Wild Life 2

Burnt Toast
  The family had gone on an outing in the big city. There was, of course, the    long         drive home after the long meeting which followed the long wait in line for the doors to open. It was late.
“What’s to eat, Mom?” With five sons in the house this was a phrase I heard regularly. Other voices chimed in; everyone wanted a snack before bed. “You can have an English.” I popped the muffin in the open toaster oven on the ledge above the stove, slammed it closed and hit the start button.
This will require getting the butter out, I thought, opening the fridge to look for other goodies as well. I turned back to see what progress the toaster was making. Oh. OH NO! What am I seeing? It can’t be. Horrors! What is that?
Through the glass window of the toaster I saw a mouse frantically running in place, trying to escape its hot prison. Demonstrating multi-tasking I screamed, hit the off button which opened the door, and ran from the room all in ten seconds or less. The smell of burnt hair permeated the kitchen. Oh, no. A toasted mouse. Aarrrgh.
The men in the family – I didn’t care who, just as long it was not involving me – removed the appliance to the porch to cool down. “I’ll never use THAT oven again!” I declared. “Baked mouse! Yuck.”
Some time later the now cleaned toaster oven was donated to a worthy cause, replaced by something that had seen neither hide nor hair, burnt or otherwise.
Life was good once more.

Wild Life

Wild Life Part 1

It was a standard, run-of-the-mill high energy morning, although not as frantic as it had been when Dean and Mark were still home. My husband was already at the office; the youngest son, Alan, had gone out to catch his bus – wait! Did he remember his lunch? I didn’t want to make a trek to the school with it.  Again.  “Keith! Kevin! Get down here for breakfast or you will be late. You don’t want having to go see Mr. Jones.” He was the ‘cop on the beat’ otherwise known as the high school vice-principal. Short and stocky, he had the manner of a former Marine. They had already received warnings for being late a time or two before and were rather well known in the school office.

I went into the pantry to put away the cereal boxes, flipping the light as I went. EEK! AACCCK!  What was that?  What WAS that? Something had darted by my feet. Something alive was running around in there! The pantry in that somewhat old house was large enough to have its own window, a tall broom cupboard for cleaning equipment and lots of space for kitchen storage. There were cabinets below and shelves above. It was a wonderfully useful catchall. And now it had a living creature in it.

Like any normal woman, I screamed. A mouse! There’s a mouse in there and now he has disappeared.  Get him out!  Do something. I slammed the door to the pantry and gave stern orders to the twins who had come running. You have to get him out. Never mind about school; it will wait. Of course, when crises come, husband is at work or out of town. This time was no different. I had to rely on two 15 year olds.

He had vanished. The boys pulled out every item, looked behind, above, under. What in the world could have happened to him? Where could he be hiding? There would be no joy in Mudville if he were not located. Then, desperate to get this over with so they could get to school, one of them thought to check the vacuum sweeper. Aha. That little furry felon had scooted up into the dust bag for safety and promptly succumbed in the accumulated sweepings. With manly victory in the battle of woman vs. beast, the boys were now very late for school. My pulse and respiration coming back to normal, I wrote an excuse note and sent them off.

Mr. Jones, with his dark rimmed glasses and military hair cut, greeted them. “Late again, Millers.” His voice was stern. “Do you have a note?”  He unfolded it and began to read.
With his head still down, he looked up over the rim of his glasses, first at one and then the other, then back at the note. “This one, for once, I actually believe. Get out of here and get to your class!”