DaniGirl versus the Mouse, round 1

by DaniGirl on November 3, 2009 · 17 comments

in Happy @ home, Life, the Universe and Everything

It may or may not be coincidence, but it was right around the time we had to put down our 17 year old cat this summer that the first mouse appeared. I would have liked to type “when the mouse first appeared” but I’ve come to believe he is Legion.

I actually managed to catch the first mouse by hand the very first time we saw him, trapping him in a little toy bucket and releasing him in the field across the street. That was some time this summer and I more or less forgot about mice in the interim.

Many happy mouseless weeks passed. While waiting for the bus one morning not too long after, I heard from a neighbour that she too had seen mice in the house this summer for the first time and she even upped the ante by telling me she’d seen a porcupine (!) in the backyard, and another neighbour stopped me in the driveway to ask if we’d had mice, so apparently they’re in the ‘hood.

Last week, Tristan came up from the basement family room where he’d been building Lego spaceports with a wildly worried look on his face. “There’s a noise like (*insert sound of tiny demon claws scrabbing against the gates of insanity here*) coming from behind the door to the laundry room.”

Now, can we just pause for a minute for a confession? There are times when I am completely unable to suppress my terrified inner 10-year-old who is direly afraid of two things: the dark and basements. Those times are when it’s dark, and when I’m in the basement. I have read entirely enough Stephen King books in my life to know that things that make noises behind closed doors in a dark basement should be LEFT ALONE.

And so I found myself with my hand on the laundry room door, listening to that undeniable sound of chewing, for the love of god, thinking of six hundred and sixty six good reasons NOT to open the door and unable to come up with even ONE good reason to open it. Except the ginormous ocean-blue eyes of Tristan, firmly fixed on me.

If the act of suppressing 40 years of conditioning and ten thousand years of genetically imbedded instinct to open that door in the name of appearing brave in front of my son isn’t a testament to a mother’s love, I don’t know what is.

And so I opened the door and turned on the light and it took about three hours for the light to come on and then another seven hours for me to work up the courage to peer behind the door because the noise was obviously coming from directly behind the door and every hair on my body was actively trying to stand up and walk off my body by the time I swung the door back around and found myself looking at a scritching, scrabbling, wiggling half bag of dog food.

Huh. Demons probably don’t eat dog food. Mice, on the other hand…

So I carefully unrolled the not-very-carefully rolled up top of the bag, and sure as shit the little grey mouse came tumbling out. He was way too quick for me, though, and disappeared somewhere behind the laundry machines.

By the time my heart started beating again, I was okay with the idea of cohabitating with the mouse. We’ve never had mice in the house before, and based on the amount of scat I found around the dog food bag (which also went into the trash) he’s been living down there for a while. Then my nice twitter friends said that mouse poop is toxic and that they will start to get into the real people food, so I thought that maybe I’d get a humane trap.

The idea of actually killing the mouse disturbed me, but the idea of merely maiming the mouse and having him suffering practically undid me. We dithered and debated for a week or so.

On Thursday, I pulled out the rubbermaid bin full of Halloween costumes to get ready for the boys’ school Halloween dance and had Simon and Lucas try on three of the four plush costumes that had been stored in the box. It was only when I went to pull out the fourth costume that I found out that the bottom of the bin was covered in … you guessed it, mouse poop.

By the time everyone had had a scalding hot bath and the halloween costumes went through two wash cycles, war had been declared. It’s ON, mouse. Bring it. If I thought I could flush him out, I would have went after that sucker with a baseball bat. And so help me, if I find he’s been into the Christmas decorations, I’m going to nuke him.

So the very next day I found myself in the mouse trap aisle of Canadian Tire. I seriously thought about getting one of those giant-size rat traps, just to make my point, so annoyed was I. Who knew there was such selection and variety in mouse traps? Glue traps, humane traps, multi-mouse traps… In the end, we got a fancy plastic version of the standard wood-and-wire mousetrap. The label offered a high capture rate and instant kill, which made my karma shrivel only a little bit.

Beloved set the traps on Sunday night, putting one behind the furnace and one near the freezer, both far from human traffic but near where scat postcards had been found. Last night, as I was doing the ubiquitous loads of laundry, I checked on the traps. The one near the freezer had been knocked slightly out of position but was still set. The one near the furnace was… gone. The entire trap had disappeared.

WTF? I can imagine how they’d get displaced, how they might get shifted, how they might even snap shut and bounce up to a foot away depending on how violently they closed. But that sucker is completely and utterly gone, and trust me, we searched everything within a five foot radius.

So the way I see it, either we’ve got a partially disabled but frighteningly strong mouse running around the basement with a discharged mousetrap attached to one of its appendages or… well, let’s just go with option one, shall we?

I’m not sure I can open that door a second time…


{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 SC November 3, 2009 at 8:40 am

I am having a good laugh right now Dani! It actually brings back childhood memories for me, as we had mice on multiple occasions, and my Mother was deathly afraid of them. One morning at like 6am, while my Dad was working away from home, she woke us up and shipped my sister and I off to the neighbours as she had spotted a mice – and we weren’t allowed to go back to the house for 3 days until my Grandpa came and did away with the problem. We still bug her about it til this day!

Its nice to see that you are putting on a brave face for the boys… however, I am thinking boys love little creatures, they could probably do your dirty work for you (although not my best health advice for children!!).

I hope the problem goes away soon… might be grounds for a new cat though, one that has a little more pep in her step, and likes a challenge!

2 Valerie November 3, 2009 at 8:51 am

LMAO, Dani – beautifully written, just beautifully!

When I was young I complained to my dad that there was a mouse between the floors. He wouldn’t believe me, but let me get some traps. I got good at it and hauled about 10 mice out in maybe a two week span before he went looking for a hole to plug! What worked for me was a piece of cheddar stuffed/stuck under the bait area, then smeared with peanut butter. They LOVED peanut butter. Sometimes I put two traps close together so they would step into one while trying to avoid the other.

May I suggest you keep your dog food in a big Rubbermaid bin? ๐Ÿ™‚

Good hunting!

3 Jenny November 3, 2009 at 9:09 am

the mice probably knew the cat was gone and there was no more threat to them running around and getting into everything. the same thing happened to my mom so she put down all kinds of traps. she hasn’t seen one since.

4 Kerry November 3, 2009 at 9:10 am

Hey Dani – My dad also baited my traps with peanut butter. You know, I had to go to therapy about my mice issue. They come in when it starts to get cold, and they are very crafty buggers, thus the peanut butter (which is hard to snatch off the trap and smells good. The only thing with the PB is that you need to change it every couple of days.

Two years ago, in my old house, my dad trapped while I was away in November. He got many many mice. I looked for a new house the next spring.

I liked the black traps. Really really fast. They killed my mice so fast that their eyes were still open. Boom. Dead. Gross, and I wanted to have a heart attack, but dead nonetheless. (PS – I also got rid of the broom that I used to sweep the mouse and trap into the bag so I could take the package to a garbage can away from my house. Yes, I’m that lame.)

Best part of this post? My Captcha is “massing tonight”. The mice know you’re after them…

5 Chantal November 3, 2009 at 10:55 am

Oh I HATE mice. When we lived in the country, in a century home, we had so many of them in the walls it made me squirm. Honestly it was one of the reasons i listed when I insisted we had to sell. The house was too old to seal up entirely and both myself and D are allergic to cats. We have had a mouse in our town house (got in through the garage door) but we caught it fairly quickly (although not humanely ๐Ÿ™ ).

6 Guillermo November 3, 2009 at 11:04 am

That guy must be strong… I can imagine the f…er in a dark corner of your laundry room, removing the trap out of his body like Rambo in the cave… Time to move washer and dryer upstairs and lock the place forever! let the next generation deal with it!

7 Guillermo November 3, 2009 at 11:05 am

Oh! I just fond this a second ago… It looks like it ran out of the lab!

http://science.slashdot.org/story/09/11/03/1450211/Scientists-Build-a-Smarter-Rat?from=rss

8 alison November 3, 2009 at 11:11 am

I have *so* been there. I think mice can smell or otherwise sense the presence of a cat in the house. We lost Elvis in Feb 2007, and that fall and winter, mice moved in. Then we got Max, who killed 3 or 4, one spectacularly during Easter dinner with friends over. I blogged it of course. My suggestion, same as the first poster. Time for another kitty.

Oh, and screen captcha: Stephen inspired. Your fears were Stephen inspired, lol.

9 UberGeek November 3, 2009 at 11:29 am

Go with the Peanut Butter option.

I will also offer up a large white cat, Known mouser, likes to deliver his catches as proof of his prowess. errr loves children and dogs, yeah… and doesn’t shed. I can drop him off tonight, well actually how about right now.

oh yeah, Fill the garage with traps as well. and check under the bathroom sinks.

10 Amber November 3, 2009 at 3:07 pm

You have my sympathies. Those mice are WILY, and they are hard to get rid of. I wish you the best of luck, and a lovely mouse-free home.

11 Jody November 3, 2009 at 4:01 pm

I feel for you. We had mice in Connecticut, and we used the white “clamp/clip” style trap that sounds similar to what you’re describing. It always worked, and we always caught our mice in threes, and once, when we opened the door to the attic, a little group of dead baby mice fell down on us, presumably because we had killed their mama earlier. My karma shriveled a little that day, but: MICE. NOT HYGENIC.

We had a guy here in the new house to clean our ducts and he found a couple of old glue traps under the rafters, both featuring … well, what’s left of mice in traps that were set at least five years ago. (Shudder)

12 DeuxHirondelles November 3, 2009 at 9:09 pm

Yup, peanut butter and spring traps. We prefer the ones with the yellow ‘cheese slice’ bait platform.
A house we bought in ’07 for our future retirement had had a mouse problem for years. How could we tell? There was a package of baking chocolate, partly gnawed, left in a lower kitchen cupboard. The package design was no longer current and dated back to the 80’s if I remember correctly. Once we had blocked all access routes, it took us 6 months to be certain we had caught all the mice. One mouse tried to reach onto the bait plate to retrieve the PB with his paw. He was caught by his shoulder only and dragged the trap 11′ across the room before succumbing to his injuries. I suggest you expand your search radius.
We also had a rodent problem in our suburban Ottawa house. We slowly whittled down possible access points to one corner of the house. The sill plate bolted to the top of the concrete foundation wall was improperly joined and had left a small hole. Once we blocked it, it took about 6 weeks to get rid of all the mice.
One uninvited guest was a vole. He could run across the trap and not trip it. I ended up using a stick to trip the trap while he was nibbling, then broke into tears. I recognize the necessity of ridding our living space of the critters, but I still feel bad about it.

13 Rev Dr Mom November 4, 2009 at 3:35 pm

Shudder….It was just about this time last year that I had a mouse invasion, including the mouse that TRIED TO CLIMB IN MY BED WHILE I WAS IN IT. Shudder.

I confess that I went straight for the mouse poison. I have neither little kids nor pets to worry about, and in the end, the only place it was consumed was in the garage, so I knew right where they were coming from.

Ugh.

14 Amy @ Muddy Boots November 5, 2009 at 10:13 am

“he is Legion.”

“tiny demon claws scrabbing against the gates of insanity here”

“six hundred and sixty six good reasons NOT to open the door”

Dani! YOU ARE ON FIRE! Great post.

15 Batman November 8, 2009 at 12:33 pm

I hate meeses to pieces.

Good job on getting the mouse. I’m a little worried about the lost trap though. If you’re missing a trap, it generally means something set it off. Hopefully there’s nothing still stuck in it. You wouldn’t believe how bad something so small can smell when it’s dead.

I have a lot of experience with mousing from my time living along the river (in a house not a van!). The riverbanks were a summer hotspot for mice and the little buggers liked to vacation indoors during the winter. I used to have three traps set up around the third floor of the house to thin the herd. I had better results after I tied a string to the trigger on the snap traps and cut the ends short. Then I’d smear it with peanut butter. Bingo! Best bang for the buck…

Oh…from my experience…there is no such thing as just one mouse. Amy is right…they are legion.

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