|Natalie drew this as the events unfolded|
In a moment, Joe is at the top of the stairs, telling us the thing we really, really, really don't want to hear. "I just saw something small and furry run by me in the basement!"
Oh no. Oh no, no, no, no, no.
Frank springs into action. Frank hates all rodents with a firey hot passion that bubbles forth from the deepest, darkest center of his soul.
He laces up his shoes and grabs the broom, ready for battle, while the kids and I huddle on the couch. Natalie starts crying. She believes she will never see her roller blades again, as they are at the bottom of the stairs and none of us ever plan to enter the basement again.
Frank reports that he saw it too. After some (disgusting) google image searches, he determines that the creature is a vole, not a mouse. This is good news, as voles don't really want to live in our house, because they eat things like flower bulbs and grass. He must have found his way in by mistake. Frank leaves to buy some mouse traps.
While he is gone, the kids and I take a tentative trip downstairs. The kids want to retrieve their valuables. I make them hit everything they want to bring upstairs with Sam's souvenir miniature baseball bat. I also bring Violet, our two year old labradoodle. I'm hoping she can find and kill the rodent.
I am nervous. Why do our kids have so many furry black toys? I keep randomly hitting chairs, walls, and toys with the baseball bat. I turn to Violet and tell her the only thing I can think that might make her understand the situation. "Violet!" I say, "There's a deer in the basement! Go get it! Get the deer!" At this point the tension in my voice, along with the fact that I'm randomly whacking things with a bat while making ridiculous claims that there's a deer in the basement causes her to decide I've lost my marbles. She whimpers and lies down where she's standing.
|I have no idea what you want from me, Crazy Human Lady|
Day 2: Our first thought upon waking is the vole. Frank goes down to check the traps. The traps are empty, but he comes face to face with the vole, who just stands there, staring at him. He tries to kill it with a broom, but it escapes.
I call an exterminator. He agrees that it sounds like a vole. He's happy to come check out the situation. I feel genuinely relieved. He continues that he's happy to check it out...on Monday. Today is Saturday. On Sunday Frank leaves for a business trip and I am having a bunch of people over for a Tupperware party.
Natalie is huddled in the corner of the living room. She is afraid the vole is coming to get her. I decide this extreme fear is over the top and we need to do something about it. I remember a friend telling me that she would name the snakes in her yard to try to feel less afraid of them. I tell the kids that the vole needs a name. Frank suggests Voley. I suggest Victor Vole. Natalie quietly but strongly states, "His name is Phillip Johnson."
Now we call him Phillip Johnson.
Will Violet ever understand what she is being asked to do? Will Natalie get over her fears? Will she ever use her roller blades again? Will I ever see the end of that episode of Good Times? Some (or none) of these questions will be answered in the next installment of The Chronicles of Phillip Johnson.