Good decision-making skills run in the family, leading my husband to interrupt the meeting to catch the mouse, which he did successfully. His boss witnessed the capture from the top of her desk.
After serving as his department's mascot for the rest of the afternoon, the mouse was treated to a road trip. At the end of his journey, he was met by three jubilant members of the neighborhood welcome wagon.
"I've always wanted a pet mouse," said Camber.
"If we get a snake, the mouse could be its food," suggested Cortlen.
"Mr. Mouse is going to live outside," I said, crushing my children's hopes and dreams.
After watching the mouse run laps around the box for five minutes, we decided that it was time to grant the small rodent his hard-earned freedom.
"What should we do with it?" my husband asked me.
That was a very difficult question to answer since our neighborhood butts up to a wooded preserve.
My husband did not feel comfortable releasing the mouse into the woods behind our house, but he did feel comfortable letting the rodent go in our weird neighbor's yard across the street.* That seemed sensible enough, so I released the hounds.
"Gently dump the mouse in the woods behind Marge's house," I told the kids.
Tim and I stood on our driveway watching the solemn procession to the tree line. Kellen was smiling because he was carrying the box; Camber and Cortlen were crying because they were not.
All went well until Tim spotted Marge watching the processional from her front window.
"Stop! Come back here!" he yelled at our kids in his best neighborhood watch voice. But it was too late. The kids were already running at full speed toward the tree line. Having given it his best shot, Tim retreated to the garage, where he hid behind his lawnmower.
"Hey Marge," I said, sauntering up her driveway. "How are you today?"
Marge responded by slamming the door in my face. At least she wasn't mad. We got the same reaction last December when we brought her Christmas cookies.
*In our measley defense, the wooded area behind Marge's house is much deeper and more dense than that behind our house.