The Church Of The Blue FJ Cruiser

I like road trips. I enjoy driving, but I also like being a passenger. I like waking up in one state and going to sleep in another. This is why I volunteer for these cross-country road trips. Today, after saying goodbye to Thing One, I drove almost 600 miles from southern Washington to Salt Lake City. And I discovered something I hadn’t realized before. I mean, other than the fact that Idaho is too damn big when you just want to be home. I like to road trip alone at least in part because it is an opportunity to listen to all my favorite music, sing along, and have zero responsibilities other than arriving at my destination safely.

During the course of my day, I checked my messages at various rest stops. What I discovered is that extroverts think road trips are an excuse to have phone conversations with you. I had three phone messages from different extroverted, social friends and family members telling me that they were calling to keep me company while I drive. The first time I heard the recorded message offering to chat with me to keep me company, I laughed out loud. Do these people not know me at all? I don’t like to talk on the phone to begin with. I find talking on the phone while driving a distraction. And I especially think it’s a distraction when what you are distracting me from is the mental peace and quiet that comes with listening to my car stereo loudly enough that the speakers audibly vibrate. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get me out of my head for a few minutes? A solo road trip day is my introvert church. It’s disrespectful to call someone when you know they are at church.

The gold of western hay fields
If you weren’t sure about the drought conditions, this is what eastern Oregon looks like right now
Snake River
Nothing but wildfire haze as far as the eye can see, which isn’t that far

The Rodent Who Must Not Be Named

Hubby registers concern about interlopers in his precious SUV.

I love it when my morning starts with a heartfelt text from my husband.

Hubby: A mouse has been visiting my car.

Me: Where has it visited so far?

Hubby: I’ll look tonight. It might be a stowaway.

Me: How do you know is my question.

Hubby: I vacuumed up some droppings and some tissues were shredded this morning.

Me: I wonder if it’s a stowaway or just a frequent visitor.

Hubby: I don’t know but I feel violated. 😉

Me: I’m sure.

My husband loves three things in this world: 1) his family, 2) his camera equipment, and 3) his Toyota FJ Cruiser. Tamper with any one of these three things, and my exceedingly mild-mannered hubby can become a bit less mild-mannered. I pity the fool mouse who messes with (or in) my hubby’s FJ. That mouse just became Public Enemy #1. Later in the morning, I received more texts about the rodent in question.

Hubby: That mouse better not be crapping in my car.

Me: Right now he is taking a huge dump. 😉

Hubby: And mocking me

Me: While dumping!

Hubby: He’s probably eating through the interior as we speak.

Me: I hope not, for his sake.

That was the last of the mouse conversation for the morning. I was hoping the whole mousecapade would blow over by dinner so we could go for the 12-mile family bike ride I had been thinking about all day. I should have known better. Hubby walked in the door after work with something other than his lunch box in his hand.

“Look at this,” he said, holding a Clif Shot Blok in his hand.

“What am I looking at, exactly?” I inquired.

“This!” he said, pointing out a corner of the wrapper that I now noticed had been gnawed open, some of the gooey, mixed-berry, energy-replacement goodness was chewed away.

“Wow,” I said, trying to appear impressed. “Is this evidence of mice malfeasance?”

“The furry creep is hyper now. No telling what he’ll be capable of after this meal,” he said with slight concern.

“He’s probably bouncing off the walls. He might have bounced right out of your vehicle after ingesting that. He probably jumped out at the light rail station,” I suggested, hoping this would end his mouse hunt.

That was wishful thinking because the next thing I knew hubby was walking back out to the driveway. He was going to root that furry little terrorist out of his cave. Hubby stormed back in with copious additional evidence, including some slightly gnawed pieces of plastic from the interior of the FJ. He was not even remotely amused.

“I’m getting out the Shop Vac,” he announced.

That poor mouse had taken his last crap in that FJ. Hubby let the security door slam as he went out to do battle with Voldemouse. A few minutes later, he excitedly re-entered the house.

“Do you want to see my mice?” he asked, giddy with personal triumph.

“Mice? As in plural mouses?” I questioned.

“Yes. Mice. Plural.”

“Are they alive?” I questioned.

“Yep. I pulled back the seat, and there they were. We just stared at each other for a minute. No one knew what to do. Then I came to get you,” he replied.

I grabbed my iPhone for photographic proof and chased hubby back out the door to his open FJ. The mice were no longer visible. I assumed they had run off after hubby left them exposed. (There was evidence of mouse urine, so I know they were scared enough to pee their little mousey selves upon discovery, despite their bravado during the ensuing staredown.) Hubby, not entirely convinced of their departure, put the hose on the blower side of the Shop Vac and prepared to root the little f***ers (his expletive, not mine) out of their hiding spots. But, it was for naught. They never showed their mouse-diaper needing hineys again, and hubby placed a trap I baited for him with peanut butter and chocolate chips (because who doesn’t love that combo?) in his car for their overnight reappearance. I’m certain he’s hoping for their untimely yet appropriate demise this evening.

I’m tempted to wake up at 5:45 to check hubby’s car in the morning before he leaves for work, just to see if there is an overnight mouse homicide. If there is, maybe tomorrow night we can go for the family bike ride I was hoping for this evening? If not, at least my brave hunter will have something to distract himself with while I immerse myself in back episodes of Breaking Bad for the rest of this week.