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The year of the mouse

Pat Maurer

Pat Maurer

The Chinese calendar fascinates me.

It’s always the “Year of The ____ — Bear, Monkey, Snake,” an animal that best describes your birth year, I think, and each one has its own unique characteristics.

With that in mind, you have to admit it has been an unusual, even unique year for us all so far.

Because of the long, hard, snowy winter we endured, it could be called “The Year of the Polar Bear.”

With that being followed by a cold, wet spring topped with flooding seen around these parts for more than 25 years, it could be called “The Year of the Fish.”

When the waters of the mighty Tobacco receded again, it left us with a soggy landscape, more rain, a bountiful supply of greenery and with it, abundant insect life, so it could be called the “Year of the Mosquito.”

But, on the Maurer calendar at least, I think this one will always be unique. We are in the middle of “The year of the Mouse.”

Let me explain.

For those of you who missed our exciting experiences on our first trip north this spring, (“Doing the Mouse Dance), the saga of our escapades to the camper continue.

Our first trip up, something we had looked forward to for months, involved a whole weekend in cleaning up a mouse family’s efforts to make our camper “their own.” To top it off, it rained all weekend. We were so tired after that miserable weekend trip, (did I mention that it also snowed?) we were actually glad to get back home again.

Our next trip on Memorial weekend wasn’t quite so bad, but still involved several hours of “cleanup and disposal.” But, unlike the first trip, at least our belongings were now safely stored in sealed bins. It still meant some down and dirty scrubbing of cupboards and drawers though before we could relax and enjoy our time up here.

Once again, for the third time actually, Saturday we arrived at our favorite vacation destination near Roscommon ready for a great get-away and this time for a whole week of relaxing, reading, visiting and enjoying the wildlife around our little site in the woods and on the edge of an awesome panoramic view to the north.

We arrived at our modest 300 square foot “home away from home,” this time only to discover that a tribe of those furry little squatters had moved in – again – and made themselves “comfy” in our absence.

Once again it was two long hours of cleaning and disinfecting before we could even unpack.

And it was time to unload a couple of successful traps (prudently left baited with some yummy peanut butter on our last trip) and to clean out a couple of “nesting” attempts under our dining table storage benches and vacuum every little crevice and corner before applying a liberal amount of spray Lysol everywhere that bleach and disinfectant wipes weren’t feasible.

And once again, it was a “dance,”or a two-step on my part at least, as one of those wily little critters dashed across the dining room floor behind Jack’s shoes to vanish into the minuscule space between our baby bathtub and the cupboard that holds the bathroom sink.

Despite our best efforts, he hasn’t been seen or heard from since, something that makes me decidedly nervous, especially when the lights go out at night…

Yup, despite our superior size and intellect, he has managed to escape again and is no doubt hiding out somewhere nearby and just waiting impatiently for us to leave, so he can move back into “his” home once these pesky huge critters are gone again.

Oh, and I’m pretty sure he will invite a few more of his “friends and family” to move in and room with him, of course.

That made it a little hard (but not impossible) for us to enjoy our traditional arrival event at the camper – a nap.

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