When the harvest rolled around, we were warned to keep our doors closed. Mice, fleeing the harvesters, would be all “Rats of NIHM” and take up residence inside.
|Raise your hands if you had a crush on Justin. |
Just me then?
But the weather! Oh, the weather was glorious! Warm sun, cool soft breeze, and the smell of woodstoves, drying leaves, and freshly turned soil! How can you keep the door closed!?
The harvesters came and went and we closed up the doors and only then, after things had settled down, did we first hear it. The unmistakable sound of scratching from inside the walls. Inside the brick walls. Yeah, ponder that one for a moment. So mice had somehow gotten inside the walls of the house. Not inconceivable, this is an old house, there are bits under the eves that aren’t sealed and there are climbing vines that go up and over and there’s also the chimney, so even if we kept the doors closed, mice in the walls was probably inevitable.
But then came the rustling from the trash bag.
Now, we throw away a lot of plastic wrapping. The newspaper comes every day in a plastic bag and when it’s crumpled, it has an unfortunate tendency to unbunch and make a spooky “animal-in-the-bin” rustling and it has been known to leap out of the trash and scare the bejezus out of me.
Yup, I’ve lost my bejezus all over the kitchen floor. The floor I let my child lick. How else is she going to build up a bejezus tolerance, I ask you? They don’t put bejezus in the milk in Denmark.
Then one day something dark scurried across the kitchen floor and up under the stove while I was sitting in the dining room, having lunch. I didn’t want to tell the DB, also known as He Who Is Scared of Rodents, but I figured honesty was a better policy.
Okay, okay, and because I knew he’d be all “OMG EEEEEEE!” and then I’d feel all manly inside.
But he was a champ. He put on his big girl pants and decided to move the stove and look behind it. I was against this, because moving a stove to look behind it will accomplish nothing other than maybe convincing the mouse to run across your feet and under something else, but the DB was adamant. I think he was expecting to see a little mouse hole in the wall.
|Silly DB. I would NEVER paint my walls this color of pink!|
Nope, no hole and no mouse. We’ve since found mouse droppings in the bottom of the oven, so now we know where the mouse was hiding and how he felt about being shaken in the oven for half an hour.
|Not the shake 'n bake I had in mind.|
The DB was frustrated. There was a mouse in his house and it was obviously mocking him!
Then one day, a rather excited husband calls me to the kitchen. “There’s something in the garbage! I think it’s the mouse!!”
I’m no idiot, so despite doubting his assertions, I am careful as I begin to remove trash from the bag. Suddenly the bag rustled. And then something moved. Gently I pulled an orange juice box out and under it was a small, plump, brown, fuzzy body with black eyes looking up at me. As mice go, it was really quite cute.
Quickly I closed up the bag and carried it outside and to the back of the property. I laid the bag down on the ground and opened it. A bit of prodding the bottom of the bag with a stick and a sudden streak of brown shot out of the top of the bag and bounded into the bushes.
I was proud of mah self.
I was even prouder when I did it again a day or two later. This was a smaller brown body with black eyes, but he or she bounded away from the trash bag with the same enthusiasm of the first mouse.
So now we had a system. And I’m sure if the third mouse had read the script, it would have worked. But OH NO, he had to be difficult. I opened the pantry door in our mudroom a few days ago and something leapt behind the beer bottles. Something brown and furry. Something with big black beady eyes.
“Chase it outside,” the DB cried. And I tried. But have you ever tried to chase a mouse outside? When there are so many other things to run and hide under? When outside is cold and there’s no food and inside is full of warmth and fruit peels? Yeah, you’d be swimming in my coffee grounds to, you know you would.
I apologized to the DB. Not ten minutes later I walked over to the changing table (also in mudroom) to straighten it up and something jumped into the box with the diapers. Something brown and furry. Something with big black beady eyes.
I leaned over and looked inside. The smallest mouse yet looked back up at me. I reached over the box, behind him. I opened the window. Never did I take my eyes off of his eyes. I reached out and slowly tilted the box towards the open window. I used one hand to hold the box and the other to hold the diapers. A gentle shake and he spun about and leapt out the window, onto the sill and ran off. It wasn’t the back end of the garden and he’s probably right now taking up residence in the garage, but he was out of the house.
Since then we’ve had no scratches from inside the walls. Apart from the faint traces of mouse discovered in the drawer under the oven, there is no sign we had three mice living with us for a few weeks.
Certainly you’d never know if from looking at the cat. Did he once look in the direction of the scratching? Did he meow at the garbage? Did he try to get into the pantry? Nope. About as useful as a tiger skin rug. Except, unlike a rug, he tries to bite your toes if you rub him with your feet.
Should have named him “Useless.”