Christmas Visitor

My mom has one voice that I associate with all of the miserable mornings she demanded that I get up for high school (I was and am a horrible morning person). This morning, as I was content to sleep in, remaining nestled with my little dog Pepe, the voice of yesteryear appeared back at my bedroom door: you have to help me (cringe).

I couldn’t decide if she was in medical distress so I sprang from the bed and sped out to the kitchen after her where she frantically explained that a mouse (“or rat”) had run INTO the house from the back door. My paralysis was almost immediate. However, after a few cardiac-altering seconds, I grabbed the most effective mouse-chasing implement duo I could find: a roll of wrapping paper and a Swiffer. My mom’s chosen arsenal took the shape of a broom and the pool net. At this point, the mouse was behind the couch and the dogs were going insane. The couch was moved, the mouse (confirmed, in my quick assessment, by its relative size and cuteness) raced like a blur back and forth into every corner, up the wall, across the kitchen counter – where it levitated like something out of a modern martial arts movie – and then raced back down the counter, around the corner into the pantry. My mom, the hero, very calmly started to move things out of its way.

Break in story: by this time, I had screamed no less than a dozen times at the top of my lungs like a little girl, doing my part in the hunt by flourishing both of my implements like light sabers in the direction of Fievel.

I refused to put my limbs in danger, but DJ was less concerned about the safety of her digits (or rodent-borne illness) and continued to reach into the closet to remove things. I heard the miniature beast scrambling. DJ had the presence of mind to open the door to the garage and the actual garage door; I’m fairly sure I was still squealing as I started to see neighbors strolling by on their morning business. We were taking the last item out of the pantry (i.e. the last thing it could hide behind) when I looked up to see a man walking a three-legged dog, staring at me like I was some kind of alien beamed from the sky (my mom had told me about this new neighbor several times though I had never seen said human or dog and thought she might be completely losing it). Granted, the vision he saw consisted of me wearing my signature mini (pink) nightgown, rooster hair that had formed a peak on my head, dark-rimmed glasses, wrapping paper roll in one hand and Swiffer in the other. Still, I found humor in the fact that a man casually walking a three-legged dog would be gawking at me like I was somehow out of place. The dog’s amazingly capable three-legged body was just ambling from view when my mom yelled something like, “DON’T LET IT GET PAST YOU,” (as if I had any intention of stopping it should it pass my defense mechanisms); Fievel, our Christmas Mouse, shot out of the pantry, slamming into the garage door and sort of half-sliding/half-flying, catapulted himself into the garage. My mom, who has never in my 39 years moved so quickly, slammed the door shut and (cool as a cucumber) walked back into the kitchen, still brandishing her pool net in one hand. I can honestly report that I was of little to no use.  DJ single-handedly saved the day.

If you’re wondering – the dogs were rendered useless by the entire scenario as well. DJ had somehow wrangled them into their kennels, and they were so traumatized by the scene that they went mute, opting instead to stare after their humans in utter, confused horror. They huddled on the couch, together, while recovering from their apparent trauma for hours.




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