I was stopped at a red light on the way home from an evening appointment last night when I saw something moving near the windshield wipers on the outside of the car. I had been parked in the Short North, so I tried to focus on it in the dark, expecting it to be a flier for a night club or some art event flickering in the breeze. Instead, it kept moving up, up, up… until it was in the dead center of my windshield, where I could clearly recognize its form as definitively mouse-like.
I, of course, shrieked like a seven-year-old as the critter made a panicked circle before descending back under the hood. I made a meek attempt to draw it back out by turning on the wipers, and when it didn’t, worried that I had driven it deeper into the bowels of the car. I then drove the next mile or so in my own panic, a phantom mouse scaling my right leg over and over until I could get up the road where it was well lit and safe to stop.
I popped the hood, and saw that there was a little evidence that the mouse was trying to make a nest in the well of the windshield, but there was no mouse to be seen. I called Dan, whose suggestions included: “Um, maybe turn up the heat?” “Get an umbrella to swat it away with” and the extra reasonable: “If it does somehow end up inside of the car, pull over so you don’t freak out and kill yourself.” Then I tried to convince myself, and him, that it must have fallen out of the bottom of the car before I got in to make the rest of the trip home.
A few minutes later, on a stretch of road where the speed limit was about 40 mph, the mouse reemerged and crawled across the outside windshield right at eye-level in front of me, clinging to the glass in the face of high freezing wind like Indiana Jones. It made it all the way to the edge, where I’m not sure if it took a flying leap or managed to find another way to hang on, perhaps in my door. Mice have such bizarre contortionist abilities, who knows? I climbed out the passenger door when I got home so that I wouldn’t find out, because as much tougher as I think motherhood has made me, I’m apparently a freaky coward unless I’m actually protecting my son.
Our garage is a separate structure from our house, where any mouse who has dared cross the threshold has been made into mincemeat by the cat in a matter of hours. I considered letting him pay a visit to the garage, but its too cold. Google searches for “mouse in car,” “mouse in engine” and “mouse on windshield,” were mostly useless, except to make me worry that a family of critters might now live in my engine, where they are happily gnawing away at all of my electric wires and my air filter.
The one potentially useful suggestion I found said that mice steer clear of peppermint essential oil. All we had on hand was some Dr. Bronner’s peppermint castille soap, which has been liberally applied to various parts of my car, inside and out. I’d like to see this experiment increase the product’s uses to 19-in-one: shampoo your hair, clean your dentures, rid your car of mice, etc.
Today’s ride to preschool should be… bracing.