Earlier this week, in the dead of night, my better half Amanda woke me just after feeding our 2 month old daughter Siena. She was going on about seeing a mouse but my sleep addled mind waved her concerns off and told her to go to sleep.
Then 2 days later in the evening I was leaving soccer training at around 8.45 pm when I received a phone call.
I fumbled around in my pocket and saw that it was my Amanda as I answered.
“Where are you?”
When all niceties are out of the window on the very first line of dialogue, especially when it’s my wife, I know something’s up.
“I’m just leaving babe you ok?” My response was cautious, prodding softly at the unstable atom of feeling emanating through the phone. Her reply was swift and desperate.
“The f…ing mouse is back honey, oh my god what are we going to do, honey? It flew out of the hole, it was so fast, booo hoo hoo hoo. It ran into the theatre room, what are we going to do babe, WHAT are we going to DO?! It’s in there babe, it’s in there now. I’ve locked it in, but they can squeeze under the gap of the door, they can you know, they can flatten their bodies and get anywhere, I’ve put towels to block the gap, its trapped now. Hurry up babe it’s in there all over Niki’s things. Oh my god honey oh my god, hurry UP I’m on the couch!”
I chuckled despite the desperation in her voice and in a condescending tone of voice said to her “It’s ok babe, I’m about 20 minutes away, calm down. It’s just a tiny little mouse babe. They are scared of us. Just sit tight and I’ll be home soon. Don’t worry I’ll catch it when I get home ok? Just stay calm….We’ll take care of it baby”.
“Ok be quick”.
“I will see you soon babe, love you”.
“Love you too”. Her reply was painted in anguish, a desperate fear so out of proportion to the threat posed to her that once again I couldn’t help but laugh again as I hung up.
As I drove home I thought about the absolutely irrational fear that women seem to have towards these little critters. Rats I can understand, cockroaches and ugly skin crawling insects, sure, but mice? Cute, tiny, sweet, innocent little mice? Wiggling their cute little noses, nibbling on bits of cheese and going about their quiet little business and back to their cosy little holes when they’re done? Give me a break.
But the other part of me seized the situation. …time for daddy to come home and save the day. There were some guaranteed brownie points at the end of this ride. I was the shining knight, the protector, galloping home to do what’s best for his charges. Once I got there, everything would be ok.
Walking in the door I was greeted with a hilarious sight, my poor dear hadn’t moved. She was STANDING on the couch and seriously had held the same position for the 20 minutes after our conversation, muscles rigid with fear and a face given to an odd sort of crazed savagery as it bore the TV’s frenzied reflection. Her vulnerability was so attractive. It was time to save the day and claim the spoils of victory.
I walked casually into the room and straight away spotted the mouse. The tiny brown little critter obviously spotted me as well because it bolted under the couch. I followed as best I could but the room is a mess and I was quickly outsmarted. I searched and searched, turning over toys, dragging furniture, shuffling paper and getting on like a gorilla might, had he have been forced into wearing a pink tutu.
Alas the fight was lost and I went out to confess that the mouse had escaped.
Needless to say Amanda was not amused and any celebration in my honour was postponed indefinitely.
I appeased her concerns by saying that the mouse would scurry back to its hole sooner or later and that I would resolve the issue with a humane rat trap from Bunnings on the morrow, as I had the next morning off. We went to bed and Amanda courageously rose and fed Siena in the other room for the 3am ritual.
The next day I rose and started going about a couple jobs that the still shaken Amanda had given me before she took the girls out on her rounds. I was still thinking about the mouse and the havoc the tiny creature had wreaked on our household. I gathered up some bags and headed to the outside bin, quietly giggling about the feebleness of the female race when a little leaf floated onto my foot.
It was a high pitched, sickening, cowardly sound that would have left any self-respecting man disgusted and aghast. The decibels were at red alert volume and had there have been a light pole next to me; I would have been atop it. There was no one around to witness my humiliation, though I’m sure many heard it. It’s true, I had thought the leaf a mouse.
After a short sit down to collect my wits and fallen pride, I went straight to Bunnings. The mouse still has not been caught but with the amount of ammunition I bought that day, I feel it must only be a matter of time.