The word “mouse” brings up all different kinds of reactions depending on a person’s profession and emotional baggage. To say that a “mouse” means something different to a plumber than an IT technician is obvious. And, of course, there is the reaction some folks get when they actually see a mouse. The reaction that looks a bit too much like hysterics.
I am proud to say that mice don’t freak me out. Spiders? Centipedes? Most insects? Yeah, that’s the realm of freak-out for me. Which is great since I have mice. And I don’t mean in a cute little cage with one of those hanging water dispensers.
In 2005 Mister Soandso and I made a necessary update to our 1923 Dutch Colonial. In other words, we added a kitchen to it. Oh, it had a kitchen when we bought it; if you don’t mind a U-shaped jobby the width of the kitchen sink and the depth of the stove. (The refrigerator was down the hall.) So, it was a priority to this foodie that we get a kitchen that would accommodate me and my kitchen tendencies.
Who knew that in addition to marble countertops I would get mice?
It started small. Summarized nicely with one word: denial. My husband pulled out a storage cube from our bench seat to find his biking gloves. And then screamed like a wee child. (Good thing he doesn’t read my blog. He may take offense to being outed like that. Whatever, I’m a believer in telling the truth when I feel like it.) We both said, “well the darn thing must have walked in the open back door and the poor thing just needs to be escorted outside.” Which is what I did while he did his equivalent of standing on a chair shrieking. But considering the little mouse had run over his hand and he still can feel those tiny toes sprinting across his flesh, it was an encounter that was shriek-worthy indeed.
Time passes in which I periodically see either the actual furry friend darting under my fridge or evidence of the deed. I have long talks with the cat about her job in this whole matter. I spend gazillions on products to humanely free my home from the little bugger, or buggers, because who knows just how many of the cute little dudes are sneaking into my house to lick the condensation off the refrigerator coils.
Eventually, the word humane is playing a smaller and smaller role in my approach to making my home seem less attractive to all things mousey. I caulk. I bleach. I clean. And each time I find a little black gift I get a little more pissed off. And this, of course, is what really pisses me off. Somewhere along the line, these cute little field mice with their shiny black eyes and big ears have made me so irked that now I want to kill them instead of shooing them out the door.
The traps get more expensive and more mouse-life-threatening.
One night I feel particularly cranky about the whole thing and set a whole ring of booby-trapped providers of peanut butter nirvana around the perimeter of my fridge. And in the morning, one is missing. I search everywhere. I cannot find it. I look at the dog who looks sheepish. Obviously, the damn dog did something with the trap and is hoping I don’t notice his “just look innocent” look. I search more. Still no trap.
And then I walk into our spare bedroom and see the trap sitting right next to the floor board. “Well, that’s a weird place for the dog to leave it” I think to myself and go to pick it up.
Which I can’t do because it is attached to an-oddly angled furry little leg that is attached to a furry little body I can just barely see in the crack between the baseboard and floor. So I crouch there for a little bit, shining a flashlight through what turns out to be a knot-hole in my baseboard, cat meowing by my side.
Just what is the best course of action here? I’m home with three kids, one of whom has a poopy diaper and another who is calling for me to change the channel. There is no way I’m going to get the mouse to back out of its exit strategy. So I do the only thing I can. I open the trap and watch the leg disappear.
Of course I think, please drag yourself all the way out of the house before you die. But I also think the situation might have turned out like this:
“Uncle Gimpy! Uncle Gimpy! Tell us again about the time you drug a trap fives times bigger than you all the way from the Great Humming Water Hole, through the Barren Expanse and then waited for hours at the Wall, trying to find the courage to chew your leg off when the Great Shining Light freed you!”
“Well Little Big Ears, hand me my cane and let me see if I can remember. This one day, I went in search of tasty crumbs and water when…”
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I now use the battery operated mouse traps. When the light flashes, you know you have a small friend taking a nap in the little black box. Because there are a lot of little gaps in a 1923 Dutch Colonial with a cat who thinks its only job in life is to take a nap…on the couch.