Yesterday at noon my mother calls me at work (as you may remember she and my father are visiting for a couple weeks). The phone rings. I check the caller ID.
Me: Hello (Trying to keep the ‘now what?’ out of my voice).
Usually she calls to ask me where I keep something. But it doesn’t come off like a simple inquiry. It sounds more like she's accusing me of not having said item and when I am able to direct her to it, I get the sense that if I kept it in the logical place (ie. where SHE keeps it) she would not be wasting our time with this call.
She: Hi. pause, sigh. You’re probably not going to want to hear this.
OH…FRICKIN...NO….. She has flooded the basement/killed my father/dumped out the liquor/invited missionaries in/what else? Think, OMG, what has she done? Wait…..she called on her cell phone. Maybe that’s because I have no house….. That’s it. She has put hot ashes in the garbage and burned down our house. Never mind that we haven't used the fireplace, this woman is resourceful.
But…..waitjustadarnminute…… Isn’t that the phrase I used to use when I called her at work to impart some bad news? As in: ‘Mom, you probably don’t want to hear this but your son is skateboarding down Broadway in your wedding dress.’ Could this be a joke? That’s it. She’s messing with me.
Me: Hear whaaat?
Come on, tell me you’re kidding.
She: I have CatTwo locked in your bedroom.
Me: WHY? ;-)
She: She has a rat in there.
Okay, she’s been drinking the liquor. On the other hand, CatTwo is pretty good about bringing home her share of the bacon. And our neighbors down the hill have a bad, nasty woodpile where I have seen some very ‘big mice’ on occasion.
Me: Can’t you pick it up with a shovel or something?
She: another pause It’s still alive.
Me: Alive. Not a question.
She: Yes, I don’t think it’s even wounded. It moves really fast.
Me: Any idea how she got it in there?
She: Well, I let her in the house. I guess she had it with her.
Me: (yeah, I know I shouldn’t have said it) And you didn’t notice a big ole RAT hanging from her mouth???????
She: I’m sorry! I was making the frosting for your bars. Of course, my fault, Alpha has a team potluck tonight and Mom volunteered to take the brownie baking off my hands.
Let me think, I’m only about 3 days behind at work. I have two reports due the next morning. One half-finished, one not started. Homer would be no help. Even if he could get away from work, I don’t think he could hop fast enough to catch a rat – being injured and all.
Me: sigh I’ll be home in half an hour.
I pack up my reports and other work, brief my boss and head out. I’m driving home, trying to plot a strategy. I take mental inventory of my bedroom: 67 pairs of shoes on my closet floor, multiple boxes of stuff jammed under the bed, the dressers have great rodent hidey holes underneath, the man-closet has backpacks, hiking gear and half his wardrobe on the floor. I start to feel defeated. This is going to be an all day project.
Arrive home. Status update: Cat and, presumably, Rat are still in bedroom. Mom has armed herself with a hammer, traded her Crocs for ankle boots and has tucked her pants into her socks. I deem the sock idea a good one. I grab the mop and a huge plastic container. I’m thinking if the cat would just catch the rat again, I’ll simply pick up the cat and put them both in the container, put on the lid and escort them outside. Turns out that was a bit optimistic.
My dad announces that he’s going to take a shower – DOWNSTAIRS. This is so totally NOT his problem. Thanks, Dad!
So Mom and I head to battle. A rat SWAT team of two. It takes about an hour of picking stuff off the floor and carefully poking things out from under the bed. We gradually get braver. At last the rat is exposed! Much excitement! Cat pounces, rat runs, Mom jumps, hammer flies, hits my knee! Before I blacked out from the pain, I see blur of gray run towards the bathroom door. From that point, it didn’t go so well for the rat. I will spare you the grisly details but let’s just say the rat is no longer a problem. CatTwo is rather confused and a bit slighted. Mom is going around and around blaming the woodpile owners (she’s going to call the health department), blaming the cat, and blaming herself for letting the cat in, although she swears if the rat had been in her mouth, she certainly would have noticed.
What! Did she have it in her pocket, Mom?
I get into work the next day and my boss has written me a poem (sometimes she's cool like that). I think she has hidden rapper tendencies.
The Rat Race
The cat brought the rat
to chase ‘round the place.
The rat ran and squeeked
while the family freaked.
CatTwo was the herder
And Jane did the murder;
Did the deed with a door.
So the rat will grace the woodpile no more.