Saturday, July 05, 2008

of mice and dykes

so i live on the first floor of a lovely old house in the deering area of portlandtown...lovely because it's all hardwood floors, tall ceilings, lotsa windows, working fireplace. old because it's, well, old. i don't know when the house was built, but surely it's been around for close to a century. i instinctively know that such places may indeed house a mouse on occasion, and i learned this morning that there's a little fella co-habitating with me. good freaking gawd.

like all good card-carrying dykes, i have two cats, willie and oscar, whom i've written about before on The Slant (see label: Dykes Love Their Pets.) i discovered our new roommate this morning as i was sitting on my couch sipping my first cup of coffee and watching an especially rambunctious and acrobatic willie chasing around what i sleepily thought was one of his cat toys. only this cat toy was, um...animated (when did i buy a wind-up toy, and who the hell wound it up??), and willie seemed unusually engaged with it (he normally has a very short attention span, and cat toys are interesting to him for about 2 minutes).

when the coffee finally kicked in and it dawned on me that this was not a cat toy but a real. live. mouse, i suddenly became Darlene the Wimp Dyke and went from sitting on my couch to standing on it and sort of jumping up and down (wtf?). and making noises that were likely interpreted by neighbors as Darlene-has-a-talented-overnight-guest OR Darlene-is-being-murdered. um yeah. (amazing how those two very different situations can elicit similar gutteral screams. and THAT, queers and gents, is just a whole different post altogether.) annnnnyway, i quickly shifted from screech mode to catatonic state (nice, CAT-atonic) for the next five minutes, just standing on the couch, speechless and unable to move. brilliant. once i worked myself through this short but powerful episode of post-traumatic stress syndrome, i stepped off the couch, very, very carefully, to plot My. Next. Bold. Move.

i vacillated between rooting for willie (please euthanize this little rodent) and being a good Buddhist who should save the little fella's life. only there was no way in hell i was even going to attempt to grab the damn thing myself. not gonna happen. there was a little glass bowl sitting on my dining room table, so i thought, hmmm, maybe i can trap him underneath the bowl and figure out how to slide him along the floor to the door. yeah. right.

the ensuing scene was just. utterly. ridiculous. willie and i both were clearly outmatched by the mouse. i was better equipped to follow his trail (willie is cute, but not savvy) but the mouse was very good at finding little things to hide behind. in one frantic moment, i was almost certain i had him cornered, and had my bowl in hand, ready to pounce, cover, and slide. then willie jumped in front of me, swatted a paw at the mouse and missed him by a good three which point i gave him the "what the fuck willie?" look and he gave me the "oh and you're faring so much better than me right now, asshole" look in return. and the little guy, recognizing the overall lack of a concrete plan and current infighting of his enemies, seized the moment, ran at about a buck-forty into the kitchen, and found the narrow, conveniently-mouse-sized-and-otherwise-unreachable space between my sink and counter, where i assume he is now hiding. and let me say, he seemed to know exactly where he was heading, enough so that i'm certain this was his predetermined evacuation route. i admire the smart little shit, no doubt about it. willie seems to be keeping vigil in that general area, looking defeated yet determined, but it's been 30 minutes, and no sign of Mr. Mouse.

which means there is now a mouse inside my house. in most scenarios, it would bode well for my team...two cats and a dyke, right? but i'm not sure we three are well-schooled enough to outsmart this guy. and i am more than a little disturbed by the notion that he could emerge at any time, particularly while i'm standing at the sink doing dishes or something pseudo-domestic. i cannot believe i am this intimidated by a creature no bigger than, well, a really small mouse. but i am.

what to do, what to do. co-habitation is not an option i want to consider because it's just, um, freaky to me. and it can't be sanitary. eh. i suppose i should just leave it up to the cats. but there is still that Buddhist-love-all-creatures-and-do-no-harm thang nagging at me. i wish i could figure out a way to trap him and release him to the great outdoors and wish him a happy independence day. literally.

suggestions from Slant readers are whole-heartedly welcomed. (for some reason i feel like Dawn from MDI is gonna have one hell of an entertaining comment.) in the meantime, i'll just be here, on beacon street, standing on my couch. really, i'll be fine.


Dawn on MDI said...

No butch points for you!

Actually, I think this loses you butch points. Good grief.

Now that I have stopped laughing, have mopped up the coffee from the table and wiped between the keys on my laptop, I might have something a little amusing to offer. I make no promises. Once coffee comes out my nose, all bets are off for my ability to be witty or funny.

You and Swimmer would make such a pair. He had a very similar experience in his apartment in Westbrook, only his cat looked at him that day as if to say "you're on your own, pal. You just had me de-clawed, remember? You catch it if you want it caught." Yeah, big guy screamed like a girl and danced around on the couch on his tiptoes.

Try to take a Zen approach to this. Allow the water to flow around the rock. The cat will be entertained. The mouse will eventually be eliminated, and may even provide a protein-rich snack for the cats. If not, put on some latex gloves (you do have them, right?) and dispose of the unfortunate creature in whatever manner befits your spiritual traditions.

Have you not seen the Lion King? Do you not understand that this is just all that circle of life thing? The cats will get to be cats, the mouse will get to be a mouse (a less fortunate job in this scenario) and you, apparently, will get to be the girly girl. Maybe you should buy a skirt just so you can hold the hem up while you dance on the furniture! WooHoo!

In the meantime, keep cereals and rice and stuff in plastic tubs, and call Jen to find an environmentally friendly, perhaps non-violent way to get rid of your mouse.

Goddess alive, I haven't laughed that hard in ages! I can't wait to see you in a couple weeks!

toklas23 said...

oh i knew that a loss of butch points was the inevitable cost of this. but a skirt? that was harsh my friend, even for you.

good suggestion about calling ms. jen on this one. at the very least she'll get a hearty laugh out of it.

and i aim to entertain.

Dawn on MDI said...


Harsh is a term I use to describe the burning sensation in my sinuses when coffee comes out my nose.

Fair's fair, I say.

j said...

Uhm. See, consensus amongst a certain group of Portland Femmes is that Butches DO NOT do bugs. I assume that this may apply to mice as well. Femmes kill bugs.

My particular Femme is unable to assist at the moment but perhaps you can find another who would help you trap your mouse?

I'd offer I don't do bugs or mice.

Dawn on MDI said...

Hey! Spiders are not bugs. They are far nastier than bugs. Mice are prey for the shorter members of the household. Bugs are fine. Spiders are very, very different. They have nothing to do with butch or femme and everything to do with too many legs and eyes. Eww. There is no loss of butch points for spider-dancing. I call it.

toklas23 said...

i am clearly behind on my "how to be a proper butch" reading as i had no idea about all these damn rules regarding bugs and spiders and mice, oh my.

however, i can appreciate j.'s line of know, turn an embarrassing dyke wimpish situation into an opportunity.

yes indeed.

allison said...

sweetheart, this may well be your funniest post ever, right up there with 'slightly alive means mostly dead.'

i'm also enjoying the back and forth in the comment area. though i have to say, as a femme from philly, i am not going anywhere near a bug. or a spider. and never, ever, a mouse. not even for someone as cute as you, huntress.

so babe, you'll have to find another girl for this particular cause.


MRMacrum said...

Dawn - You are such a bad ass.Butch points indeed.

Like Dawn we take mice as they come and figure they offer the indoor crew some of the same entertainment our outdoor crew gets.

As to the non violent way to get rid of mice - Would using a smaller brick give me points in that direction?

I once woke up on the couch at dark-thirty with the TV on some channel in the middle of an Andy Griffith marathon I think. I threw my legs over the edge to get up and go to bed. Before I got up, Andy and Barney's antics made me pause a moment while I tried to figure out if it was still the new century or had I been transported back to the 50s. My bare left foot suddenly felt tingly. I looked down and sitting on my foot holding a morsel of some kind was this mouse. It looked up at me as I looked down at it.

A word of advice - Always wake up fully before deciding to stomp on a mouse that is sitting on your other foot. I missed my target and the collateral damage hurt like Hell.