May 21, 2012: As I’m trying to cook dinner, I’m having a hard time getting to the stovetop. Our two cats are positioned at the base of the range and won’t budge. I shoo them away several times to no avail. It’s like they are waiting for something to emerge, something like…prey. “Oh, boy,” I think. A mouse in the house, perhaps? No, it couldn’t be! I’m a decent housekeeper despite the fact I work full-time away from home. Surely a mouse in the house must mean I’m a lackluster homemaker, failing in my duties. I negotiate around them and finish making dinner, after which I don’t give the obsessed felines much thought. A few hours later, time to turn in for the night.
Morning light breaks through the windows six hours later. Two sets of dog paws on the bed confirm it’s time to get up, get the day going. Let the dogs out, head to the shower, after that to the kitchen. Why is the kitchen rug turned up and over on one corner? Darn cats must have been playing pretty hard during the night. [Aside: We keep them out of the bedroom at night so that we can get a decent night’s sleep. Yes, we felt guilty for a week or two when we decided that, but after a few nights of excellent sleep (with dogs at the base of the bed on their own pillows) we got over it.]
Back to the turned up rug in the kitchen.
Why is that rug folded over on one corner? Silly cats. Head to rug, unfold corner and GASP–turns out the cats had wrapped a present for me, said present being a dead mouse. Now, I used to work at a farm so seeing dead rodents is less than horrifying for me, but when you encounter one INSIDE your own home that’s a whole other story. Thoughts raced through my mind. I really was a horrible homemaker! “Our house must be filthy! Unkempt! Oh, the horror!” Then I begin thinking further into this. “Well, we do live in a semi-rural area, with an olive tree orchard across the street and just a few houses around us. But how did the mouse get in?” Really? “It’s a mouse, get over it.” So I praised the cats for the gift and their hunting prowess, showed my husband our present, and tossed it into the olive tree orchard. “Oh, no! What if it had a bazillion babies whilst under the range?!” Well, the cats will probably take care of them, too. Sound harsh? It’s just reality, and that’s what you need to face when living in the (semi) country.