-year-old and a two year old over a delicious lunch, I ruminate. I realize that I’m not concerned about a wee little mouse. I mean, I grew up on a farm. I’ve seen mice in all states of life and death. Mice don’t bother me. Right?
I step toward the overturned bowl.
I tap on the top.
I leap a foot in the air because I hear tiny little nails scrabbling around on the wood countertop the bowl is on.
I walk away. I think.
I wonder to myself if maybe Marnie is afraid of mice. Maybe she doesn’t want to deal with it and she’s leaving it for her husband, Dave to handle later. Then I wonder whether they’re going to kill it or release it. Then I grow incredibly concerned: what if they’re going to drown it or something – it’s just a little baby mouse! Poor Mouse!
Working myself into a mild state of panic, I say: “Self. You should release this mouse to the wild. It solves the problem of having a mouse in the house, and ensures the mouse lives – at least for today.”
I nod to myself thinking what a humane and brave woman I am: I’m going to Release The Mouse. To the Wild. To The Wilderness of Urban Vancouver.
Right. Now, how to accomplish the releasing of the mouse to the wild.
So there’s this huge mixing bowl overturned on the counter, trapping this mouse. How do I get the mouse to the outdoors? Biting my lip, I visually survey the kitchen. My eyes finally land on two of those flexible, durable (sterilize-able) plastic cutting mats. Tada! I can seal off the top of the bowl with these!
I ever so slowly slide one of them under the rim, so that it covered almost two-thirds of the top of the bowl. Then I – with aching slowness - slid the other one under the rim from the other side, making sure to cross the two sheets very slowly so that I didn’t catch any teeny little delicate paws between the two sheets of hard-but-flexible plastic. I wouldn’t want to release a mouse to the wild that couldn’t fend for itself would I? That would be inhumane.
Once I get the cutting mats in position, I realize that while their flexibility is what aided in getting them in place – it has now become a detriment when trying to flip the bloody thing over and keep the mouse in. Hmm.
A cookie sheet! It’s rigid, flat on three sides with a raised edge on the fourth. Perfect.
Trying to make sure I don’t leave any small gaps for the mouse to somehow be in the right-place-right-time and shoot out of, I slide the cookie sheet under the bowl and two cutting mats pile. Awesome. Now what?
Now to flip it over. Carefully. Because, apparently in my mind, a four inch mouse is the size of a curled-up, ready-to-strike mongoose trying to explode from captivity and kill me.
I hold the cookie sheet by opposite edges, pinioning the bowl between my thumbs and flip the whole contraption. Quick-like-a-bunny the bowl is turned over, my hand is pressed on top – as if this tiny little weak creature is going to dislodge two cutting mats and a cookie sheet, right? The bowl is quite heavy – it’s one of those ceramic ones your grandmother had and mixed cookies in. Maybe that’s just my grandmother, but you get the idea.
I pick up the bowl, snuggling it carefully in my arms, taking care that one of my hands is gently holding the cookie sheet on top, no gaps in the edges. I take it over to the front door and call Zae, the eldest, over – who has been watching this whole time – to open the door.
She props the front door open with her foot and looks at me oddly. “You know what’s in there, right?”
“Well, yeah, Zae. It’s a mouse. I’m releasing it outside!”
“Okay.” She nods. Clearly, she respects my authority and understands that I know what is best.
I run out the door, down the step, 20 feet away from the condo building – but not near the street! – and set down the heavy bowl with the opening/cutting mats/cookie sheet at a forty degree angle to the ground. Easy to get the mouse out, even if he doesn’t want to come out, you know?
I take a quick breath to reassure myself that mice don’t attack people, then I whipped off the cookie sheet and two cutting mats, dumping the bowl over on the ground…
Only to find that I have just released to the wild: My surprise birthday cake.
Zae looks unimpressed with my finesse. Without a word, I scoop up what remains of the mostly intact cake and carry it back into the house. Using a spatula and the rest of the sprinkles I find in a cabinet, I repair the damage and replace the cake as I found it.
"Let's not mention this to Mommy," Zae suggests.
Maigen is simple. is smart. is wholesome. is skeevy. is spicy. is delicate. is better. is purer. is 100% more awesome than yesterday. She';s traveling the world and writing about her experiences with life, love, yoga, food, travel and people. Mostly people. Because they';re funny. hear more of her random thoughts @maigen on twitter.
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