Like most men, I want a chance to be a household hero. I want to be there to open pickle jars, reach things from top shelves, and I'd at least like another shot at the mouse that got away. Yesterday a mouse ran out from under our trash can. My wife doesn't like mice. There's a whole story about that. When she sees one all decorum is off. Marriage is off. Maternal warmth is off. She shouts orders like we're in the muddy trenches and lives are on the line. I'm not saying it's not effective. The trash can mouse made a bolt and she shot enough verbiage to emotionally scar a deaf child. It moved me to do the impossible and try and, um, tackle it. And it worked. I managed to slam down a tupperware on top of the little bastard. I felt so validated. I could feel all social systems returning to normal. Heroism would be rewarded. But then, in my haste to transfer the rodent outside, the damn thing escaped. It scurried and we all did little scared dances. Me, yelling at life. Sarah yelling at me. Quin in pursuit with a Nerf gun. Otto standing on the couch. Eliot blowing kisses.
Then I had to leave. Somewhere in our house was a rogue mouse and I had to take off for a work trip. Sarah got some traps. I was disappointed in myself but felt she had a handle on it.
The next day, during a meeting, I got some texts.
This is what I saw when I snuck a peak at what was making my phone blow up. I didn't quite get it. Was she having computer trouble? You know how you read the last text first and then have to scroll up to reveal the mystery? Yeah? Well...revealed:
My coworkers paused. It looked like I was smiling at my pants but I was catching the first glimpse of what my wife was dealing with. While I sipped endless complimentary beverages and talked about the future of tech, my wife was stuck in her own kind of special Hell.
I excused myself and engaged communication with ground zero. I couldn't share any pleasantries or how I was so tired from the plane ride or anything remotely outside the narrow borders of exactly WTF my wife should do to free her kitchen, her children, her life from her most loathed species.
She had to get Quin to soccer practice and she did not want to come home to a mouse, dead or alive, in the kitchen window. All I could think to do was cut the screen and see if it could figure its way out.
It had seemed like the most practical idea, but we were dealing with some language barriers. I must say that I don't always laugh at my wife's frustrating predicaments, but this was amazing.
It was communication quiet for a while. A growing number of my coworkers waited with me for the next message. Some were grossed out, others critical of the laughter tears running down my face, and others in awe of her determination.
Finally, we got the news...
By this time I was walking from our corporate office (near Seattle) to the hotel with my traveling peers. I nearly walked into a street sign as I glued my eyes to my phone's unveiling of the dramatic ending.
She had freed the mouse. There was much relief literally across the nation as my wife wasn't going to have to burn the kitchen.
Although there has been a change to the landscape. I've come home to mousetraps everywhere. A war zone. Innocence lost.
For whatever laughing I did yesterday, I may have just paid the price by stepping on one.