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By Sally Torbey

In the company of mice

Uploaded: Apr 11, 2015

I would like to spend our next vacation not in the company of mice. How is it that during our last two trips we have shared our living quarters with small furry creatures? Perhaps we should travel with a cat.
We spent spring break skiing in Colorado. Although "variable spring conditions" is a euphemism for rocks and patches of grass between the moguls, the blue skies, balmy temperatures, and magnificent views more than compensate for the scant snow cover. And it is very freeing to wear so few clothes on the slopes. There is an enjoyable ease of movement instead of that stuffed sausage feeling from being encased in layers of fleece and down.
The local rodents were also out enjoying the warm weather. We noticed evidence of the little guys immediately upon arriving at the house. They had dutifully explored every room, closet, and cupboard. The mice had also explored the home's dollhouse, rearranged the furniture and scattered the miniature apples, bananas and tomatoes about, reminiscent of Beatrice Potter's "The Tale of Two Bad Mice", in which two mice ransack a dollhouse in disappointment and frustration after realizing their anticipated feast is inedible fake food. Later the mice are remorseful, and as penance tidy-up the dollhouse each morning for the doll occupants. I envisioned our little guests realizing the error of their ways and busying themselves similarly, dutifully sweeping the crumbs off our kitchen floor.
Since we arrived late at night there was not much we could do except sleep with every light in the house on in hopes the mice would get the hint that they now had company and consider curtailing their evening excursion.
In the morning the manager arrived, traps in hand, and explained that due to the early thaw mice were rampant and all the best units had them. He shared fun facts about mice. Who knew that they could squeeze their body into pencil-thin holes and that one mouse can produce between 50 and 75 droppings in a day? He also regaled us with stories of bears, pine martens, snakes and skunks invading homes in the area, and assured us that mice were much better company than any of these other visitors. By the end of his pep talk we were congratulating ourselves on our good fortune.
Our mice did not return to tidy-up, perhaps only English mice are so well-mannered!