It was one of those evenings where one has actually ticked off all the things one has to do for the day and one has the vast expanse of a completely free evening stretching out ahead of oneself.

 

Baby in bed, dinner eaten and all cuddly and warm in pyjamas we were, my husband and I, standing in the kitchen making hot chocolate when…

 

Midway through his sentence he casually throws in,

 

“There’s a mouse in the house. I just saw it run across the floor.”

I swing around trying to see said rodent. He tells me it’s gone under the fridge. Fabulous! How can their tiny brains compute that the best place to be is the most inconvenient place for us?

 

I quickly switch into Plan-of-Action mode. Our fridge stands next to a chest of drawers which stands next to the stove, which stands next to the washing machine and…now, come to think of it, next to fixed cupboards that are hollow and completely inaccessible underneath. For us, that means a whole lot of heavy things we can only move really slowly and lots of opportunity for said rodent to move really quickly.

 

Boards! We need lots and lots of boards. We’ll herd it out the front door is my plan. My husband scoffs at me. He does not believe we will be able to find enough boards. Because I am a woman, I will prove him wrong. I triumphantly return from the garage and inform him that we do indeed have enough boards. He still narrows his eyes in mocking disbelief. I encourage him (quite forcefully) to come and see for himself. I point out what I think we should use and tell him to start getting them out and to pass them to me.

What follows is a supersized game of Mouse Trap. That, or it resembles a marble track.

 

My muscular man rotates the giant fridge out of the corner and all I picture is mouse guts smeared across my kitchen floor and entrails entangled in the coils (or whatever the underneath of a fridge consists of). Lovely! How do I even begin to clean that?

 

We both peer around the back of the fridge expectantly, only to find…

 

Kitchen floor and a whole lot of dust bunnies. No rodent of any kind!

 

That’s just great!

 

Who knows where in my kitchen we will find this furry fiend?!?

 

“I see it!” declares my hubby and I proceed to wedge a board between the chest of drawers and the stove so he doesn’t escape.

 

Then we balance boards across our kitchen propped up by cat food, the washing basket, a box of toys, a slow cooker, the washing machine and a car chair. The channel has been created.

 

 

We both stand at the rear of the fridge and argue about what to do next. My hubby wants to squash a broom over it and then somehow, remove the broom, get it into some sort of dust pan and throw it out the door. I scoff at his plan because I know that should those whiskers so much as snuffle in his direction, mouse and dust pan will exit his hands and his feet will do a little dance. He may or may not also let out a short gasp followed by a frustrated, emphatic indignation.

I forcefully suggest that this will not work. We need to chase it out. Yet, I decide to give him his moment of…glory.

Down comes the bristled broom head and cue mouse shrieks which tug at my heartstrings and also open my trap. I start shouting at my husband,

“You’re hurting it! You’re hurting it!”

 

His turn to scoff at me. But he gives in and removes the broom, grudgingly. I insist that we will send it through the channel. I can now tell he’s miffed with me. Mouse (which actually turns out to be a shrew) goes under the fridge. I immediately want to blame him for allowing it to get to the most difficult place to reach when I see it emerge. The shrew starts to follow the channel and the finds a convenient gap and escapes into our open-plan lounge/dining room.

 

I want to scream. I think I did. I am hot on my husband’s heels. I find him lying on the floor and slashing the broom handle under the piano. Shrew sticks out his nose as I scream like a banshee,

“You’re going to kill it!”

 

I rearrange my channel and tell him he can now wave his broom, not try and slash the shrew. Said shrew scurries along my boarded channel and I take great delight as he sniffs his way along…and finds another gap. Into an open cupboard. With an open space at the back. Great! Now we have to stick some long object behind the cupboard – not the broom this time.

 

Now that my kitchen has been turned upside down, my husband declares in angry defeat,

 

 

“Now we’ll just have to wait for it to come out!” and he goes back to making hot chocolate.

 

“I am not going to wait for it to come out! It will eat all our food!”

 

He reminds me that under the cupboards is hollow too. Therefore, the wretched shrew is completely safe and completely inaccessible. I shake the boards and bang the side of the cupboard hoping it will scurry out in terror. The shrew apparently has nerves of steel. He does not appear. I silently pray that God will show me a way to get this rodent out of my house…now!

 

And then I see it. An orchid crutch. Those thin pieces of metal that hold the orchid stem. I instruct my less-than-enthusiastic husband to stand at the other end and urge him on his way out the  door, should he reappear.

 

Curving the crutch into the inaccessible space, I thrash it around. I hear my husband’s voice lift. It’s come out. I hurry to the other side and take great pleasure watching him wriggle under the door and out the house.

 

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

 

It’s an hour later. I encourage my husband to give me a high-five. He wearily raises his hand and slaps mine. He looks far from pleased. I am victorious. Until I look at the time and realise that there’s no time to do anything else! At least it’s out, I console myself.

 

I arrive home a few days later to see a board blocking the doorway between the kitchen and dining room. I suddenly have less sympathy for the shrew and hope my cat will catch a gander of the wretched rodent.

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