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Easy Pet -- Part Deuce!!
Chaos & Contentment

I have concluded in the past that there isn’t an “easy” pet. My attempt at an “easy pet” was my son’s ball python, Jenga. Jenga has since entertained my household with a number of learning experiences.

Pet snakes are fed mice, preferably frozen mice thawed before providing to said snake for dinner. Yes, a gruesome task but you do get used to it. This is my son’s task and many times gets passed off to me. When Jenga stopped eating I was informed by the experienced reptile clerk in the pet store that she probably wants live mice. Seriously? I followed through a couple times making the store per- sonnel pick out the unlucky victim. I refused to look at it.

Recently, my daughter and I went to a different store to purchase Jenga’s bi-weekly meal. I put the tiny cardboard box in a plastic bag and in the floorboard of the back seat. We made one stop and went home. I’m unpacking things in the house as my daughter takes Jenga dinner when I hear her speak up, “Uh Mom? I think we have a problem.” I look up to see her holding the small box with a neatly chewed hole out the end. No mouse.

We immediately searched the car and saw no sign of the rodent. Opening all the doors and moving things around was the first strategy hoping the mouse would make for his escape! We gave up that evening. The days that followed was filled with adventure.

The next morning, we did our normal routine; kids to school, my drive to work. Never heard or saw a new occupant in the car. I started to think it vacated overnight which was perfectly fine with me.

That afternoon after work I approached my car and peeked in. In the cup holder of my was a little white furry mouse searching for morsels of food my children may have left be- hind. New strategies started popping through my head! Cover it with a cup and capture, no, how would I get it out? Scare it into something -- yeah that’ll work! I look through the car and see an empty plastic bin. I slowly open the door and the mouse immediately runs down to the floor. With my heart beating fast and attempting to stick to this new, perfectly orchestrated strategy, I look under the seats. No mouse. What? Couldn’t see it anywhere. Darn! Reluctantly, I get into the car and make my way to pick up kids. After a night and a day in his new residence, the mouse has caused a stench in my car that gets me motivated.  I’m taking care of this tonight!

Although I see nothing around me, I do not feel alone.

Cars around me and heading down my normal busy highway route, I notice movement. I look down to find the white mouse in my lap. Yep – just checking things out!

We could all do a number of things in this situation but really, it is one of those instances that unless it happens to you, you’re not certain how you will react. My head was screaming profanities and panicking wildly but my body said “no, you cannot let go of the wheel and freak out!” I’m sure I made some weird scream like sound but honestly, I don’t remember. I do know I shook my knees to cause the mouse an earthquake. He ran back down to the floorboard where I assume he came from. When it was safe, I pulled over. I looked under the seat and saw his little head poking out of a piece of carpet. Ah Ha! I know where he is hanging out now!

Kids are picked up and, next stop, Walmart to get a mouse trap. By now I’ve decided he’s kinda cute and I want to get a no kill trap. I can’t bear to be the one to do him in. While in the store and on the way to check out, I receive a text from my daughter. The conversation went something like this:

Daughter: “Mooommmm, I see the mouse!!! It’s sitting on your bag!” In my mind this is in a panicked, whispering voice.

Me: “Grab the bin and put it over him!!”

Daughter: “I’m afraid if I move it will run… he’s looking right at me”

Me: “There’s a towel in there. Can you grab him?”

Me: “What’s happening?” Me: “Did you get it?”

Me: “what’s haaapppennninggg?” She didn’t get it.

Once home we did as instructed and put peanut butter in the trap. Within an hour, our mouse friend was caught.

There was debate about Jenga having dinner but concluded this mouse was a fighter.

I drive by a few farms on the way to work and decided he could have his chance against some barn cats, owls, or whatever else is out there he is up against. This time the Snake Bait turned into a field mouse. I haven’t figured out the lesson in this experience other than don’t use cardboard containers to enclose rodents. However, I have decided Jenga’s dinner is, and must stay, an unknown and anonymous rodent to me.