Friday, June 25, 2010

Out of work, into class. Again.

I'm still here, just going through a rough spot in terms of free time. But guess what?

1. My full-time employment contract finally ran out, as of today. I'm actually sort of glad because...
2. I'm back in class for a second master's degree. (Accounting.)

This month was basically eat, sleep, work, go to class, study, and take tests. I didn't have time for anything else. The expired work contract means eight hours a day returned to me, so I will finally have time to do some real studying, a bit more blogging, housework, and best of all, time with the dogs.

Well, okay, that's not entirely true. I have a new task at hand that will keep me very busy for a few more weeks... That job is: Nurse.

This is my cue to give a shout out to a certain close family member (not Byrd) who, it turns out, reads my blog (see? not Byrd), and is currently in the hospital recovering from heart surgery. You know who you are, and I love ya. You, on the other hand, will be sick of me after I spend the next few weeks at your place. :)

What do you mean, I have no nursing experience? That's entirely untrue. Here I am being a fantastic nurse to our new kitten, while my sister is the doctor (circa 1985):

I don't remember what the diagnosis was, but it was nothing a fake pitcher of syrup couldn't cure!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Mouse in the House

We acquired a mouse in the house. It was not a boring old house mouse with little beady eyes and a slinky body. It was an adorable mouse, because it had enormous doe eyes and a soft round body. I think it was a Texas Mouse.

Byrd spotted this cute little creature late one evening as we were getting ready for bed; it scurried under our dishwasher as he entered the kitchen.

One flashlight, two screwdrivers, and several minutes later, we peered under the dishwasher and saw the furry little thing staring at us like a deer in headlights. I love deer, and I love little fuzzy things. The giant eyes on this little mouse seemed to plead "Help me! I shouldn't be here! I want to be outside but I can't find the way out!" Byrd thought the mouse's gaze was much less innocent and adorable, apparently, because he immediately decided to rip the dishwasher out.

I interjected with a bit of reason before Byrd went all out. I proposed to place a cereal box along the baseboard of the cabinet so that if the mouse ran out from under the dishwasher, it would run into the box. Then, a second cereal box (flattened) could be lowered over the opening, trapping the mouse inside. The box could then be stood up and taken outside where the mouse could be released.

I set up my cereal box immediately.

Byrd did not approve. In fact, he made fun of my box idea. It was not action-packed enough, I guess. Furthermore, I was a tree hugger for wanting to save the mouse. But in exchange for nonstop mocking of my box trap, he consented to catch the mouse alive.

Byrd's plan: Rip the dishwasher out of the countertop. Use the vacuum to suck up the mouse. Take the vacuum bag outside and cut it open, allowing a half-suffocated mouse to stagger meekly away.

Needless to say, I saw a lot of flaws with Byrd's plan. Undaunted, Byrd got started.

As our kitchen became more and more unusable, I dryly observed that Byrd was doing more damage and disruption than the mouse was likely to do.

But the dishwasher finally came out. We looked behind it. The mouse had smashed itself into the farthest corner, hiding in terror. In this picture you can see its little butt sticking out from behind a piece of 2x4.

Here is the video of what happens next. Basically, Byrd decides he can shove the mouse into a milk jug. And guess what really happens? (Warning! There's profanity!)

I am sad to report that the camera wasn't angled properly to catch the exciting conclusion, during which the mouse ran into the box for a SECOND time, and Byrd--whose middle name is Impatience--failed to follow my plan as outlined, e.g. by covering the box opening before picking up the box. The mouse therefore leapt from the top of the box as Byrd was moving the box upwards through the air, with the net result that Byrd practically threw the mouse on me. And there was much more screaming.

The newly emancipated mouse quickly found a hidey-hole under the oven. The oven, unlike the dishwasher, could not be torn out of the wall, much to Byrd's disgust and frustration. And that was where the evening's adventure ended.

The next day, I quietly set a mouse-sized live trap up in the kitchen, along the baseboard near the oven. It is a plastic box that tips shut when a mouse goes in; there's peanut butter in the back end as bait.

I am pleased to report that it worked as intended (albeit a few days later), and shortly thereafter I tumped a disoriented, peanut butter-covered, owl-eyed mouse out of the trap into the grass in our backyard. He was gone in a blur.

(The dogs, by the way, were useless throughout the whole event. They slept through most of the kitchen chaos, including the screaming and cursing tirades. Some days later, Star brought the live trap to my side of the bed at 3 am, when the mouse got trapped inside... though her intent was to chew into the trap, not to alert me or anything helpful like that.)