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Monday, May 16, 2005

Live And Let Die

My family has lived out in the middle of nowhere for about six years. We came from the city of Chicago trying to escape traffic and over population. My sister Angie lived out here back then and assured me I would not only love it, but said we would be near each other once again, like the good old days.

My darling sister ditched me for a guy and to move to the burbs less than a year after we settled. I'll never let her live that down. I guess that city mouse just never really liked it here. Me, on the other hand, I've turned my hurried city ways around and have really gotten into this country mouse lifestyle.

I love watching the sun come up without buildings blocking my view. I love the wildlife, and trust me there's plenty of that out here. One morning, Mr. Lane and I were sitting at the kitchen table having coffee. He got up, and opened the blinds on our sliding glass door just in time to see a doe skipping through our backyard.

"Get my shotgun, honey! Yeeehaw!"

I'm just kidding, we aren't hunters, don't even own a gun. I just wanted to make sure you were paying attention. Because, out in the middle of nowhere, attention is key. You never know when the wildlife you encounter is going to change your life for good.

I've written about the overpopulation of cats before and what we do to combat that situation.

My kids and I volunteer for a local animal sanctuary. We also take injured or orphaned animals into our home when the sanctuary is full. The amount of animals to grace our threshold, is too numerous to count, but they have changed our lives. My kids are relentless about bringing me half dead animals to "fix". One year they brought me a newborn field mouse. It didn't even have its fur yet and was wandering blindly and they scooped it up and brought it to me.

After two weeks of feeding the tiny thing a drop of watered down baby formula every hour, he grew his hair and strength. I made a habitat for him out of one of my gunboat shoeboxes, complete with toilet paper rollers for him to walk through. I told the kids not to get attached because when he was ready, I was going to set him free.

For the next two weeks, I hid his food to teach him to forage. I was thrilled that the little guy was ready to go. But, before we set him free, he found his way out of the shoe box. (He ate a hole through the side.) He was missing. We looked everywhere and couldn't find him. Assuming he found his way out of the house, we all but forgot about "Mr. Bo Jangles" (as dubbed by the children) and we went on with our lives.

A couple of weeks later, I saw something dart behind the refrigerator. It took nearly an hour to catch the little shit but finally healthy as an ox, and as fast as lightning, the field mouse was released into a neighboring farmer's field. Where he was no doubt, eaten by a hungry bird. Ahhh, the circle of life!

Actually, I don't think he was eaten by a hungry bird. I think he's found his way back home. That's right, I have a mouse in my house. This one, Mr. Bo Jangles or not, was not invited. This mouse also is not scared of the two stupid cats who live here. This little country mouse probably saw the sign out back that undoubtedly says, "Suckers inside. Help yourself to their stuff and while you're at it, crap in their kitchen cabinet under the sink because that is their favorite thing. Also pay no attention to the two cats who also reside here because they are too busy licking their crotches to chase you."

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Here, we have Patches. She was one of the first orphaned kitties we encountered. She was and still is a mean little bitch of a cat. The kind that will attack your nekkid legs as you walk out of the shower. Will the bitch chase a mouse? Fuck no!

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Next we have Guido The Killer Cat From Hell. He certainly isn't living up to his name! All this stupid bastard cares about is food. People food.

What the hell are these cats here for anyhow? They are by far the laziest cats on earth! I understand most cats at the age of 16 years, like Guido, are either dead or sleep most of the day away. I would, however, expect that a cat who sees a mouse, no matter the cat's age, would at least make an attempt to kill the mouse. Not Guido.

He was in the kitchen with me late one night. Patches was off licking her crotch somewhere and we saw it, a mouse. Do you think the fucking cat would have jumped off of my lap? Do you think he might have at least gotten excited? Do you have a fucking pulse cat?

I learned that night, the battle was up to me. I am a true animal lover. Do you know how hard it is for me to kill anything? I really am a sap underneath this tough bitch exterior. So I went out the next day and bought some "live traps" that would catch, not kill. Seemed like a good idea at the time. I even knew just where I'd release the little fella.

Fast forward to the next night. It wasn't one mouse, this guy brought friends. It sounded like they were playing basketball in my crawlspace under the house. I put a trap down there, one behind the washer and dryer, one in the garage, and one under my kitchen sink. I put a hunk of peanut butter way in the back of each trap and smeared a little on the little trap doorways.

They are making a fool of me, I swear. These mice are laughing at me and my traps. Late last night I saw two mice working together, one crawling into the trap grabbing all the peanut butter it could hold, while the other held the fucking door open for him.

And I think I even heard one of them say, "Hey Lois, I got yer friggin' trap ova here!" and I swear I saw the little bastard grab his crotch.

Today, the jig is up. And while I feel like Bill Murray in Caddy Shack, I'm ready for battle, a battle I shall not lose. No more Mrs. Nice Guy! No more live, save a fucking life traps. No more mice doing jumping jacks, playing basketball, running a relay right past my stupid fucking cats, no more making a mockery out of me! This is fargin' war!