Let me set the scene.
It was a Thursday evening at around 8.30pm. The children were fast asleep in bed and Rob and I were relaxing on the couch watching TV. I was feeling extremely tired from a very busy week at work and the thought of moving any time soon was not pleasant.
Enter Faye, one of the cats. She came into the lounge, sat in front of the entertainment unit and stared at it. My heart instantly sank.
You see, several years ago she spent two days staring at the stove before I finally worked out that there was a mouse hiding under it. Last year she sat and stared at the fridge- yep, once more a mouse was in hiding. So I instantly knew that there was the possible of a furry intruder in the house. I explained to Rob, grabbed a torch and had a thorough look...no mouse to be seen. I chastised Faye, told her she was crazy and tried not to think about it. The thing is, these mice don't just come into the house. Faye is not the brightest of cats and once she catches a mouse (which is very rare) instead of doing the normal cat thing, by which I mean chowing down and then leaving the head and several organs in a tableau more suited to Dexter outside one's front door, she prefers to bring it inside, unharmed, and let it go. I don't pretend to know why. I was hopeful that this time, there was no mouse. Perhaps Faye was hearing things. Or smelling things. Or something.
We returned to My Kitchen Rules and I tried not to think of it. Suddenly, Pesto (feline 2) entered the room, sat down and...stared at the entertainment unit. Then began sniffing at it. Then began scratching at it. My heart sunk further. Pesto has a great deal more common sense than Faye. I explained to Rob what was happening and we decided to have a closer look. I was still optimistic that there was just a large spider, or a trapped moth, or even a skink in attendance. (They call this denial). Rob managed to move the heavy cabinet forwards a little, and Pesto and I had a good look behind it. Nothing. Next to the cabinet is a much smaller cabinet, holding one of the speakers, and we decided to check under there next. Rob moved it, Pesto leapt forwards and a very large mouse erupted out from under it and into our Thursday night.
"Oh flip, it's a flipping mouse!" I screamed. (Replace the word 'flip' in that sentence-both times- with another word beginning with the same letter, and you'll realise what I actually said. Ahem.) No sooner had the words left my mouse than Rob disappeared from the room- backwards. I've never seen him move so fast. Then again, if I was unable to see and someone started screaming obscenely about a mouse, I would probably beat a hasty retreat as well. He reappeared moments later, now wearing his slippers, while I shouted "Get it Pesto, get it!" as Pesto chased said rodent behind the curtains. Let me make something clear. I did not wish the mouse actual physical harm. I am a vegetarian and against animal cruelty. But I am also against mice in my lounge room and the words just...came out. I didn't want Pesto to catch it and eat it, but I didn't want to grab it myself and I had some vague notion that if he grabbed it, I could grab him and use him as a mouse-carrier to take it outside, then somehow make him let it go. Not all that well thought out, I know, but it was a chaotic situation.
Pesto and I both lost sight of it and the next ten minutes were spent crawling around (difficult when one is heavily pregnant) looking under furniture with a torch, while Pesto prowled around doing his own searching and Rob hurriedly shut our bedroom door and the children's doors. Pesto and I were very much a team by now. I would call him over to help me look, and he would meow me over if he thought a piece of furniture deserved a second look.
"It has to be in here somewhere," I huffed to Rob. He stood still, listening. His hearing is a lot better than mine.
"I can hear something...behind us," he whispered. I spun around to see the mouse making a break for it into the kitchen.
"There is is! F....lip! Pesto!" I screeched. Pesto chased the mouse and we chased the cat, but in the kitchen it was nowhere to be seen. (Where was Faye during all of this, you might ask? Having- presumably- brought the mouse inside and caused all of this, she was watching with interest from the couch and making no move to help.) I decided that the fridge was the only thing it could be hiding under, and Rob proceeded to move it while I tried to look under it and Pesto stood on guard. Once more the rodent burst forth and darted from the room, this time heading into the front room (also known as the library). We all followed and I saw it disappear under Rob's computer desk with Pesto in hot pursuit. We quickly decided to block both doorways to the hallway and kitchen (which don't have doors) and open the front door in the hope that, with a combined effort, we could chase it outside. Good plan, right? This involved Rob moving two heavy bookcases to cover the doorways while Pesto guarded the desk. Suddenly the mouse appeared on the top of the desk and ran across the printer, which turned on. As the mouse disappeared under the desk again, the printer inexplicably began to print. I half expected to see "Look guys, I didn't mean to cause this fuss. Just let me go, and we'll forget everything" on the paper, but it was blank. The mouse suddenly made a break for the bookcase and wedged itself through a tiny gap and back into the kitchen.
As I cursed while peering over the bookcase we were now trapped behind, Pesto went crazy as he couldn't follow and Rob wondered what on earth was happening, Faye carried out her only useful act of the evening by appearing in the kitchen, causing the mouse to clearly decide "better the devil you know" and reappear in the library. He then saw the open front door and, joy of joys, made a break for it, boldly running straight through Pesto's legs in the process. The mouse was last seen disappearing into the bushes, followed by Pesto, and I slammed the door on the whole debacle. Rob moved the bookcases and we collapsed on the couch again, both exhausted.
"Well," Rob said after a moment, "at least we learnt something about each other."
"And what's that?" I asked, still trying to catch my breath.
"Neither of us like mice," he finished drily.
True. They do say that any experience in which you learn something is worthwhile, but I'm not so sure in this case.