21 Jul Cabin Fever

cat in basketJill woke me at dawn this morning. She said, “We’ve got a house full of mice!” Our cats had already gotten two of them. As I stepped groggily from the bed, Simon chased another down the hall. Sofi had yet another cornered in the living room. Fortunately our two cats are good at catching mice. Unfortunately, mice are smart about getting caught. Instinctively, mice know that if they play dead, the cat will get bored and walk away. Our cats did exactly that. “Let’s focus!” I scolded them. Jill wasn’t exaggerating, there seemed to be a lot of mice in the house. Early morning happens to be the cats’ breakfast time and we couldn’t put off feeding them, which, needless to say, was a great distraction from mousing.

The mice got in because I had opened holes in the walls on two floors to run some new electricity. (If you’ve got an old house, you’ve got mice in your walls.) I had left the walls open for nearly a week because it’s too hot to work. We’ve stopped doing all of the chores we normally do around the house in the summer. Our window-unit air-conditioners aren’t especiallly good. They sort of keep us cool, the house temps hovering about 80-84 degrees. Outside offers no relief, even at night. Last night I was watering the front yard at 1:00 A.M. and one of my neighbors trudged by walking her four greyhounds. “It’s the only time we’re comfortable,” she said, “and even this is hardly good enough.”

Jill and I have cabin fever, I’ve decided. Sure, cabin fever is usually associated with being cooped up in winter. But it applies to a bad summer too. We got so desperate for relief that we took the dogs to the woods late yesterday and went wading in one of the Gunpowder creeks. Frieda, our basset hound loves to swim. All of us got plenty wet. Then we stopped to pick raspberries. When we got home, despite the heat — or, rather, to defy the heat — Jill and I made raspberry pies. That’s not exactly ideal food for this weather but we didn’t complain.

There’s no relief in sight for this too-hot Baltimore summer, I’m afraid. And, for the next couple of weeks, you can bet that Jill and I will be a bit jumpy in the house — until the cats evacuate all of our little visitors. Just now we caught another: I chased it into an empty tomato sauce can. Jill was going to help me bag it but then it leapt away when Jill recoiled at the sight of its tail draped over the can edge — Eek!  “Oh, well,” I said, “we’ll get it eventually.” Jill laughed and laughed. I love a woman with a sense of humor.