Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Magic Kingdom

With all the snowbirds snuggled in their hammocks under palm trees, or the throngs of race fans getting ready to inhale some CO2 in Daytona, it must be getting fairly crowded in Florida. Maybe the mortgage crisis in the U.S. has forced residents to relocate to the near north. I'm not quite certain of the exact reason but it seems these days Mickey has found a new place to reside...under our kitchen sink.

I stand corrected. Mickey and all his friends have relocated to this old farmhouse. I don't know how many friends he actually has, so I may not be exaggerating and quite honestly, I don't want to think about how many there are that we can't see. Up until now, I haven't wanted to see the ones we have known about, aka trapped, which to date totals four or five, we're not sure. You see there was a little cannibalism incident of which, thankfully, only my husband witnessed the um, uh..sorry...the remains of, and since we caught sight of one more after that, we can't be certain that he was the offender or if the real offender perhaps suffered from food poisoning, so to speak.

It was our younger cat, Whiskers, who first tipped us off to the squatters under the sink. Her sudden departure from lounging all day in my reading nook to staring incessantly under the stove had us a little concerned. "She probably sees a bug" my husband offered up, perhaps a little too quickly I think now when I hit the rewind button. "Well, we still have mosquitoes and flies in January so you just may be right" I proffered in return. Whoever said denial can't help a girl sleep? I slept well that night and the next morning I wasn't the least bit upset not to have received my usual 4am wake up call from two cats anxious to be served their breakfast. It wasn't out of any concern for my beauty sleep however that I had been abandoned, for it appeared Whiskers had spent the night on rat patrol.

Later that morning, my husband called me at work while on his way to the hardware store to buy traps and rat poison, wanting to fill me in on horror stories he had discovered online about rats that dig tunnels through your basement, giving me details on the very large size of traps needed to catch just such rats. "Just get rid of them" was all I could muster in return. I came home to find a few boxes of 'mouse treat' ready to go into action that night. 'Mouse treat?' I thought to myself. Surely the manufacturer could have come up with something more original than that? I came up with my own slogan.."Rat Treat so they'll Retreat". Apparently the retreat part takes a little time, so the hunt began, each morning 'catching' one more than the day before, except for, of course, the one day when there was only a partial bit more than the day before. We were instructed to leave more poison out each day until it was no longer being consumed. I'm sure you've already reached the same conclusion we did, they were hungry and the treats were devoured voraciously. After a few days, the treat dish finally remained full and the trap empty.

Now almost a week later, it's pretty easy to say Whiskers is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. Her routine is still off kilter. She wanders through the kitchen sniffing along the cupboards hoping for a chance to catch another whiff of fresh game. She leaves her toy mouse under the kitchen mat, perhaps hoping to entice another little cheese lover to come out of hiding or just maybe she thinks Mickey is in need of a new friend.

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