Friday, January 22, 2010

Mouse House

A few nights before Christmas I was sitting in my kitchen late at night, quite exhausted from a long day of holiday baking. I had just finished cleaning everything up, and was writing my list for the coming day when I spyed out of the corner of my eye a small gray blur scoot along three feet from me under the dishwasher heading to the recycle bin. A mouse! EEEK! I flipped out, calling upstairs to my daughter, who thankfully did not hear me - she is more of a scaredy-cat than I ever was. The next morning I asked my "fish guy" (I have a salt-water aquarium, which he maintains for me) check near that recycle bin for the mouse. He did, chuckling, declaring that the little rascal was not around. Little did I know.

A night or two later, coming in from Christmas Even dinner at my mother's, we walked into the house, flipped on the kitchen light to witness the little bugger scurrying across the room. Of course, being Christmas Eve and still needing to make stuffing and a Turkey for the next day (and having a 101 fever, to boot) I conceded that I had a "Christmas Mouse" and would deal with it later. Well, that fever turned worse by Christmas night, and then we left for our northwoods home for a week, me forgetting the visitor completely. I suffered with bronchitis that week and a few weeks after. Cut to now mid January, where I finally went to get a few mousetraps at the local Ace Hardware store. (And I was astounded at the variety in these contraptions!)

Not that I put them immediately out. I waited until my husband was home last weekend and had him set the traps. Two of them were the kind that the mouse goes into and cannot get out of - no kill, no see. But boy-oh-boy do you HEAR them in there. It only took a few hours for the first one to get trapped in my pantry. (Yuk!) John promptly removed the first victim and set another trap before we went to sleep. Eight hours later I am in my kitchen signing some papers for a mortgage refinance with a notary and hear the scratch, scratch, scratch of another mousy. John opens the pantry door and dang if we didn't have another one, trapped in a traditional mousetrap, by his nose. Again, John picks the trap up and disposes of now victim no. 2. He then leaves on a trip. (Yikes, NOW what will I do?) He sets another no-kill trap for me before he leaves though, so I don't have to touch the mouse, exclaiming that he thought that we wouldn't have another - after all, we'd already trapped TWO.

Cut to just a few hours later. I was in my den on the computer and my daughter comes in telling me that she hears the scratch-scratch-scratch sounds coming AGAIN from the pantry. Damn, I think - ANOTHER one! Sure enough, we had trapped our third victim, but alas, no John to help this time. So I summoned all of my courage and scooted the trap into an empty soda pop box and disposed of it into the garage garbage can. And then I called the "Orkin Man". No more messing around.

The exterminator came the next morning, armed with traps and a flashlight. He looked around in the basement and declared that mouse-free. Then upstairs - same deal. It seemed (to him) that we had probably gotten all of them. Meanwhile my daughter and I began the tedious task of cleaning out the entire pantry, where certainly there was evidence that those three victims had had a veritable field day since Christmas. It was a gruesome task cleaning out that pantry (but it's clean as a whistle now, I'll tell ya!) The Orkin guy looks under my sink and bingo - more evidence of recent critterage.

I ended up cleaning out all my kitchen drawers and washing everything in them, seeing evidence of the trio's pathways. It was a long day of cleaning, vacuuming and disinfecting - a task that was so disgusting to me I can't even summon the right words. The Orkin guy meantime plugged up some under-sink holes and set out some glue-traps under that sink and again in my pantry. We had pulled the fridge out of it's alcove to discover the likely place the little buggers had been living. So that's now all clean as well, and the Orkin man declared I will not likely have any more problems, but if I did, it would be in the next day or so and that they'd be attracted to his traps, which smell of peanut butter. Apparently that's a mouse delicacy. I went to bed exhausted from my clean-up efforts, convinced we had gotten everthing and my house was again sterile and safe from pests.

This morning I was on the phone in my room when my daughter comes in the room with a panicked look on her face. I look up and she is holding up four fingers. We had our next victim. Problem was, this one was stuck to the glue trap, fully visible and still alive and trying to get free (which it cannot). I knew there was NO POSSIBLE WAY I could touch that thing myself. Thank heaven for nephews. So victim no. 4 has been disposed of in the refuse can of the park across the street because my weekly pickup had already been done that morning. I coudn't have that thing in my can stinking up the place for another week. Egads. At any rate, now my daughter and I are freaked out thinking we are going to have yet another one. Meanwhile, there are six traps in the garage and three in the basement set out as well. So far, no takers, thank heavens.

I am a strong person, but when it comes to bugs, rodents or reptiles, I am absolutly a sissy. I don't want to wake up tomorrow, open that pantry door to find no. 5. I hope my little vistors are gone for good. Certainly I will be VERY careful to make sure that door into the garage closes tight every time I go through it. I have seen where my daughter or others at home don't look back to check - and hence I believe, my little critters helped themselves to the heat of my home and my pantry. You can be sure I will be extremely careful how I store food in there going forward. I don't want to have to clean every surface of my kitchen, it's cabinets and drawers again and all their contents. What a huge amount of work, and what a nasty mess those little guys leave behind!

The only mice I want to see going forward live in a fairyland called "The Magic Kingdom". Let's hope one of Mickey's brethren is not still loose in my mouse house.

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