Friday, November 13, 2015

Oh, Rats! Er...Mice.

You really never know what can happen during a story time. Monday's seemed fairly routine - we read books about shapes, then moved to the craft tables to make our own pictures with foam shapes and markers. The Mommies chatted, and I moved around the room as usual.

Then, one of the Mommies cried out, "ohmigosh, there's a mouse!"

We have a metal cabinet in the program room that we keep snacks in. When the doors are shut tight, it is pretty well critter-proof, but it seems they hadn't been shut tight. The bottom of one of the doors was exposed, and it has a penny-sized hole in it. It would seem an adventurous little mouse had squeezed through the hole over the weekend, ate half a granola bar (he's a health-conscious little mouse), and then tried to go back out the same way.

Except, now that his belly was full, he got stuck. Halfway. Yep, just like Winnie the Pooh.

Poor wee mousie was pretty terrified to suddenly be in a room full of tiny humans, and their now quite vocal bigger humans. He was scrabbling frantically at the floor, to no avail. I opened the door the rest of the way, and tried nudging him back through, but he just grabbed or bit anything I tried to nudge with. Finally I took hold of his tail and tried pulling him back out that way. He didn't quite see the logic in that - "Noooo, I'm going this way!" "Noooo, you're not."
We played a gentle tug of war for a bit until I finally had him free. I'm standing in the middle of a crowded room holding a live mouse by the tail. I believe I lost a couple Mommies at that point.

Okay, obviously we need to put him in something and take him far away. A non-squeamish Mommy grabbed the closest thing, a styrofoam cup, and I grabbed another with my free hand. The plan was to pop him into one cup and cover it with the other. We were quick...but he was quicker. And remarkably strong for such a little guy! (Must have been the granola bar). He grabbed the edge of the cup, pulled his tail loose, and propelled himself through the air.

Into my hair.

I only had time to let out an embarrassingly girly squeak before he bounced to the floor, and I basically just herded him under the back door. At that point, out of the room was the main goal.

We vacuumed up the - er - leavings, tossed a lot of snacks in the trash, and sanitized the shelves. And the floor. I posted a short version of the story on a Facebook page for librarians, hoping someone else would get a laugh out of it. Almost 300 likes and dozens of comments - ranging from "OMG better you that me!" to ideas for story time extensions. My favorite is the librarian who simply replied, "Nope."

The next morning, bright and early, I came in with three live traps. I put one in the staff lounge, where there is often food, one in the processing area, and took the last into the story time room.

You have got to be kidding me.

This time, fortunately I had a trap ready in my hand. But first, of course, I went back for my camera - I knew he wasn't going anywhere soon! After taping, we played tug of war again, and he was popped into the trap and relocated to the desert.

That is pretty much the end of the story for now, except for what I found in my mailbox late last night:

from a librarian in California I have never met before, but who obviously has a great sense of humor. Librarians rock!

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