"I'm sorry," I told him, "but you need to get your keys and wallet and meet me outside. We're burning this place to the ground."
We have been remarkably fortunate when it comes to living with mice or the lack thereof. The old stone house where I grew up saw an annual fall influx of mice, and because my mother had much the same attitude toward mice that I have, Much Older Sister made a tidy profit by carrying out the carcasses at a rate of 25 cents per snapped trap. During the nearly 30 years we've lived in the House on the Corner, though, we've never seen a mouse.
I had been 20 minutes into my morning sweat-fest when I saw something out of the corner of my eye: Something had moved out from under the band-saw stand in front of me. (What? Everyone doesn't arrange their woodworking and exercise tools in a harmonious melange?) I was in full faucet mode by this time so I had to blink hard to clear my eyes but there was no doubt--the thing was not a cricket. In fact, it was furry. In fact, it was--
OH MY GOSH! IT'S A MOUSE! YOIRPE! (exact transcription of the noise I made when I saw it)
You have to realize that my fear of mice greatly outstrips my fear of zombies. Or maybe I shouldn't say fear. I mean, it's hard to say I'm actually afraid of something that weighs maybe two ounces when it's full of cheese. How could I be afraid of a tiny little scurrying thing with sharp teeth and an irrational hatred of me, when the worst it could do would be to crawl up the leg of my exercise sweats....
That's why I made the yoirping noise when I saw one peeking out from under the band saw. And then I pedaled faster and it disappeared again.
Because I am totally committed to this exercise thing I finished my allotted minutes before I bid our basement farewell forever and announced to Husband that we would be house hunting and possibly fighting an arson rap.
"And I think it might have been pregnant, because it was really moving slowly," I added.
Husband, who approaches things in a more orderly manner than I do, told me to wait to do anything until he had a chance to look into the matter.
That night he came home with an assortment of traps. Spring traps. Sticky traps. Traps that allow for disposal of rodent corpses with no necessity of seeing said corpse. Traps that allow for the humane release of the mouse. (Ha! As if.) Then he set those traps all over the basement. The next morning, when I gingerly tiptoed through them to the exercise bike, I had to admire his thoroughness. They were every place a self-respecting mouse might inspect, including under the band saw and on the back of the elliptical.
Then we waited and checked. No mice the first night. Waited and checked again. No mice the second night. Or the third, or the fourth.
That's when the Great Mouse Hunter passed me over his laptop.
"That mouse didn't look anything like this, did it? And was it maybe moving slowly because the air currents from the bike moved it out from under the saw and back in?"
Maybe I should start wearing my glasses while I exercise.