Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Mouse that Stored

I haven’t worn my boots much lately. And when I slipped them on yesterday my foot discovered what felt like a pile of dirt and pebbles in the right one. Now, I know when you’re camping you always dump your boots out in the morning before putting them on, because sometimes scorpions or rattlers or other unpleasant creatures will have made them a snuggly home during the night. But these boots were sitting in front of our fireplace. I did not expect scorpions or rattlesnakes.

Curious, but unalarmed, I pulled my foot out of the boot, carried it over to the trash can, and upended it. A small hoard of sunflower seeds spilled out. It seems our house mouse had been storing up some food for a rainy day and had chosen my long unused and dusty boot for a larder. We have sunflower seeds in the house because we feed the birds with them, and of course there are always a few spills. No wonder the mouse (mice) has moved in. Imagine how gleeful he or she was to discover the rodent equivalent of King Tut’s Treasure.

Then I began to wonder. Was it truly a mouse or mice? One of my favorite books as a kid was The Borrowers by Mary Norton. If you haven’t read it, you should. It’s incredibly charming, about little mouse-sized folks who live in the houses of big people and “borrow” things they need. I always thought it was as good a reason as any for why you lose things in your house all the time, like safety pins, needles, thread, fingernail clippers, etc. Maybe my borrowers like seeds. And socks. Yeah, what’s with all the missing socks? Good bedding perhaps?

At least I haven’t “misplaced” any guns yet. I’m not going to start worrying until the borrowers borrow a pistol.
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33 comments:

JR's Thumbprints said...

I've had the same thing happen with my grass cutting shoes in the garage. No big deal unless I squish one of those small critters between my toes.

Erik Donald France said...

Cute. And God knows about trying to keep matching socks in place. Impossible. Their must be a prankster involved with those particular items.

The sunflower seeds in boot reminds me of such little storehouses over a lifetime.

Cullen Gallagher said...

The day that mice can carry guns...well, I might start leaving a better variety of cheese behind the refrigerator, with a nice placemat and some fine wine.

the walking man said...

It may be that they borrowers have a'ready went somewhere else and borrowed a weapon...do an ammo count.

writtenwyrdd said...

I brought a few odds and ends back from the old house's shed yesterday, including a bird house I'd stored for the winter which was full of lint and whatnot from a mouse nest. I thought it was empty and chucked it into the car. But when I got home and finally got around to unloading the car hours later...the nest material looked disturbed.

Now I wonder if my car has a mouse in it.

writtenwyrdd said...

Oh and I loved The Borrowers when I was a kid!

Mary Witzl said...

Charles, I LOVE the Borrowers! In fact, I loved this series so much I bought the whole thing as an adult and have read it two or three times. Unlike so many books from childhood, these have never disappointed me. The whole world is so utterly believable -- and it all makes so much sense! We're always missing little things -- staples, paper clips, nail scissors. Just think of the cool skis you could make with paper clips...

You're lucky with the sunflower seeds, by the way. I once reached into a shoe I hadn't worn for some time and found the biggest cockroach I'd ever seen, all in pieces. Yuck.

Aine said...

Yikes on the borrowed gun!

I'll have to look up The Borrowers, sounds like a good one!

I learned the check-your-shoes-first lesson when I put on an old sneaker and got stung by a bee. Right smack in the middle of the ball of my foot. Yeow!

laughingwolf said...

too cool, those 'borrowers', but did they not leave something in exchange?

Charles Gramlich said...

Jr, yeah, I wouldn't have enjoyed sliding my foot in and feeling movement.

Erik, I agree absolutely. And pens, they steal a lot of pens.

Cullen, you make a good point. I don't think they'd like traps either.

Mark, thanks for adding to my fears!

Writtenwyrd, well I'm sure some mice like to travel like some humans.

Mary Witzl, the only other in the series I've read is The Borrowers Afloat, which was charming but not quite as good as the original. Have you read the "littles?" It's a very similar idea?

Charles Gramlich said...

Aine, yes, I'd rather my find than yours.

Laughingwolf, you're right. I forgot that. hum.,

Paul R. McNamee said...

Better mice than underpants gnomes ;)

BernardL said...

The 'Borrowers' just move my keys around. It's annoying as hell! :)

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Imagined as a true novelist ...

Charles Gramlich said...

Paul R. McNamee, indeed. Thanks for making me feel better. ;)

BernardL, That might be another tiny race, the Misplacers.

Don, Issa's Untidy Hut, thanks. I can't shut it off.

Heff said...

Dude, trust me. NOBODY has "mouse". It's mice.

My favorite method of irradication is a sticky-trap. One they're stuck on the trap (but still alive), break out a can of hairspray (I know you have some) and a cigarette lighter. Go to TOWN on their asses. "DEATH BY AQUANET !!!"

(This comment NOT endorsed by P.E.T.A.)

jodi said...

Charles, I once had car "trouble" and took the vehicle in for service. Lo and behold, squirrels in my garage had pilfered the dogs food and PACKED up the area under my hood. The mechanic laughed his head off, brushed it all out, and I was good to go.

SQT said...

We have a backyard full of lizards here... I'm not sure they store anything. I like the idea of a mouse storing food more than a lizard anyway.

Travis said...

Well, at least you didn't squish into the mouse making a deposit to the seekrit stash!

Cloudia said...

Charming
till the last lines;
then: funny!

Charles Gramlich said...

Heff, yeah, I'm pretty sure you're right. Although we've caught two in the past month. As for hair spray, you know I don't have a single bit of it in the house.

jodi, lol. I've heard of things like that. Not sure I've ever known anyone it actually happened to.

SQT, yeah, I don't think most lizards do much thinking ahead for winter. More like grasshoppers than ants.

Travis, I'm grateful for that, and will be dumping out all my shoes from now on before I put them on.

Cloudia, thank you. Mice are kinda cool if they weren't such pests.

jennifer said...

Giggles over the image of pistol borrowing borrowers!

The borrowers in my home like tweezers and pencil sharpeners. Oh! And my son's Nintendo DS... big screen TV?

Sam said...

The Borrowers was one my my favorite books as a kid, and I loved the movie too.

We used to get scorpions in our shoes - I never got over the habit of giving my shoe a quick shake before putting it on.

Charles Gramlich said...

jennifer, I've never known Borrowers to steal a TV, but there's always a first time! lol.

Sam, I don't think I've ever seen the movie. I did hear they made one. That may be a good habit not to get out of, giving the shoe a shake.

MarmiteToasty said...

Oh how sweet....... and I loved the borrowers as a child....

Im glad its not just us that the little dormice move in with LOL

x

ivan said...

A pip of a piece.

Not quite an epistle with a pistol at the end.

Charles Gramlich said...

Marmite, we've got rats in the yard. I hope THEY don't move in.

Ivan, you know if you show a pistol it has to be used eh?

Steve Malley said...

The Borrowers don't need your pistol. They have your neighbour's crossbow..

Vesper said...

So cute! :-) :-) :-) I'm glad that you seem pretty cool about this whole mouse/mice incident.
I've seen a rat in the back yard and mice also, some cute black things. We saved them from the pool in early spring.

L.A. Mitchell said...

It's the Fox Mulder of the mice world.

Charles Gramlich said...

Steve Malley, at least they're not yet a nuclear power.

Vesper, I grew up with mice, living in the country. I'm pretty sanguine about them. Just glad the mouse itself wasn't in my shoe.

L.A. Mitchell, Mouse Mulder. "The Sunflower seed is out there."

Barbara Martin said...

I loved "The Borrowers" when I had to help my mother with her Children's Literature course for summer school by doing reviews. Although it was meant for a younger audience I really enjoyed the tale.

Yes, when feeding outside critters sometimes others tend to creep inside to find an abundance of 'treasure'. At least you didn't catch the mouse in it's act of storing.

Charles Gramlich said...

Barbara, yes, I might not feel so magnanimous if I'd squished my toes on him in the boot.