To be fair, I had warned the children not to leave sporting equipment, toys, swim towels, etc. in the backyard.

Failure to comply could result in the disposal of said items, or worse, other uses for these items that may not comply with their original intent. So be it.

A Hula Hoop, for instance, may become a clothes dryer for intimate apparel. A soccer ball may become a bug-squashing device. Skipping ropes may hold up an awning, and the lacrosse stick? It makes for an excellent dead mouse retriever.

I don’t know how many times I have tripped over that lacrosse stick, carrying laundry to and from the line, but if I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times, “that lacrosse stick does not belong here.”

Neither did the dead mouse. It was a well-intended gift from my cat, Mon Chat (really, that’s her name). While I would prefer new shoes or maybe a gift card, the cat insists on bringing me vermin and so, vermin it is. Horrified though I may be, I fake interest and try not to throw-up. She means well.

Unfortunately, the dead mouse left at the back door one morning last week was really not much of a present when I found it. Let’s just say, Mickey had lost his ears – well, his whole head actually. Needless to say, the thought of bending over to pick up Mickey by his long tail had me nauseous before I even attempted it.

There I stood looking down at the half-mouse wondering how to dispose of the body. I looked around for a shovel, a garden tool, a bucket, anything that would scoop up headless Mickey, and then I found my solution. Yep, you guessed it: the lacrosse stick.

Let me preface my judgment by saying I knew this was wrong. I did. I knew if my son caught me, he’d be horrified. But I also knew if he saw headless Mickey, he would freak out.

My son would also have been discouraged that, despite his lessons, I still could not cradle an object with the lacrosse stick. I sure tried. Headless Mickey flopped about on its side, and all efforts to get underneath him and scoop his lifeless body into the cradle of the netting failed. I swiveled the stick, I tried the fancy move to go under the tail and flick the mouse corpse in. I did everything I’d seen my boy do a thousand times with a lacrosse ball, but to no avail. Headless Mickey wouldn’t slide in.

I refused to quit, which did nothing to ease my nausea. With a quick swivel of the stick and a hard flip of the cradle, I got just enough leverage to get under headless Mickey and flip him into the netting.

You would have thought I’d won the championships or something, as I danced around, stick in hand. I wanted to cheer. I wanted my son to witness this moment. I almost dropped the stick in the excitement of realizing that I too could use a lacrosse stick properly, but the flies started to gather and I returned to reality. It was time to give headless Mickey a safe passage to the other side.

If my son reads this, I hope he learns to put his personal items away. He has no idea what I could do with a hockey stick and tape.

Just sayin’.