A Mouse In The House; Or, Why I'm Leaving Soon

Last night I was reading, trying to fall asleep. Daniel had long since entered Snoozeville, and it was only ten o'clock. I keep a stack of crossword puzzles between my bed and my nightstand as my go-to insomnia cure, but I try to save them for "special" occasions and I'm not that desperate for sleep--yet. So I'm reading along, and I hear paper rustling. I am not turning pages, nor is Bad Hand causing the book to shake. But I try to convince it's not big deal and continue reading. Then, what do I see out of the corner of my eye but a Dark Thing scurrying around my room at the speed of light! My only logical response is that it must be a poisonous spider, and it is now fully justified to scream, since waking Daniel up is really only accomplished by high-pitched noises.

When he comes to, I don't think he believes me, as there's an absence of Dark Thing in the room by this time. Then he says, "No, it's not a spider, it's a mouse," and points to the mouse tail now sticking out from under the bedroom door.

I am slightly paranoid about mice. Not because I am scared of them, as they are not in and of themselves poisonous, and thus not scare-worthy. I am paranoid of a little thing called HANTA. As in HANTAVIRUS.

Do not tell me how low the risks of hantavirus are. I do not care, and it will serve only to infuriate me. When I say HANTA I am referring to any of the myriad diseases mice carry. Mice are great and all, but they are NOT ALLOWED in my house.

Daniel set traps, baited with peanut butter. This morning the trap was empty. Today I have cleaned all my floors, which burst my buttons because I just vacuumed a few days ago and I hate to mop. But it must be done, because I will not allow HANTA to thrive in my house. If it means cleaning the floors each day, so be it. Though I am less than thrilled.

Please tell me anything you know about mice, their capture, and why they would dare come into a lit room as early as ten o'clock. Aren't they supposed to be nocturnal?

It's a good thing I leave for NCTE/ALAN on Saturday morning. I will be in Philadelphia, chatting with today's best and brightest YA writers, English teachers, and YA literature academics. My idea of heaven. Anybody else going to be there?

I pledge not to ruin my trip with HANTA-related thoughts.