We got out on the bikes yesterday, but today we awoke to snow on the ground and strong, cold winds playing havoc with people who ventured outside. So, the bikes will stay tucked inside the house for now, and so will we. Time to sit snugly at the laptop and get back to my story about AC and his “Close Encounters” of the furry kind.
A few years after the “mice in the car” traumas, we once again found ourselves at the family cottage for our summer holiday. The cabin had been empty for quite some time before we got there, and the mice population was very high. I think the mice thought they owned the place and considered us the intruders. I guess we were, seeing as they used the property far more than we did.
We spent the first day there thoroughly cleaning up the cabin and getting it ready for our holiday. We opened windows, aired out bedding, stocked the fridge, filled the cupboards and swept out corners. It was a hard day’s work, but then everything was clean and ready for our little family to enjoy.
We went to bed that night and could hear the mice running in the walls chewing this and that, but we had the perfect solution this year, our cat. Yep we brought our cat with us and he would walk the perimeter while we slept, and would keep us mouse-free inside the cabin. The furry little critters could frolic to their heart’s content inside the walls if they wanted to or go out and party till dawn in the forest. We could live side by side with the wildlife in perfect peace and harmony. We had all the angles covered this year, so no worries.
It was a bit unnerving to hear the mice scampering about inside our bedroom wall when we went to bed at night, but, as long as they stayed there, we would be OK. Cats like to prowl at night; so we went to sleep knowing that our trusty cat, Dixie, was on guard and we would be safe. Oh sure!!!!
Nobody told us that cats have to be taught as kittens how to hunt and kill mice. Our old housecat apparently never went to that kitten school. He was old, well-fed and lazy …need I say more?
We set traps each night to help the cat if things got out of hand, and sure enough, each morning the traps were full. Goodness, this was a bad year (or good year) for mice, but the traps and the cat should keep things under control. Right? Wrong.
We were in bed early one morning, and I was in a deep, deep sleep. All of a sudden AC sat bolt upright in bed, made an ungodly guttural sound and grabbed his chest. He thrashed about and continued to make horrible sounds. This roused me from the deepest depths of dreamland, but I was still in the stupor that comes with that kind of deep sleep. I didn’t know where I was, who I was, or what was happening. After a second or two I realized that AC was having some sort of spasm. The first thing that popped into my fuzzy head was: “Oh dear God, he is having a heart attack, and here we are in the middle of nowhere, with no phone and no neighbours close enough to call for help.”
At this point AC threw back the covers and jumped out of bed. He continued to grab and thump at his chest while making horrible grunting sounds. He flailed his arms about madly as he jumped and thumped his feet on the floor. Maybe 5 or 10 seconds at most had passed since I had been in my deep sleep, and I was still trying to process what in the world was going on.
By this time I was kneeling on the bed, holding the covers up to my face, watching AC thrash about beside the bed. The second thought that popped into my head was: “I don’t think people having heart attacks jump around like this and make all this noise.”
AC then started to move his “dance” outside the bedroom. He thrashed and jumped and grunted his way out the door. As he did so a third thought popped into my clearing head: “A mouse! Oh no, he must have a mouse in his pyjama’s!” And he did!!!!!
Isn’t it amazing how lightening-fast one’s mind works and where it goes during times of stress? I had only been awake for maybe 15 seconds at this point, and I was shaking from the rude awakening I'd received, but my mind clicked into gear. As I saw AC’s back disappearing through the bedroom door, I remembered reading an article at some point in the past about mice and how they travel along scent paths. The article went on to say that if you happened to be standing on their scent path when they where on their way back to the nest, they would go up you and over you instead of around you. My mind whirred and spun, and it dawned on me that if AC did in fact have a mouse in his pyjamas, and the mouse had once been in this bed, then once it got out of his pj’s it would come back up over the bed on the way back to its nest, and….. I was still in the bed. Yikes! I needed to go on the offensive, so I quickly reached over and slammed the bedroom door shut.
I remained kneeling on the bed holding the wad of covers up to my mouth while AC thumped and bumped and made terrible noises out in the living room. All of a sudden, all was quiet out there. Maybe 20 seconds had passed since we had both been sound asleep – it seemed like 20 hours though.
As I knelt on the bed shaking, the bedroom door slowly creaked open. There stood AC, minus his pyjama top! He leaned against the door-jam and looked at me with the remains of terror and wonder in his eyes. I squeaked out the question – was it a mouse? He shook his head yes, and walked on shaky legs over to the bed and sat down on the edge. I remained where I was – still not able to let go of the covers. We sat there in silence for a second or two, and then AC shook his head as he quietly said: “Boy, would I like to see an instant replay of that.”
We both burst out into gales of laughter and couldn’t stop. We laughed till we cried. As we sat there laughing uncontrollably, we looked out the bedroom door into the living room and a pair of eyes looked curiously back at us from underneath the couch. The CAT! Yes the cat, the protector, the mighty hunter, the catcher of mice - was hiding under the couch. His fearful look seemed to be asking if it was safe to come out now. That made us laugh all the more and does so to this day. I am laughing as I write this story this morning - some 20 years after the event.
AC told me later that the mouse came up over his shoulder and into his pyjama top, and that is when he sat upright and first grabbed his chest. The mouse then ran under his arm, around his back, and up over to his chest again where he got his little feet caught in AC’s chest hair, but it didn’t slow him down long enough for AC to catch him, and then the little blighter started the circuit all over again. That was when AC flew out of bed and started jumping to see if he could make the mouse fall out, but the determined little beastie wouldn’t let go. AC then jumped and bumped out into the living room, ripped all the buttons off his pyjama top and got rid of the top and finally the mouse. He jumped so hard that he bruised both heels, and he hit the door jam with such force on the way out of the bedroom that he took 20-year-old paint off the wood. You just can’t imagine how funny it was.
Through the day we found pyjama buttons here, there and everywhere in the living room, and each time we found one we started to laugh all over again. What a hoot. It was just too funny.
That night when it was time to go to bed again we were uneasy to say the least. Dare we get back in that bed? Surely it wouldn’t happen again. Surely the mouse had been scared half to death too and wouldn’t venture near that bed again – ever. We had nowhere else to sleep, so we had to chance it. It was a really hot night, but we got into bed and tucked the covers snugly up around our necks. We both lay on our backs, arms at our sides with elbows bent and hands up under our chins; the covers tightly clasped in each hand. Needless to say we were not relaxed, and we were boiling. We lay there like pokers, afraid to move an inch in case we opened a crack in the covers. After a few minutes AC turned to me and said: “I wonder if the general store in town carries sports equipment?”
“Why? I asked.”
“I feel like I need a football helmet and shoulder pads to protect me while I sleep.”
We both burst out laughing and eventually relaxed and went to sleep. No mice, none that we were aware of anyway, bothered us that night, but two nights later AC had another furry critter crawl over him. He didn’t have a pyjama top on so it was easy to flick it off of him, but we just couldn’t stay there any longer. We packed up the next day and went down to the city.
As much as we loved that old cottage we never slept there again. The next time we went up for a holiday, we took a tent with us and slept in it. We enjoyed the cottage during the day, but we would retreat to our safe, mouse-free tent at night and sleep in blessed peace and safety.
That mouse story has given us, and many others tears of laughter over the years. People come up to AC and say, “Oh you’re the guy who had the mouse in his pyjamas,” and we all start to laugh all over again.
I hope I have given you a chuckle or two this morning too. I laughed my way all through trying to write the story down let me tell you. We have recounted the story many times, and can hardly get through it without laughing uncontrollably.
Share some laughter with your friends today and let the endorphins run wild. It is so good for you.