There are moments of luminosity when, amidst our trudging daily routine, we realize that everything and everyone in the universe is connected in some great, unseen spiritual web.
This is not one of them.
But things are connected anyway.
Several weeks ago, Bowie brought a mouse into the house. He chased it from Sam’s study to the dining room, and then under the piano. I chased it too with a broom, trying to herd it outside, but somehow it vanished.
Later I noticed Bowie sitting intently in front of our refrigerator, every so often sticking his nose into the narrow crack between the appliance and the encasing cabinet. Mouse, I thought. But it never appeared and Bowie moved on to other more rewarding pursuits such as, um, sleeping.
For a while I waited for a bad smell to start wafting from under the fridge. But no — no signs of dead and decaying rodents.
Fast forward through the month of June. Daughter’s graduation. A quick trip to Stinson. Work. Zucchini plants growing to look like hedges. The 90-year-old pipe connecting our house to the sewer main broke, and we hassled with contractors and got it replaced for more money than I care to recount. You know the cliche where you say you might as well have flushed money down the sewer? Well, we pretty much did.
Then last week Sam noticed a pool of water on our kitchen floor.
“Did you spill something?” he asked. “Did you leave the door open and spray the kitchen when you were watering the zucchini?” I didn’t remember spraying the kitchen, but I could easily have done so in a moment of distraction. I apologized and promised to be more careful.
Then this weekend, I found a pool of water again.
This was definitely not me watering. I mopped it up. A half hour later, it was back. I mopped. It returned. I decided it was coming from the refrigerator. Sam was out of town on yet another of his marathon bike training rides, and I couldn’t move the fridge by myself to investigate, so I kept putting towels down and replacing them with dry ones every hour or so.
I wondered: Did the sewer guys somehow break something that was now causing water to back up into our kitchen?
I also wondered: Did Bowie’s mouse eat through some plastic tubing that might carry water to the fridge?
This afternoon Sam came back and we moved the refrigerator.
We didn’t see a visible leak or any gnawed tubing. But we did find the switch to turn the water off until I can call an appliance repair person.
And we also found a ton of tiny brown mouse turds. Fat little caraway seeds of turds.
Someone was living back there.
Which raises the question… Where is it now?