There is a new member of our household. Bingo is a taupe-colored tiny little field mouse who lives in our walls, eats crumbs the dogs missed, and leaves a trail of tiny mouse poop everywhere he goes.
Bingo. The kids named him. They haven't seen him, but they've named him. Sean said, "I think he wears a little sweater," and proceeded to draw an elaborate scene of what he imagined Bingo's little mouse hole looks like. As Sean sees it, Bingo has a full set-up, complete with a couch, books, and choice artwork on the walls.
It's cute, in a way, having a little field mouse take up residence in our walls. Or maybe we took up residence in his walls a few months ago when we bought the house. Still, cute as it is to hear the boys talk about Bingo the way they talk about the dogs or the fish or the turtle, it's also disgusting to find trails of mouse poop everywhere. So, Ian and I resolved, Bingo must go.
Let me be clear about something. "Bingo must go" does not mean "Bingo must die". In a previous life with a previous husband in a previous home, we had a few mice. According to the previous husband, the only effective way to get rid of them was to kill them with spine-breaking, old-school mousetraps laid out with cheese as the bait.
"Are you sure?" I whimpered, heartbroken.
"Trust me. We had tons of mice growing up. This is the only way."
I deferred. It was not a new pattern, however. I deferred a lot in that relationship. Silly me.
So the ex laid-out the traps in the basement, and within mere minutes we heard an undeniable "SNAP". I felt sick. He investigated. "Got 'em!" he yelled up the basement stairs. I started to cry.
That is not the scene I wanted played out again with Bingo. Poor little mouse. He's just cold and hungry and found this great place to shack up for the winter. I don't think that means he deserves to DIE, even if his little poop crumbs are so totally gross. Remembering my experience at the old house, I gasped when Ian mentioned the word "trap". He laughed and reassured me. "We're not going to kill him," he said. "They make no-kill traps." Phew. Of course!
Reason #1985928749287349238492389027 why this relationship makes sense.
So this weekend the traps were laid out. The first round didn't work, and we still had mouse poop on our counter in the morning. Smart little guy. So Ian bought a different style of no-kill trap, laced it with soy nut butter, and placed in our "spot" on the kitchen floor.
I forgot all about it. The kids went to bed, and Ian and I dozed on the couch, watching a few episodes from the first season of "Arrested Development". Suddenly, I heard a clear "CLICK" from the kitchen. I lifted my head.
"What is it?" Ian asked.
"I heard something in the kitchen."
We investigated. Ian took the trap and went out to the back porch with it. He peeked inside.
"He's in there!" he smiled. "And he is scared shitless."
"Let me see him!"
I tried to get a good look, but I could barely see the little guy.
I looked up at Ian. "You're going to set him free?"
I talked to the mouse. "I'm sorry to send you out on such a cold, wet night, little guy. Be safe." I felt terrible.
Ian let him go. "Don't worry. He'll probably find his way back in."
Before bed, we reset the trap in the hopes of catching one of the many cousins Bingo no doubt has living in our walls. Where there's one....
This morning we found the trap had been tripped again overnight. Sean was excited to finally meet Bingo. But when he and Ian opened the trap, it was empty.
I smiled. Bingo found his way back in alright.