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Tic-Tac-DOH!

This is a little tail that will show you again what a powerful manifester I am when I set my mind to something. (A great past post on this subject is Pharamacy Giraffe.)

When I was little, for some holiday (seems like maybe it was Easter), I received a silly little tic-tac-toe game. It featured cats and mice as the playing pieces. Now, I never really played with it that much. I was an only child of a mother who purchased board games for me, but didn’t like to play them. So, I played it by myself until I got bored. It spent a lot of time sitting on the shelf collecting dust. One day, and I feel like I must have been in 2nd or 3rd grade, because it was very soon after we moved into our trailer, I was playing with this very game when something TRAGIC happened…

Cat & Mouse Tic-Tac-Toe copyright 1982 Giftco, Inc.

Cat & Mouse Tic-Tac-Toe, copyright 1982 Giftco, Inc.

Let’s back up for a moment here. Let me tell you something about my trailer. It was in a trailer park, so there really wasn’t much yard. I spent a lot of time sitting on the concrete steps, playing or reading or whatever. They were plain and boring and hard. They did not even have a railing up to the door as so many other trailers had.

What it DID have was a giant gap between the steps and the skirting (the metal trim around the bottom of a mobile home that covers up all the pipes and wheels and crap that are underneath it). My mom always cautioned me not to lose toys or anything down there. She was not going to retrieve them. I was a little kid. My mom had proven she could do almost anything. So then why couldn’t she move four concrete steps? I figured she just didn’t want to. I also suggested that we just shove the steps up closer to the house. But she explained about how the ground moves due to the freezing and thawing. And to illustrate her point, there was already a dent in the skirting from the years prior to us living there.

A picture of the steps. And my gramma. Because I miss her very much.

A picture of the steps. And my gramma. Because I miss her very much.

So, one fateful day, a mouse from my tic-tac-toe game fell BEHIND the steps! That fast, my game became tic-tac-DOH, as Homer Simpson would say. I cried and cried that I wanted it back. What good was a tic-tac-toe game with only 8 pieces? (What is a tic-tac-toe game good for at all, really? It is usually played with only a paper and pen!) I kept thinking there must be a way to move those steps.

I eventually put a pink pencil eraser with the set, to simulate the missing pink mouse. For years, I looked at those steps and knew that mouse was behind them, just out of my reach. Sure, other things fell back there over the years. Some things we could push out using a yard stick (meter stick, if you are international). I lived there for 15 years. And as much school studies, college tests, and pop culture trivia as I crammed into my brains in that time, I NEVER forgot about that little mouse, all alone, hungry and cold, behind those steps. Day after day he suffered back there in silence. I never gave up hope that one day I might see him again. I kept the game all those years, after all. A game I didn’t even play.

Then one day, that all changed…

After I moved out and then my mother, the landlord pulled our trailer out and sat it up by the road, for sale to the best offer. That is terribly depressing, but what happened next was NOT!

My old home was just pulled out to the curb to be sold for best offer.

My old home was just pulled out to the curb to be sold for best offer.

My then-boyfriend (now-husband) and I went to poke around the old homestead. The home where I had spent the formative years of my life, now brutally removed, leaving nothing but two long slabs of concrete, some water lines, and some blue-stained dirt.*

Can you guess what I looked for?

Can you guess WHAT I FOUND?!!

I found my mouse!

The mouse that was under my house!

I couldn’t wait to call my mom and tell her SHE WAS WRONG! She said I would never get that mouse back, BUT I DID!

NEVER SAY NEVER!

YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS!

The miraculous mouse from under the house!

The miraculous mouse from under the house!

I had spent so much time thinking we needed to move the steps, I never thought of moving the trailer. Which is silly, because the trailer HAS wheels; the steps do not. Once I returned home, I reunited that little mouse with his family! You can’t tell it in the picture, but that mouse is little dirtier, looks a little more tired than the other mice in the set. He has some dirt in the creases of his body. And I could give him a good bath and remove it, but I won’t. It is his badge of honor of what he survived. I want to know which one is the miraculous mouse, the one who was braver than all the other mice. The one who went where no plastic mouse had gone before, and returned to tell the tail (Even his tail is still intact!).

I realize that no one really needed to ever hear this story except me, but I have put it on here anyway. Don’t you wish you had the ten minutes back that it spent for you to read that? No matter what you think, I think there is a lesson to be learned there, somewhere. Never give up on the mouse under your house.

Maybe the lesson is that I need some therapy…

* When we moved into that trailer, there was a state mandate for all the drain pipes to be updated to be bigger. That was work was completed (or so we thought) before we moved in. All the drains in the entire structure were on the side under the house–except the drain for the washing machine. My mom sold the washer and dryer that came with the trailer right after we moved in, and we never had another until about a year before we moved out. Apparently, we only learned through my snooping of the old homestead, in all those years the drain for the washer had never been hooked into the rest of the sewer pipes. Every time my mom had done laundry for a year (and let me tell you, that woman does A LOT of laundry), all the water had gone on the ground underneath the trailer. We always sort of wondered why you could smell Downy outside so well when doing the wash, even when the windows were all closed. So in our wake, we left a big blue puddle of fabric softener.

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
The Wind Could Blow a BugAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It NEW RELEASE!
Be Careful What You Wish For – COMING JANUARY 2016!

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