I'm pleased to give the floor this week to my first-ever guest blogger, my sister, DC Stanfa. (I have finally forgiven her for using my Barbies as voodoo dolls and for telling me she was only beating me up in order to make me tough.)
DC already has one published book, "The Art of Table Dancing: Escapades of an Irreverent Woman" (don't take the title literally), and another in the pipeline. She's a fabulous and funny writer, and after reading this post, you should go immediately to her website, http://dcstanfa.com/, and buy her book.
The first sign was tiny turds in my candle drawer. Later, I witnessed an unmistakable furry flash across the kitchen floor. I screamed like a college girl in a gone-wild video (though my shirt stayed on).
I shut the door to my four-year-old daughter Cori’s room and stuffed a towel at its base. A tiny treadmill turned in my head. Rather than wake Cori and running out to buy a mousetrap, I decided to make one.
My mechanical aptitude is limited by my engineering knowledge, which consists of “simple tools” learned in the fourth grade. Fulcrum, pulley, lever and? One thing I do remember is a force called gravity.
I exhumed a plastic bottle from the recycling bin and inserted a piece of cheese. I balanced the bottle carefully on a garage step so the rodent could enter. Upon doing so, its weight would tip the delicate scale and up-end the bottle, trapping Mickey or Minnie inside. I would then set it free in a mice-gone-wild episode on Animal Planet.
Morning inspection of the pop-trap—which I was certain I’d be patenting soon, and after an infommercial with Ron Popeil, would be a huge success—revealed that my gravity theory worked. The bottle had indeed up-righted. Then it completely toppled over, allowing the momentarily captured creature to escape. No baby Swiss or varmints in sight.
“Glue traps,” a co-worker advised me. I was reluctant to destine Mickey or Minnie to that sticky and deadly fate. After another furry scurry the next night, however, I placed two cheesed glue traps on the basement stair landing.
Morning Inspection: No rodents or traps on the landing. The cheeseless traps were at the bottom of the stairs. I’d fed, and gravity had again freed, my mouse-mates.
While I was still reluctant to commit mousicide, a hardened hardware store clerk convinced me a quick guillotine beat a hanging, and he sold me two traditional clap-traps.
I finally told Cori what was going down in the basement. She curiously watched me set the traps. I wasn’t sure she fully grasped the potential deadly outcome.
Sure enough, the next day, two mice lay D.O.A in the traps, two tails protruding from the backs of the black tombs. I grabbed my garden gloves and a garbage bag, cringing as I mousercizied the traps and their contents. I also threw in a pair of Cori’s tennis shoes, sitting on the basement steps, which the mice had mistaken for a potty.
Cori peeked through the basement doorway. “Mommy, can I see?”
“No, honey. You really don’t want to see this.”
“Yes, I do.”
I paused, but reasoned dead rodents might help ease her into the very scary concept of death. I opened the bag. Cori peered inside, then looked at me, her eyes bulging and her bottom lip trembling.
I reached over and hugged her. “I’m sorry, honey. At least we know they didn’t suffer long.”
Cori’s lips tried to form words as she released her breath in spurts.
Finally, with a deep sob, she wailed, “But those were my favorite shoes.”
Girl priorities, indeed, start early.