I did some extra cleaning on Monday. I had to tidy the lounge - there was no avoiding it. I started by folding the blankets the kids use to keep warm while watching TV in the morning. Then I returned various games to the proper bedroom shelves, put all the toys in a cupboard and found a home for lots of the other junk. After that, I got serious. I moved the furniture and hoovered under it and I even opened up the sofa bed and removed all the crumbs.
This left the room in an almost unheard of state of neatness. Don't worry, though, I haven't gone mad with domestic pride.
It's just that the mice are back.
It started on Sunday night as I was sitting playing the Wii. I heard scratching noises and passed them off as excessive disc accessing in the game. I had a nagging feeling the sounds were behind me while the console was in front of me but I put it down to peculiar acoustics. Shortly afterwards, I caught some movement out of the corner of my eye. When I looked directly, there was nothing there. Perhaps, I thought, it had been a shadow as I flicked my wrist. It had been the wrong side of the light source and a second or so after I'd moved but, hey, maybe it was a shadow that had bounced off somewhere else and was running late. Er, maybe...
I became nervous.
I heard more scratching. It wasn't the disc. Then, after a minute, I saw it - a rodent crouched by the armchair, staring at the Indiana Jones LEGO on the floor, deciding whether the miniature Cate Blanchett looked tasty.
I screamed in a very manly fashion. The mouse bolted behind a chest of drawers. I went to find a torch and something blunt and heavy. I spent the rest of the evening with a wiimote in one hand, a giant souvenir pencil in the other and my feet up on the sofa beside me.
Monday morning, I felt the need to clean. I found the edge of the carpet chewed above a gap in the floorboards. I'd filled the gap with wire-wool last time but there was a tiny hole between the wall and the spiky strip to grip the carpet. I went crazy with prickly padding and then systematically cleared up.
Of course, I may have trapped the creature in the lounge but I doubt it. Our lounge is upstairs, remember. There is no food. There was no reason for it to have stuck around. Although, having said that, I did find an inch of breadstick on the landing that hadn't been there the night before. We haven't had breadsticks in the house for months. We hardly ever have food upstairs. Where did it come from?
The mice are bringing their own snacks.
That's just cheating.
Ho hum. I've put more poison and traps down. I'm not taking prisoners this time.
In the evening, when the kids were asleep, Sarah surveyed my efforts with appreciation. Then she had a thought. "Next time you're cleaning, could you take a damp cloth and wipe the inside edge of the guard rails of the boys' bunks?"
"They keep picking their noses and putting the stuff there. It's sometimes sticky when I lean over to kiss them good night."
"What!?" I felt the need to rush and clean the beds, and maybe the kids... and possibly myself... "Ewwww!"
"Fraser's bunk might not be too bad. I told him to stop doing it a few weeks ago."
"O... K...." I didn't enquire whether she'd told him to stop picking his nose or to stop sticking the snot to the bed. It's not like he will have managed the former. This merely begs the question, 'Where is he putting it now?'
I think I'll go get some disinfectant. A housedad's work is never done...
Yours in a woman's world,
PS I suppose it's not as bad as when Marie bends over to pull her pants down and sticks her hair in the toilet.