We occasionally get a mouse in the house, usually in the fall when they’re trying to get in out of the cold. This year I was talking to N on the phone in one of our bi-weekly calls when I saw a little dark shape darting past the garbage can. We put out the humane mousetrap, but days went by and no mouse appeared. One day we came home and found the poor little guy expired on the floor in front of the sliding glass door—oh, the irony! I always feel really sad when they die. Why couldn’t he have gone into the trap, so I could’ve taken him outside and let him go? A few weeks later I was looking for something I thought I’d brought home from work when I left R&L. I went out to the garage to rifle through the boxes and smelled something funny just as I saw another dark little shape darting by. Oh, dear. Yep; it turns out that I had left a bunch of snack food in the boxes and the mice had taken up residence. One poor little guy had died in there and was liquefied to the bottom of the box. Everything was chewed up—gross—or peed on—even grosser. I had to wash all my pens and pencils, which made kind of a strange sight in the drying rack. Everything smelled like ammonia and/or had nibble marks. Some of the paper was shredded into a little nest. Once everything was all clean, and the dead mouse disposed of, there was still the problem of the mouse I’d seen dart away. I put some stale bread into the humane trap—it’s not necessary, but I knew he’d be hungry after a while, since I’d thrown away the smorgesboard. I checked the trap every day, but our cute little mice seem to have a death wish. When we got back from a weekend trip to Portland, there he was. He’d eaten all the bread and then died. I felt awful, as always, and chucked him over the back fence. We’re probably mouse-free until next year.