|We cannot deny the fact that he is pretty cute!|
It all began the other night when my friend Melody and I were enjoying a meal in the cockpit. We were talking in between mouthfuls of pizza, when all of a sudden I saw a black flash along the deck of the boat next to us. My face must have registered something, because when I looked back at Melody she said, "Okay, you saw that too, right?"
Yes, I had. Neither of us could explain it or knew what 'it' was. It was almost like a flash of light along the toe rail - it moved that fast and effortless - except it was black, like a shadow. We pondered what it might be be for a few minutes and then decided it must have been some weird shadow phenomenon and was probably nothing.
Twenty more minutes of exuberant conversation followed and we had all but forgotten our little mystery and then, like a flash, I saw the black shadow zip by again. "Okay!" I exclaimed "there is definitely something on that boat! I think it's a mouse". We went to the dock and tried to view the decks from various angles but saw nothing. We shrugged it off again and continued with our evening, keeping a keen eye on our neighboring boat.
The next day the North wind piped up and it got cold. Really cold. Our new boat has no heat and after I made sure Isla was all bundled in the v-berth with extra clothes over her jammies and tucked under her blanket, I jumped into bed and kicked and squirmed until I could find warmth. It was hard to sleep. It was so cold I was physically shivering and the wind was howling in gusts causing the sounds of squeaking fenders and stretching dock lines to fill the boat. Just as I was finally managing to drift off into a chilly slumber, I heard it: the teeny-tiny, oh-so-faint pitter patter of feet on the deck above me. It was so faint that it was almost inaudible. So muted that I could almost convince myself it was my ears playing tricks on me. Had I not witnessed the scurrying shadow the night before, I would have thought nothing of it. But I had seen that damn shadow, and after straining to hear, I was pretty sure there was a mouse on deck. I did not sleep well that night.
The next morning I took to the deck to see if I could find any sign of our light-footed nocturnal intruder and sure enough, there it was: Poop. The telltale brown oblong pellets of mouse poop, to be specific. Since there was no one around for me to lament to, I took to our Facebook Page where over fifty of you wonderful folks gave us advice on how to deal with this little issue. Now, I must remind you that there is no sign of a mouse (or mice) INSIDE the boat (so far...gulp). At present, it seems it/they were only on deck and eating some seeds that had blown aboard. Despite this fact, an overwhelming number of you suggested we get a cat. For real. Like buying a creature who's 12-14 year life expectancy (and dependency on you) is no big deal. Like inviting an animal onto a (relatively) small sail boat requires no forethought. Don't get me wrong, I like cats and all (I had one I adored much of my early adult life), and I know that they're actually great boat pets and excellent mice killers, but impulse buying a cat because of one measly little mouse is not on the agenda. I learned early in life never to say "never", but at this point - mice or no mice - we have ZERO interest in getting a cat. What we need to do is get off the dock.
As luck would have it, my brilliant friend Carolyn over at The Boat Galley wrote a post on this very subject a while back and reposted it yesterday. Because I am no expert in pest control - I will turn you to her article and, if our mouse turns out to be more than a Christmas visitor, I'll be following some of her suggestions as well.
So...may your night before Christmas be as it was intended; critter and creature free. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!