‎"...a little 'trouty', but quite good" ~ Eve Kendall, North By Northwest

Saturday, December 12, 2009

or Clara could just whack it with her slipper

We have a mouse problem.

As with any mouse problem, ours started with indisputable signs. Signs like actual mice dancing the tarantella in the middle of the kitchen floor. And mouse poop in the cat's water bowl.

I don't happen to be lying about the water bowl. How's that for a flip of the mouse paw to authority?

Since we are raging pacifists, we decided not to poison them or sticky tape them or suck them up in the shop vac, although the shop vac was very, very tempting. We got a Havahart trap instead. Which is awesome.

We put some peanut butter in it, et voila! we caught our first mouse. And then we caught another one. And then the trap got all excited, or maybe nervous, and started snapping at everything that walked by. Including dust.

Meanwhile, we grew concerned about the possibility of having one mouse that just kept coming back. One friend said she put nail polish on her mice before releasing them. Have you ever looked carefully at a mouse's toenails? She must have had a very steady hand and maybe an ether-soaked rag.

Being unskilled at mouse pedicures, we figured we'd just take them a reasonable distance away. "Reasonable distance" is of course open to interpretation.

There's an old joke about two guys hiking in the woods. They see a bear, and one guy puts on his running shoes. The other guy goes "you don't really think those shoes are going to help you outrun that bear, do you?" and running shoe guy says "no, I just have to outrun you."

Which is my way of saying we're letting the mice loose in our neighbors' yards.

This is easier than Sugarplum's suggestion of blindfolding the mouse, spinning it around several times and then driving it to the mainland.

Tonight, after Chris had gone to work, I noticed the trap had shut. I was pretty sure it was more dust so I grabbed the trap to reset it - literally scaring even more poop out of the mouse inside. I texted "MOUSE!!!!!" to Chris but he did not cancel the show he was doing and come running home to save me. Which left me in a bit of a pickle.

I couldn't leave the mouse in the trap until Chris got home because it would surely communicate the dangers of the trap to its friends and family. We can't let this kind of information circulate.

I didn't especially want to release it myself because, while I'm not afraid of mice, I am afraid of rabid coyotes and things that go bump in the bog. I didn't want to leave the kids alone in the house and then, inevitably, get eaten by an angry skunk.

They're vicious, you know.

But I really couldn't let the mouse sit there, warning the others.

So I took it out. In the dark.

And put it in Chris' Jaguar.

Which should teach him not to ignore my texts.


Celia said...

Babe, you have to be aggressive about this. Mice are incontinent, and as they scamper around a constant dribble of pee is trailing them. You will have mice constantly until you figure out how they are getting in. Check for cracks and plug them with steel wool. Mice and rats can't chew through it. Mice can squeeze through the teeniest crack into your home. Mice have a lot of diseases. I just you to be safe and healthy.

Cheryl said...

Very funny. We had a mouse problem and did the same thing: got the Have-A-Heart and bagged our first mouse. Since my husband was commuting 50 miles away, off the little bugger went. Thankfully, the parking lot where hubby worked backed up to a patch of woods.

One by one we sent them away until the entire family was reunited out in nowheresville.

With the woodchuck I caught to save the garden, I simply drove over the bridge to the next state and let it loose under a utility line where there were no other gardens around.

Janine said...

Back in the day when I lived in a rickety old house in Massachusetts, we occasionally had a mouse or two and we used the Haveahart traps too. We could tell our mice by the bruises on their sides. They were squeezing in through a very small opening which led right to the lazy susan which was so convenient the mice gladly put up with the bruising. Anyway, the mice marked themselves.

We once had to catch a squirrel in the attic in the same way. They are smarter and take longer to take the bait and when they realize they are trapped they sound like the spawn of Satan having a temper tantrum. No one wanted to go near the trap. I sent my first husband in to do it, figuring either outcome would be ok with me..

TwoBusy said...

I remember catching a mouse in a plastic cup in my first apartment (well, our cat caught it... I just kept it from getting shredded) and then setting it loose on the Northeastern football field.

Which, now that I think about it, may be a contributing reason why Northeastern just shut down their football program.

just making my way said...

I am not afraid of a lot of creepy crawly stuff. But mice kind of freak me out. I'm sure Chris loved your present!

Kristin @ Going Country said...

I think it best if I don't go into all the ways mice are exterminated at Blackrock. You're a much more compassionate person than I.

Lisa said...

Ick ick and more ick. Poo in the water bowl! Poo goodness knows where else!

I am sure they are out and then back in, nail polish or no. When we lived in India this one shrew kept getting in. We had this wooden trap that was basically a little cage. So it would get trapped, set free, and scamper back in again. I don't know how they finally got rid of it.

Cape Cod Rambling Rose said...

Do you remember our discussion regarding this same issue at my own abode... and the tally we kept which would keep even the likes of Santa from entering the house? The traps worked (thou shalt not kill taken seriously here)... but those little cuties kept coming back. The tip off... one mouse suffered a battle scar on his ear from a mouse-fight, and we kept catching him despite depositing him in the grand outdoors (same mouse, same battered ear). 365 days of persistence eventually paid off. (Did I mention the time a mouse got ahold of an unopened juice box... what a sticky mess he made of that one!)

Karen said...

When both of our cats died in the same month, Hector and Julian showed up one night. I thought we only had the 2 mice. Yeah, not so much. We had a mouse-a-palooza in the laundry room. It probably didn't help that we had stored a bunch of grain (beer brewing) in the laundry room. It was quite a ride. Now with the chickens and geese we have a lot of grain around again. And Yes, we do have another cat. I have been a reader for about a year, first comment. Thank you for sharing!!

Susan said...

Hi Karen! Thanks for piping up!

Tiny Dancer said...

I wish there was a way to respond that was just sound. Then all you would hear is my laughter.
Two summers ago we had a mama mouse in our kitchen trashcan. My son helped me move her and her four babies to the wetlands behind the house. I wonder if they survived the coyotes. So sorry I didn't have a jag to leave it in.

Kelly said...

When I first moved into The Fortress of Solitude with Dan (in the middle of nowhere) we had THREE cats and a mouse problem. I was all into the Have-a-Heart traps until I realized the mice had taken up residence in our oven and our sofa. Imagine, if you can, what mouse urine smells like wafting from a heated oven. I got over the Have-a-Heart mentality very quickly and learned to relish the sharp snap of a mouse trap in the dead of night. (Pun intended.) Mice are cute, but not in my kitchen.

The good news is, chickens will eat the small ones! Put those girls to work!

Susan said...

Okay Kelly, I have all the chickens loaded into my kitchen. Now what?

JAbel said...

Funny to see Northeastern and mice mentioned here.We had mice at our NU fraternity house in Brookline and someone bought the old mouse traps.But thhen some wise guy(s) strated putting the traps in one's bed under the sheets.For a few months you had to stay on your toes so to speak or risk getting them caught in a mousetrap.When we had them one winter at Lake Tahoe I made balls of foil to plug the cracks and that seemed to work.One mouse would wait till we were all comfortable in front of the fire and then scamper across the fireplace.Probably the same one loved to eat the center out of a loaf of bread.

Kelly said...

Okay, quick! Stand each hen on a wee stool, and make sure their aprons are tightly fastened. They will loudly "eek" and frantically flap their wings as you do this, but you must run around the kitchen with a ridiculously over-sized wooden mallet and bonk each mouse over the head. Toss the limp mousey bodies to the ladies, and they will snap them out of the air and gobble them down. It will take a little while, but this should do the trick.

Alternatively, all of that eeking and crazy wing flapping just might drive the little germ bags from the house.

Good luck!

All kidding aside, my hens like to eat the cast-off rodent parts that the cats leave around the yard. It's still so disconcerting to see them running about with mouse legs hanging from their beaks.

Fred said...

I have a very sad yet oddly amusing (if you're in the right mind) story about a mouse we tried to catch in my first apartment in Boston. I have to tell you the story sometime, Lady Trout.