Tuesday, August 23, 2011

on the mouse defense

I always hated Tom and cheered for Jerry.  Jerry was cute, Tom was nasty, always painting fake mouse doors on the wall so Jerry would run into them until he saw twirling stars above his head.  Tom lived a pampered life, Jerry was just trying to grab a piece of cheese when he could.  I rooted for the little guy.

I am sorry Tom.  I was wrong.  I didn't understand what it was like.  The startling flash of something small and furry crossing in front of you in the hall.  The crumbled gnawed edges of recipe books.  The unexpected droppings on couches and countertops, places that should be safe and clean but now feel dirty and violated.  Tom, I get it now.

At first he (it could be a she, but let's just pick he for the story's sake) was invisible.  Small signs of him appeared in the kitchen and then in the livingroom.  But they were infrequent and he was actually never seen, so it felt like little harm had been done.  Then he got confident.  With all the lights on in the apartment one night, a blur of fur crossed from the kitchen into the corner of the floorboard in the hallway.  Surely that blur could not be a mouse.  A week later Mike saw the same thing, the fur blur into the floorboard at the same spot.  I went to google, "how fast do mice run."  Did you know a mouse can run 11 feet in one second?  No, neither did I.

We decided we'd have to bulk up our defense, a trip to the store for supplies and we hunkered down for a night of fortifying.  As if he knew what we were up to, that little mouse slowly and deliberately walked out of the bathroom as if he were our roommate and then strolled into the bedroom.  Our bedroom.  Where our bed is.  Where we sleep.  Mike grabbed the broom, I grabbed my camping headlamp and a can of Raid (I didn't actually use it, just programmed by roach sightings) as we attempted to shoo it back to it's hole in the hallway.

We spent the next hour on our knees around the floor of the apartment plugging every space with steel wool (did you know a mouse can fit into a hole that size of a pencil eraser?) and peppermint oil soaked cotton balls (did you know mice don't like the smell of peppermint?**).  We scrubbed and cleaned and waited to see if we were safe.  We're not.  We don't know where he's getting in, but last night he raced across the livingroom floor as we took our positions with the headlamp and the broom.

Tom, I don't know how you did it for all those years.  We're in week two and I'm ready to move. 

now I know why Tom was driven to violence

*No mice were harmed in the making of this blog post.  We currently have humane traps set around the apartment but I will admit that after tonight I am pretty close to changing my humane tune.
**I now know more about house mice than I ever wanted or needed.

1 comment:

  1. Oh I have been there, with the steel wool, the traps, the horrifying sightings (especially unpleasant when you have people over... they tend to "get tired" and leave really soon afterward). The problem is the damn little mice really can get through anything. Hope the traps work!