So the mouse was not gone. Or at any rate a mouse was not gone, as we discovered when we trooped into the house at about 1:15 AM, having picked up my parents at the train station. They flew American Airlines, and after a delay in Seattle (due to O'Hare traffic, apparently, even though Seattle was getting what I believe was its worst snow on record) landed in O'Hare at about 1 PM to find that their connecting flight was cancelled. They were 66th on the standby list. American booked them on a flight for 7:30 PM the next night--Christmas Eve--which would have been a 30-hour wait in the airport. American offered no hotel or food vouchers. "Are we supposed to spend the night in the airport, then?" Dad asked, and the attendant said vaguely, "I hope not. We're sorry about this."
So I called six or seven rental places and found nobody had any cars to rent. Dad said he didn't want us to drive with the weather the way it was, so Eric and his mom checked Amtrak and bought two of the last train tickets out of Chicago, and Mom and Dad went off to the train station. We'd had to get first-class tickets, but that meant they got to go into a quiet lounge with free drinks rather than stand outside with the poor souls who were also stuck in Chicago but didn't have the travel staff Mom and Dad did and so were vainly begging for coach seats. Apparently a steak dinner with dessert was included, and they got a sleeper compartment to themselves, so it was actually quite nice. And they didn't have to spend thirty hours at the airport.
"The mouse isn't gone," Eric said when we stood there in the kitchen. "I just saw it run across the room."
I elected to totally ignore the problem until Mom and Dad had left, and the mouse--mice--fortunately decided to do the same. We had a nice visit--a little noisy the first two days since we were having two big holiday dinners with Eric's family, and then very quiet the next two. I got some con T-shirts and an enameled cast-iron pot and some books I've been wanting, plus a copy of The Bible According to Mark Twain, which I used to own but lost years ago--I left it with either James or Dad to read, but I can't remember which and both deny any knowledge of it, and neither ever found it again. Dad finally decided he'd heard enough of my complaining (though that's not how he said it) and bought me another copy, which pleased me to no end.
Mom and Dad got home without any trouble, although they decided to take flight vouchers for taking a later flight in O'Hare. Since they vowed never to fly American again I can only assume they're going to give them to James.
Yesterday after work we went and bought traps, some classic and some glue traps, and put them down. Then we went upstairs into the computer room. Not long after I came down and called to Eric, "We caught a mouse!" These glue traps are apparently great stuff. But it doesn't kill them, and despite the "anesthesia" advertised on the box this one was struggling. Eric and I discussed humane ways of dispatching it--I didn't want to let it starve to death--or die of thirst, though I think that's just a semantic difference with mice since they don't drink--and Eric ended up taking it outside and crushing its skull with a hammer.
Not long after I was in the pantry making my lunch and another mouse decided it would be a great time to rummage between the bread and the chips. "We definitely had more than one!" I said when Eric rushed down to see whether the shriek I'd emitted was because I'd been murdered. I put a glue trap up on the counter but no luck yet.
I'm really pissed off at that particular mouse. On the floor is annoying, but within the bounds of acceptability. On my counter means war. Also, what is the damn thing eating? There aren't any holes in the bread or chips or rice as far as I can see, but there are droppings so it's clearly eating something. M--f-- b-- mice.