There, I said it.
What the hell has sleeping on the floor got to do with mice? And why in the hell am I sleeping on the floor anyway? And wait, I have mice in my house? WTF?
Glad you asked! Pull up a chair!
We live in a small (<1000 sq ft), 2 bedroom house. There are 3 of us. Mama has her own bedroom. I sleep on the couch currently. I used to sleep on a futon mattress in the second bedroom. Noah slept on the couch. Recently, we determined that he sleeps better when he sleeps on the mattress. It is very important to be well-rested for Kindergarten. Ergo, he sleeps on the mattress, and I sleep on the (8 inches too short for my body length and 18 inches too short for that plus that of my 45 lb dog who insists upon sleeping with me) couch. We used to have a bed, instead of a futon mattress, but the bed frame broke quite suddenly one night, and as it is 60+ years old, it is not terribly easy to fix quickly. We are working on it. Incidentally, we have a spare twin mattress that I could put on the living room floor at night, which would allow me and the insistent dog much greater stretching freedom and would likely be much more comfortable. But, well, see post title.
Enough about the bed, what about the mice?
We get mice every. single. year. I have lived in this same house on and off for the past 31 years, and it is a certainty. We live across the street from a corn field and back up to a wooded area that borders another field; when it gets cool and the harvest is gone, the mice begin to migrate to warmer climes- the tropical breezes of our air vents.
They get a mite peckish as they sprawl in their tiny chaise lounges, fur ruffling in the warm breeze, so they send a cabana mouse, likely named Raoul, out to fetch some crudites and another wine spritzer. Raoul shimmies up through the floor vents, and gnaws a few holes in my pasta boxes and a bag of almonds in the name of pleasing his mistresses. Lather, rinse, repeat.
We never had inside cats when I was growing up. We had ‘barn cats’; outside cats that we fed and petted infrequently so that they might stick around and keep the mice at bay. But come wintertime, they were no fools- they weren’t keeping vigil over the cracks in the crawlspace- they were hunkered down in the old barn, snug as bugs in a rug. And so were the mice.
But now that my household cat tally has reached an all time high, you might think mice would be of little concern. Considering that two of the cats are 10+ years old, and the other six (yes, I said six) are all under 10 weeks old, mice hunting is likely not at the top of their To Do lists. The oldsters are looking for their missing teeth and watching Judge Judy reruns whilst the younguns are waiting for the rest of their teeth to come in and for SpongeBob to come back on.
To be fair, the cats have caught The Ceremonial Mouse the last 2 winters. They actually got two last year, and one this year so far. I always hope that the first killing of the season will be a warning to those mice that might follow, and that they will chastise their children and lecture their wives and/or husbands until they give up and move on, perhaps to the barn, or at the least, to my neighbor’s house. But I keep finding mouse shit in my cabinets, so I know this is not the case.
This year, The Ceremonial Mouse was done in pretty early, just a few weeks ago. I got up one morning, came out of the bedroom in a barefooted, pre-coffee haze, made breakfast, got Noah up, got him dressed, went to get my shoes on and take him to school, and –
Ick. Dead mouse, not 4 feet from my bedroom door. It was luck, fate, kismet (but certainly not karma) that I didn’t step on him barefooted 45 minutes previously. If I had, I might not be writing this post, but instead would still be straightjacketed at the state loony bin.
As it was, the mouse was not that gross; it was lying on it’s back, feet up, surrendered to its fate. It almost looked like it died of fright. There were no visible signs of trauma. As messy as my cats get with the dry cat food, it’s amazing that the mouse was in such good shape. (The Ceremonial Mouse from last year was not quite so…intact…upon discovery. Luckily, I was not the one that discovered it.) Maybe it did die of fright, or perhaps shock- my cat LT has incredibly foul breath.
As I struggled to dispose of it without squicking myself out, I was struck by the incredible urge to take a photograph of the dead mouse, feet skyward, eyes closed in defeat. I refrained because I already had on latex gloves and had the mouse by the tail. It didn’t occur to me until later that this idea of mine was odd. I think this means I spend too much time on the internet.
At any rate, The Ceremonial Mouse is already dead, but the fear of mice still grips me. I saw a mouse hiding in my trash can long after last year’s Ceremonial Mouse was disembowled on my bathroom rug; I know it is not a panacea. The biggest vent in the house is in the living room, right next to the spot I would have to sleep if I chose to sprawl out on the lovely, comfy mattress on the floor. The merest sliver of an idea that I might one day wake up with the pitter patter of eensy teensy mouse feet on my pillow is too much to bear.
I do not sleep on the floor, because I am afraid of mice.