The Ruark Kids

Late night phone call


Despite a very low volume of incoming calls, I keep my cell on vibrate in order to reduce noise pollution (act locally, etc.). When a phone that is sitting on a hard surface like a dresser vibrates, it makes that “Hrrrm” “Hrrrm” sound, quite distinguished from the sound—or lack thereof—it makes when adjacent to soft objects, like, say, in a pocket.

Last night at some god-forsaken hour, I am awoken by the “Hrrrm” “Hrrrm” of my phone vibrating. I’m groggy, it being 4 or 5am or something (actually no different than when Siena wakes up in the wee hours, but with Siena out of town for the week I had been hoping to blast right through the 3-5 time range). The phone continues to buzz, and as my head clears and I focus a little better, I have trouble placing the location of my phone.

Then I realize my phone has buzzed well more than four times, the number of times it usually buzzes before it starts outright ringing for my attention. Someone must be hanging up and dialing again: It must be important! Who would be calling at this hour? I hope the girls are all OK!

I throw back the sheets and shift my legs to get out of bed. In doing so, I kick Tenzing off the bed in the dark. Thump! Since I returned from the weekend on my own, Tenzing has been following me around the house wanting to snuggle. Every room I’ve gone into, he has followed me and flopped down on the floor a few feet from me, begging in that I’ll-not-lose-my-pride way. It’s no surprise he was on the bed near me.

What absolutely is a surprise is that the sound of my phone has now shifted from what I thought was my dresser to a spot very clearly on the floor at the foot of the bed. “Hrrrm” “Hrrrm”

No no no no! Tenzing did not just do what I think he did.

I bolt up and turn on the light. Now I distinctly hear him. “Grrrr” “Grrrr” It’s not my phone at all, it’s him. And that sound can only mean one thing:

He’s caught a mouse.

It’s the little growling noise he makes when he’s got his prey.

I actually shout to him, “You did not just bring that thing into bed!”

He bolts off downstairs, the little grey rump and tail of the mouse sticking out of his mouth. I follow him down and grab some Tupperware to contain the critter. Fortunately for once, Tenzing is good and promptly drops the mouse when I grab his scruffy little neck. I plop the mouse in the container, set it outside to be dealt with in the morning, pat his head, and go back to bed.

Penny, currently outnumbered by the Martian gender 2-1, has been looking on this entire time as if to say, “Men!”

In the morning on my way out the door, I spy the container with the frightened (and fortunately still breathing) little mouse. I walk the container to our front woods, open it, tell the mouse in a joke that perhaps only Mama will get, “Here you go mouse, I’d like for you to meet a few of my friends; they want to know the name of your chef,” and toss him free.


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