FYI: No one was injured (persons, that is) over the weekend I am about to reference, and names have been left out to protect the innocent.
It started a few weeks ago when my good friend informed me that her brother had found a five-foot snake skin on the kitchen floor of their vacation home in Blue Ridge. This is where we go every fall for a girls' getaway, so we went back and forth about what we should do. Is the snake still in there and could it still be there when we arrive for our weekend? Exactly what kind of snake was it and how did it get in the house? Is there any way it could be lodged under the beds lying in wait? We simply could not get past the uncertainty of a snake being in the house. I mean, who can sleep with that on their minds? Through much discussion we decided to re-route the trip through Jasper and stay at our friend's mother's house in Big Canoe. No worries, it's a very nice house with all the amenities you could want, nestled in the deep woods of the North Georgia foothills with a huge stone fireplace and plush living room where we could gather to relax and catch up. We were so excited. The plans were simple: to hunker down in the cabin some, take a daytrip over to Blue Ridge for our usual shopping and sightseeing, and have a weekend of laughing and gabbing since our last trip in the spring. Our sweet friend who hosted the weekend even cooked for us...yummy chicken on the grill, roasted veggies, white chicken chili, apple crumble... She had chilled wine in the fridge and a bowl of chocolates on the kitchen island. Almost paradise.
But somehow plans seem to take a turn when unexpected visitors have shown up, continue to show up, and totally outstay their welcome. When we arrived at the cabin, much to our alarm a bear had attempted to check in prior to us and had pushed through the screened door, across the porch and through the next screened door. We surmised that he had smelled burned residue from the gas grill and went in search of food. I guess the little guy was hungry. If we hadn't seen the paw prints on the screen, we would have been left to our own imaginations as to what possibly could've happened to that torn screen and even second-guessed ourselves as to whether it really was a bear. But there was the paw print, clear as day. And if the paw print wasn't enough, there was a pile of bear scat next to the walkway. In my opinion it looked like a big bear, but what do I know about bear excrement? I felt like we had gone from the frying pan of snake-fear into the fire of bear-fear, if you know what I mean. But, hey, we know bears are up in them thar hills, and it's not like we were in a tent with a piece of thin waterproof fabric between us. I mean, this is a beautiful cabin with solid walls and secure windows and doors. We were safe within from the critters without. No worries.
That is until we saw the mouse. One of us saw it first and, to her annoyance, the rest of us weren't quite sure if she had really seen a mouse or if she was in a semi food-induced coma from our meal and the late hour. Until I myself saw the mouse. It skedaddled across the floor and jolted me from my dozing in and out on the sofa to the reality of what appears to be a common occurrence of bunking in the woods. I have never seen grown women squeal and jump around the room like we did. Then all feet went off the floor and we put our heads together to see how we, four level-headed women who had overcome their instinct to bolt to the car to sleep, could conquer this enemy of roughly three inches (including the tail) and weighing in about three ounces. It is amazing a room can go from quiet chitchat to high-pitched frantic expletives when a mouse shows up. I'm sure that little guy left a trail of pee from the shrieking (you know they do that, right, -- leave a trail of pee I mean -- I learned that this weekend). Our friend who was hosting hustled to find mouse traps and expertly placed them in strategic positions to attract the little devil and trap him when he appeared again, for he had slipped into a small crack in the fireplace hearth. The sheer fact that there was an assortment of mouse traps readily available in the cabin was enough to make this gal very uneasy. Hands down, it was evident that they'd had these visitors before. As we finally went to bed around 2:00 a.m., he decided to emerge right onto the sticky rodent pad and we left him there to die alone in the night. So sad, but so very necessary.
To our disappointment, he was still alive the next morning. It was quite pitiful as he struggled to free himself and once more we were in a dilemma as to what to do. I do not like mice, but my heart hurt a little for him. In my years as a wife, mother, grandmother, and brave woman of the world, I have never killed a mouse and I am NOT about to begin now. So we did what any sane women would do. We put a bowl over him, weighed it down with a flashlight, and went about our day. Which was a lovely day I might add, until we got back to the cabin that night and found another mouse on the pad next to the first one (also stuck and also trying to break free), and we promptly covered him up with a bowl as well. Dirty work done. We would leave them there to die together. At least they wouldn't die alone now. When I think about how we walked around those bowls on the floor stuck to the rodent pads and how secure we felt simply because they were trapped, I chuckle about our false sense of security. For all we knew, there could've been dozens of mice that came out of the woodwork to scurry around our beds at night. But, hey, the ones we could see were contained, and that's all that really mattered! Now is the time I might add that one of our cabin-mates didn't seem to be bothered as much by our fuzzy friends. She had once killed a rattlesnake in her garage when she was a single mom, so nothing -- I mean nothing -- could compare to that act of valiance, and we applauded her for her bravery. But somehow having her there did not give me the peace I was looking for. Just like the insecurity of the snake, could there be other toe-nipping rodents lurking nearby, or were we in the clear?
On the last night of our trip, we had an uneventful evening and ended our weekend with a movie by our makeshift mouse grave (only because it was near the TV). Our hostess along with our friend of valor (aka, the snake lady) scooped up the mousal carnage and took it outside to place our unwelcomed visitors in their final resting place. But, alas, they lived on under the bowls and, much to their dismay, these determined women were forced to bring the even more determined mice to their final rest. For you mice-loving folks out there if you exist, I will not say how they did this, but there's something you must understand...we were desperate. When they came in and told us that finally, once and for all, the mice were dead I thought to myself Who are these gallant creatures and what have they done with our friends? I simply could not believe how they were brave enough to do such a gruesome task late at night on the top of a mountain in the middle of bear country. But all I knew was my third friend and I (the two oldest in the group by nine years) did NOT have to kill mice over the weekend and that is simply all I cared about. After all, being the eldest of the group should carry some benefit, right?
We cut our weekend short by a day. I think I was just too exhausted to deal with another critter and wanted to go home and sleep in the security of my own bed, free from the fear of snakes, bears, and furry little toe-nippers. I rested like a champ.
The moral of this story:
1. Never, ever use the sticky pad mouse traps. They are a bit inhumane and if you have any compassion in your heart for God's little creatures, even if they are God's annoying little creatures, do it the quick and emotionally painless way (well, mostly).
2. Never underestimate the power of women when they band together. If there is a group of women who are on a mission, no matter how scary or hard it might be, they will -- repeat will -- get it done.
3. Always remember to use your seniority to achieve the outcome you desire, even if it is selfish.
And especially if you, like me, are a big fat chicken.
Posted by CC
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