Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Muroidea on the Loose!

Living out in the country, mice are common. Even for those who have lots and lots and lots of cats are likely to have a few persistent fellas who migrate in out of the fields, drawn by tales of the Great Food Rush of 18.049. (Mouse years are much shorter than ours.) Those who have cat-killing dogs have an uphill battle with mice. Not that I ever knew anyone like that.

What is not so common, far from the cities and landfills, is the large muroid, Rattus rattus: the rat. Somehow Tina, even with her plethora of cats, has acquired one in her garage. (To head off scientific corrections before they start, let me say that it is possible that her new resident is a member of Rattus norvegicus. However, in the presence of an eyewitness - however unreliable - alleging that the rodent is black, I have opted for the likelier choice of Rattus rattus.)

Now, we like rats. Growing up, we had them for pets. They were funny, intelligent, and very, very loving. They rode everywhere on our shoulders. Once I even accidentally took one with me to choir practice. There was an extra rehearsal coming up on a performance, and I totally forgot about the baby rat curled up asleep in my Special Womanpurse. That is, until my bosom began heaving quite independently right in the middle of a song.

So this new rat was more a source of curiosity than panic. Of course it did eat Grandpa's Christmas present, but people who store peanuts in a garage known to have a large rodent inside have to expect things like that to happen. Tina has even good-naturedly teased her children about having their toes nibbled in the night, ha ha.

The other morning, as Tina got up to take her shower, Laura was still fast asleep. Creeping over to the bed, Tina reached under the covers at the foot of the bed and began to pinch Laura's feet. Pinch, pinch. Pinch. Pinch, pinch, pinch, pinch. Will this child never wake up? Pinch, pinch, pinch.

At last her efforts bore fruit. Laura sprang awake with a roaring shriek.


I'd have a picture for you, if only Tina had taken one.

Until the next adventure,
Noni Beth

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