Tuesday, March 20, 2012

There's a mouse about the house....

There's a mouse about the house is an adorable childhood book - my kids absolutely love it. Even I think it's cute. However, actually having a mouse about the house is f*cking horrifying. Like, I'd rather wake up with a huge seeping boil on my forehead sort-of-horrifying. I'm frightened. My husband is frightened. Of me. At any rate, the thing must be destroyed. I grew up on a farm, therefore the smell of a mouse is about as distinct to me as a bat to my head. Last week, I wandered into the garage and stopped dead in my tracks. There it was...the smell. Trust me, once you know it, you'll never forget it. It's like catching a whiff of your favourite perfume; you can recognize it anywhere. Except this is bad. This you wouldn't spray on your body. So I asked my husband to drop some traps. Preferably large bear ones.

We're waging war, friends. I liken it to an episode of Swamp People, albeit for the obvious differences. The big one being that rather than screeching out "Choot 'Em!", I'm cowering in a corner, openly weeping. Nor are we on on a boat, holding loaded shot-guns with cigarettes dangling from the hole(s) in our teeth. Other than that, the overall tension and excitement bear an uncanny resemblance. The conversation with my husband this past weekend went as follows:

Me: Holy f*ck, holy f*ck, holy f*ck! I found mouse droppings under the sink.
Husband: How do you know?
Me: Cause it's mouse shit. That's how I know. Tiny little rice-shaped droppings.
Husband: Are you sure those weren't sprinkles from those cupcakes? (He actually said this. I swear.) Because when I ripped that package open, those sprinkles went flying everywhere.
Me: News flash, city boy. Mice don't shit rainbow-coloured sprinkles. And let me guess, one of our children chewed holes in that plastic bag under the sink? Let me go find out which one of them did that. Cause that's definitely a time-out chair offence.
Husband: Well, farm girl, I think you're over-reacting. We'll set some traps and we'll get it. You don't need to freak out.
Me: Openly weeping (True. I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I wept. Full-blown PMS, four hours of sleep, three small children and a mouse about the house was enough to reduce me to waste.)
Husband: Hey, it's OK! We'll get it. I promise. Why are you so scared? It's just a wee mouse. It's not like we have an alligator in the house.
Me: An alligator would be better. At least I would know where the alligator is. It would sit in the bathtub to cool off, I'd throw it some pork chops and keep my eye on it until the wildlife officials came and got it. This mouse? The terror comes from not knowing where the hell it is. It must be annihilated.

Well, we did catch one. Last night in the garage. Oh, the absolute horror of it all. It had caught its hind leg in the trap and was flapping about - thankfully I heard none of this and my husband found it when he got home from work. He came screeching into the house like a warrior, wielding his hockey stick (husband, not the mouse...), and bellowed: "I got the little f*cker!" (Not around the kids, of course. We never swear around the kids. Ahem...moving on...) Jack went racing outside because he wanted to pet it. Thankfully I grabbed his arm just in time to avoid that germ-fest of love. Did I mention my husband is my hero? He really is.

We've lived in this house for over ten years and have never had a problem with this before. My sister thinks it's from my husband living here in (unsupervised) squalor for the two weeks the kids and I were out in Manitoba. She likely has a point. Although after reading a few blog posts from local exterminators, it sounds like it's a real problem this spring. With the lack of snow, mice have been seeking out all sorts of new homes to take cover until it's a little warmer. I couldn't resist reading some comment threads on What to do when you have a mouse in your house. Some of the suggestions went as follows:

  • Move. (already packing up, babe, just in case...)
  • Get a cat (I sent an email to a friend this week, asking her if she had a semi-feral, slightly vicious barn cat that we could borrow from now until the fall. Not vicious, like drag-my-baby-into-a-corner-and-chew-on-him vicious, but I-will-destroy-anything-smaller-than-a-baby-type-vicious. My, oh my, did my wonderful friend deliver. She even sent a photo. Gracie. That's the cat's name. Sounds a little too posh and kind, so I'll likely rename it Sid Vicious for the next few months (Sid Vicious seemed more appropriate than Sex Pistol...although in reference to a barn cat, either would likely work). I don't think she'll mind the name change, as long as we feed her and stroke her hair (the cat, not my friend...). Sid Vicious is due to arrive after the exterminators take their shot.
  • For humane disposal of mice, try using sticky tape rather than a steel trap. Once you catch the mouse, you can then carry the tape and release the mouse into a nearby meadow by putting some vegetable oil on its feet to release it from the tape. That, or throw the tape along with the mouse into your deep-freezer. This will be a humane way for it to die, as its heart-beat will slow as it does during hibernation, and it will freeze to death. Nice and painless. Hey, Fairy Godmother, I ain't running no catch and release program here. This is called search and destroy. I have no problem with mice...if they stay the hell away from my dwelling. You cross this threshold, you shall be exterminated without guilt. Released into a meadow, my ass. As for throwing it into your deep-freezer, you have a serious mental health issue you need to deal with. Mercifully, I don't know you, so I don't have to dodge your invites to enjoy home-cooked crock pot meals for the next, oh, 500 years.
  • Put sheets of Bounce or Fleecy in every vent in your house. Mice can't stand it. (This from my Mom. My home now smells like the detergent and fabric softener aisle in Safeway. Nice, if not a little over-powering.)
  • Pray. (I'm on it. "Heavenly Father, please accept this mouse back into your loving fold. Jesus Christ, I'm scared shitless. Amen."  Truthfully, I highly doubt that Saint Peter is currently combing through Jesus's inbox and screeching: "Whoa, WHOA, W.H.O.A.! We need to hold the line on that famine in the horn of Africa. Our lost little lamb, Janita, has a mouse in her house. All hands on deck. Stat." You see, I do believe in a merciful and loving God, however at the same time, I do possess a modicum of perspective. Sort of.
  • Raise everything in your garage at least one foot off the ground. (Done. Well, my husband did it this past weekend. I directed traffic. That's a job, too.)
  • Get an exterminator to examine your home for potential entrance points. (Done. He was here this morning. Fell in love with him, simply because he has no fear of rodents. That, and he was nice. And funny.  He conducted a thorough sweep of the house, checking for any loose covers on ducts and vents, as well as potential entry points in the foundation of the house. He and my husband became fast-friends, and together they mocked me incessantly. He said our garage and home were very clean, so there was really nothing to entice the mice to stay, and he couldn't see any way in, other than our garage doors being open last weekend when we were cleaning it out. He suspects we caught the one culprit last night. I said the garage was clean because I made my husband raise everything at least one-foot off the floor, as per instructions obtained from my extensive Internet search. He screeched with laughter, turned to my husband and stated, "You poor bastard!" Whatever. I don't mind being teased. He also checked under the t-bar ceiling in our basement and informed me that if mice were a problem, he'd be able to find droppings somewhere, and mercifully, he couldn't find any. At any rate, I still didn't believe him so I told him to lay traps filled with poison EVERYWHERE. He said he felt bad charging me for said traps and poison that we clearly don't need. I said I'd gladly pay for peace of mind. To hammer home the point, I told him about my dream last night, in great detail, of being tapped on the forehead and assaulted by an angry mouse. At some point, this guy appeared to be more frightened of me than my husband is...and that's saying something. He  proceeded to lay down the traps filled with poison. EVERYWHERE. So now, if you come to my home and see me opening a little black box with a special key, and I hand you a pink block and tell you it's an appetizer, take the hint that I don't really like you and bid a hasty retreat. That would likely be best for both of us.
  • Buy some plug-in sensors that emit a high-pitched squeal that drives rodents away. (Sonars in place. If your dog, or pet dolphin, goes ballistic near the outskirts of our home, the poor thing's ear-drums are likely bursting. Retreat.)
Most appropriately, I stumbled across this e-card on the web today:

It's a hard pill to swallow, but likely a fair diagnosis...

So, the next time I'm over at your house for a visit, be forewarned that I may disappear for a short while. I'll be off rifling through your closets, examining baseboards, plugging in sonar devices, checking the seals on your ducts and depositing sheets of Bounce into all the vents in your home. Don't be alarmed - it's what I do now. And please, no gifts. Your friendship is enough.


Laura said...

Oh man! We had a mouse in the house that "looked like the size of a huge rat" outta the corner of my eye. Our THREE indoor cats ran in horror in the opposite direction. My mom finally came over to rescue us from the mouse who would not exit from the door he entered - after jumping at us a few times when we had him cornered - he was executed in the bathroom with my husband's new garden rake.

That was 7 years ago, and I hope to never encounter one inside our place again.

Good luck!

WP said...

Call me anytime! I am an expert mouse hunter!!

Janita said...

Laura, after reading your comment last night, I've been plagued by nightmares of epic proportion...Lord have mercy. Did your Mom perform the execution? Now I can't stop thinking about it!

WP - who are you? Are you "that person" who performs mouth-to-mouth on rodents prior to releasing them back into a nearby meadow?

Laura said...

Janita - yes, my mom quickly followed him into the bathroom as I screamed like a little girl while I "blocked" the bottom of the door so he wouldn't escape again. She stood in the bathtub armed with the garden rake (I love that thing). I'm left to hear banging, squealing from both my mom and the mouse, then silence... to which she opened the door and a bunch of steam came out - it was May 23rd, and we h ave air conditioning! Mom was and always will be my hero for her efforts that day. I'll give you her number if you want some help :o} I'm useless as I spent most of the situation screaming like a banschee to which she had to force me to stop because I was freaking her out!

Kelly said...

I had tears from laughter after reading this! Growing up on a farm i know 'the smell' all too well and am equally petrified and grossed out by those sneaky little b*stards! Can you imagine going into the freezer and seeing a mouse-cicle staring back at you? Seriously, who would do that?! Thanks for making me feel 'normal'...well, not alone;)

Janita said...

Laura, I am openly weeping with laughter (and fear) at your story...your Mom is officially my hero now as well. I seriously can't even imagine having the balls to do something like that. I'd likely faint mid-strike and the mouse would start eating me.

Kelly, seriously, I can't even imagine someone thinking it's a good idea to drop a live rodent on sticky tape, into their deep freezer. Unless they were planning on dousing the entire appliance with gasoline and torching the thing. Petrified is a great word. My husband thinks I have a serious repressed memory/phobia of some sort. I said, yeah, it's called being disgusted and terrified of disgusting and terrifying things. ;)

WP said...

Sadly my friend...I am. I cannot help it, I even tried to save a bat once...A BAT! I was in tears by the end, and someone took care of him with a shovel. It was a sad, sad day. Now Spiders...they can ROT! haha!

Sandie said...

Be grateful there was only one. When preparing to move from Stoon to Regina many moons ago, we had all our worldly possessions packed and neatly stacked in the basement of our home. My then boyfriend and roommates found "them" yes not mouse but mice. Different colours and all big and fat. I went to repacking, unloading, checking and repacking and stacking upstairs all while wearing men's rubber boots and jeans tucked in cause there was no way in hell one of those critters was running up my leg. For the next few weeks we could hear them in the wall boards scratching. True, it was out of a flipping horror movie. The move could not come soon enough. December cold and we thought the rodents were under control and eft behind. All but one. We we stopped and openned the truck for something a big honking fat mouse scurried out. I said freeze bastard. So I too am less then a fan of the rodents and applaud your overkill with traps and poison. Oh Roddy should be scared of you :)

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