Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hammin' It Up

I grew up in the country in a neat little red brick house on a corner with fields all around. The fact that our house was brick and on a cement foundation still didn't keep the mice out come winter time. My mother is TERRIFIED of mice. I don't mean moderately scared or even a little creeped out. I mean, the woman would die if one ever touched her. I'm not joking.

[So please, any mice reading this, stay away from my momma. I like her a whole lot of a bunch and would like to keep her around. No touching the momma. Squeak squeak mcsqueaker squeaken. Got that?]

My momma is so terrified of all things rodentia that the first winter in the brand new house, when my sister was a mere four or five months old, she nearly flipped her lid when she saw the first critter run across the kitchen floor. She came un. glued. But my father who worked nights and didn't want his wife dragging his two children to his work and sitting at the end of the tire assembly line for his entire shift just because she might be afraid to stay in the house alone, fixed the situation by telling her that mice can't run on carpet. He said their little toenails got snagged in the carpet and they just stayed on linoleum. She had nothing to fear if she stayed on the carpeted areas of the house while he was at work.

Now, my mother is a very intelligent woman, but bless her heart, she bought this one hook, line and sinker. I'm going to blame post-partum depression.

And all went along smoothly for awhile. My father went to work every night and after dinner, Mom never left the living room. She even laid my little sister on a blanket in the living room floor to play and nap because, hey those mice can't run on carpet, right? Well, until while watching Hee Haw or Lawrence Welk one night, a mouse came scurrying his little tail off right through the dining room and when he hit carpet, never slowed down. My sleeping baby sister didn't slow him down either -- he just jumped over her and kept on bookin' it. He very well may have been competing in some Mouse Olympic event.

I saw it all happen. Mom saw it all happen. We looked at each other and without a word drew our feet up onto the couch. Then the shrieking began. Who was going to go get the baby? "Hey, lady, I'm like, not even four, not gonna be me." "Oh no, not me either. I have to remain alive to take care of your sister because obviously you are going to perish when you go retrieve her FROM THE FLOOR WHERE MICE ARE." Although, that conversation didn't happen out loud, I'm sure it went on in our heads. It was possibly our first mother-daughter telepathy moment.

She's 60 now and still just as terrified of mice. I'm not a fan either. We haven't had one in our country house in a few years. We're surrounded by either field or forest no matter which side you look at, so mice are kind of just gonna happen. This is why we have lots of cats. The last time we had one in the house, I wore shoes pretty much 24/7, tucked my pants into my socks and upon entering any room I would stomp and declare loudly, "HELLO MOUSE. I AM ENTERING THIS ROOM. YOU ARE NOT WELCOME WHILE I AM IN HERE. PLEASE DO NOT SHOW YOURSELF UNTIL I AM GONE. OH, AND PLEASE DIE. THANK YOU." If you think I'm lying, ask my kids. I totally did that. Every time.

Over the years the kids have asked repeatedly for hamsters. And every time I say no. NO NO NO NO NONONONONONONOOOOOOOO. But in August I was obviously ate up with the stupid with all the getting ready to homeschool my children and when my oldest asked for a hamster I dismissed her with, "Ask your dad."

We now own three hamsters. Three. Rodents. Live here. With me. Inna my house.

Abby had one named Elephant (after Little Bill's pet hamster. Remember Little Bill? He was so dadgum cute!), but Elephant got bitey, so she gave him away. She then bought a Robo Dwarf (Robo is short for Roborovsky, not robot, which would've been so stinkin' epic) and named her Hanna. Hanna is the Speedy Gonzales of the hamster world. I swear I hear her squeak "Andelay! Andelay! Ariba! Ariba!" every now and then. She is adorable and loves to perform for you, but holding her is out of the question. She no likey. She jumpy.

So Abby bought a Winter White and named her Pearl. The same night, Sam bought a Winter White and named her Marley. Pearl is cuddly and lovey and possibly has an eating disorder (She stuffed 33 sunflower seeds in her cheek pouches the other night before she had to go unload. We need to take that girl to a buffet) and Marley is moody and chirps like a cicada if you mess with her on a grumpy day. The kids hold them and let them crawl all over them. They poop in their hands. Pearl pees on Abby a lot because she smells Hanna. It's like a scaled-down version of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom around here.

While I was getting the office cleaned out so it could be turned into a classroom, I was sitting in the floor cleaning out the craft cabinet. Abby decided to bring Pearl out to visit. And then Abby thought it would be HEEEELARIOUS to put the little critter in my t-shirt pocket. That was.....weird. Then she put her on the floor and Pearl, being a burrowing critter, went where it's.....warm. Yes, the hamster ran for my crotch.

There I was sitting in the floor, surrounded by Play-Doh, markers, pipe cleaners, glitter and used-up coloring books and a hamster scampering around my junk. I froze. Abby froze. Bug froze. Then without moving I squeaked, "There's. a. hamster......in.....my......CROTCH. GET. HER. OUT. ...... NOW." Abby immediately fell over in the floor, completely unable to rescue my crotch -- or the hamster -- and I wasn't about to grab the squirming little thing. I pet the dang things with one extended, shaking finger, I no grab. I also didn't dare move for fear of crushing her tiny, furry body under my gigantic booty and other stuff.

So imagine me sitting, legs splayed, arms frozen in mid-air, file folder full of Shrinky Dinks sheets in one hand, face frozen in a mask of rodent-induced horror.....and my daughters lying on their sides, clutching their bellies, laughing so hard no sound is coming out.

Yeah.

Eventually Abby regained enough composure to fish her hamster from my no-no region, a bonding experience like no other, and order was restored.

Marlin Perkins, handler of tigers and gorillas, probably would've handled a hamster in his crotch with slightly more composure. But I bet he never homeschooled his kids.

2 comments:

Barbara In Caneyhead said...

Lord help you! Mice don't scare me like that, but I can't stand the great big wood roaches that will come through looking for water. I once almost tossed my nursing baby boy up in the air when one jumped/fell off a wall and onto my shoulder!! Creepers!

Melessa said...

We are also surrounded by fields and forests and our cat "ran away" two summers ago (not coincidentally when there was a huge coyote problem in our area, but the kids haven't connected those dots). I still see a mouse or two in our house every winter and I still won't allow hamsters or gerbils. But we did cave and get a guinea pig. After reading this, I think we will stick with him.