This is what I know when I wake up with a feeling of heavy pressure on my chest: I am not having a heart attack. Heavy pressure means the dog has to go out.
He doesn’t nudge, or whine, or paw. He walks up my body, front feet on chest, rear feet on stomach:
Wake up wake up wake up wake up WAKE UP.
My eyes open. 18 pounds of terrier scans my face with intensity. If his head is cocked while he scans, I know I’ve been snoring like a lumberjack. He waits for me to blink before heading for the edge of the bed.
Mom? I gotta go…open the door, K?
I’m not thrilled about the midnight potty run. Five nights in a row, around 8 pm, there’s been a strong wafting of Eau de Skunk…right next to the house. (Despite the fact we live in the city, and no skunk has sprayed, the on again off again Eau de Skunk we’ve experienced over the past few months has made me greatly afraid that I still have Skunk Karma.)
I peer outside. Inhale. Process the results: cold, wet leaves. Grass. No skunk. Safe.
I let the dog out, wrap the sofa throw around my shoulders and sink into the cushions. Our home owners association doesn’t allow dog doors. I have to wait.
Waiting: Jane falls asleep sitting up. The dog loiters. Jane dreams of skunks.
There’s some sort of grand council in a courtroom. I think I’m on trial. A severe looking skunk peers over his half glasses at me, his Judge’s robe perfectly placed on his shoulders.
Now what have I done? Why me? Why am I in Skunk Court?
At first, I think the scritching noise is the skunk judge shifting his gavel on wood. It gets louder. I hear a plastic container rumple, followed by some determined gnawing. I realize I am not dreaming…
My eyes open.
Oh crap. We have mice. From the sound of it, very large industrious mice. Professional hard-hat mice. And they are having a go at redoing the area behind the washing machine.
Is that…a saw…?
I snag the dog and bring him inside. He looks disoriented. I woke him up. How long was I asleep?
“You’re lucky I don’t stand on YOUR chest”, I say to him. He yawns. Pads down the hallway past the laundry room.
And how could we have mice, when I am the Queen of OCD cleaning, anyway? There’s nothing for them to EAT. I steam clean the flipping floor.
My eyes rest on two bowls next to the dryer. One for dog food. One for fresh water. Great. A welcome wagon. Why didn’t I knit them little hammocks, while I was at it?
Disturbingly, the construction noises (now behind the dryer) not only don’t stop, they don’t tone down. Brave mice. Little mice should be afraid of the dog…shouldn’t they?
Oh lord. Please. Don’t let it be a rat.
I have to go to bed pretending I don’t know there is…something…rezoning our laundry room. Shaun can NOT handle rodents. Rather than live in a house in which a mouse was found, she would gladly set the house on fire.
It has to be a stealth mission if I want to save my great grandmother’s love seat and clock.
Luckily, Shaun has some hearing loss.
Dad’s funeral is going to be out-of-town: she’ll be gone for a few days. Long enough for me to take care of the…mi..
…a terrible thought enters my head. Those are some loud gnawing noises. Definitely a rodent that could be as big as a rat.
What if my skunk karma is still…intact…?
…to be continued, after much angst, appliance moving, trap setting, and hopefully no need for Nature’s Miracle Skunk Odor Remover…