Thursday, March 23, 2017

Are You Smarter Than a Mouse?

Because I'm not. Forget 5th graders, all it takes to get the better of me is a mouse. Sad, but true. Three weeks, and $150 later, I may be mouse-less (oh, please, let that be true!) but I am definitely couch-less.

A Mouse Tale: A Ridiculous Saga

Was it only 3 weeks ago that I first saw signs that there was a second inhabitant in my little house? I think it was, but it seems like forever. The first couple of days were at the worst time, so all I could do was clean up the evidence, cringe, and cry a little on the inside. Finally, though, I was able to get to the store and get something to take care of the problem.

So many choices! Some say glue is the most effective, but no one will claim that it's the most humane. There are traps to catch and release (but at least 2 miles away so they don't return). There are traps that the mouse goes inside and never comes out. There are several options for poison. I went for the standard wooden trap. Classic. Cheap. Quick. Between that and the peanut butter for bait, I figured $6 was great price for a mouse-free house. Ha. Ha.

Someone told me that sometimes mice are cautious, so it's good to bait the traps a couple of times and get them used to it before you set the trap. They're less likely to nudge it and only catch a leg or something... Eww, first of all. But secondly, even though I want to get rid of the mouse NOW, I would rather do it effectively. So I baited it a few times (it's utterly disgusting to see the bait gone, because you know that bugger is wandering the kitchen... Though, I guess I knew that anyway, but still.) Finally I was ready to set the traps. I had to leave for a couple of days, so I was grossed out at the prospect of dealing with a mouse when I got home, but relieved at the idea that it would be over.

I got home late at night and immediately checked all 4 traps. All were set, and all were cleaned off. And, yes, there were signs of a mouse party in the kitchen. Stupid mouse/mice!

I re-baited. He cleaned them off again. Pretty soon, I realize that I'm just feeding the mouse.

Back to the store. Back to the array of choices. This time, since he seemed to like peanut butter so much, I got one of the traps that made him go all the way in for it and then was supposed to kill him. I kept baiting the other traps, too, but this seemed like it might be the answer.

Yeah, he wouldn't touch that trap. He'd still clean off all the others, but he left that one alone. Now what? With each "solution" you have to give it a few days to see how it works. Or, in this case, how it doesn't work.

Saturday night of the time change, I'm sleeping when a nice loud SNAP! wakes me up. I didn't even get a chance to feel any relief along with my disgust, though, because immediately that mouse went crazy trying to get loose. Sounded like he was flipping all over the kitchen! I was horrified. No, I didn't want the mouse to suffer, but then again, I couldn't bring myself to go put him out of his misery. I'm sorry, but I can't do mice much at any time of day, and having to corral and kill one at 12:30 am is outside of my ability to handle. So I put earplugs in and went back to sleep, because I can deal better in the morning.

At 2:30 he woke me up again, still flipping out. I laid awake in my bed wondering if he was injured enough to get blood everywhere in his battle. I wondered how I was going to kill him, or if I would even be able to do it. I can't do morning anymore. I can't sleep wondering. I get up, I put on my shoes, and head for the kitchen, to find... Nothing.

No mouse. No blood. No noise. And missing a trap.

I look under everything. Behind the washer. I start checking the living room furniture. Nothing. Finally, there was the noise again. He had made it down an air duct! Yes, this has huge holes, but still! It's a defunct air duct from who knows when. Back to bed and the ear plugs for me. I heard a couple more times in the night, but by morning he was pretty quiet. I'm glad he finally gave up the ghost. I'm sorry that it wasn't quick and easy for him. And now I have to figure out what in the heck to do about the mouse corpse in the air duct before it starts to rot.

I did the only responsible thing in the morning... I walked out of the house and went climbing with friends. When I got back, I realized I would have to do something, and with great dread planned to try to use some sort of broom handle plus hanger to see what I could get.

When I walked over to the vent, I saw the trap sitting right at the mouth of the vent. Empty, surrounded by the dust of the ages, but empty. What can I say? I'm almost starting to respect this thing! Not that we can live together when he's paying 0 bills and leaving messes around the house, but I almost want him to make it.. outside. Far, far from my home. As it is, I can only hope that he's injured enough to crawl away to die somewhere or traumatized enough to never come back.

It only takes a day or so to realize that neither of these things is going to be the case. It's war now. Glue, poison, the works! I put glue traps where he's obviously been walking, and he stops going that way. I put out poison, and that he won't touch. Thursday I was trying to deep clean all the nastiness (cleaning supplies... another mouse expense! I don't usually use Clor.ox, but it's a necessity in this case.) I tried moving things around. As I was cleaning other parts of my house, I realized there was mouse poop under the couch.

That was it for the couch! Not just because it was under the couch. We are talking a hide-a-bed. We are talking a couch that I have sat on to eat too many meals. I try not to be a slob, but I'm sure there are crumbs in there. Can you imagine? To pull off the cushions, open the bed find... Who knows what? No. Just, no. I made the appointment then and there for someone to come haul it off; another $100 out the door, along with the couch.

(For some context, yes, I am horrified by mice, but I have been hating this couch for the last two years. It's ugly. It's heavy and impossible to move so I can clean it. When I sit on it, I slouch and my neck and hips get tight. Sure, it's comfortable while I'm there, but then I'm more sore later. Did I mention how ugly it is? I've been considering getting rid of it, but I didn't know where it could go, I didn't know which friends would be suckers enough to help me lift it, and even though I haven't used it a lot, I didn't know what I would do without it. The mice were merely the motivation to find out where it could be hauled and realize it would be totally worth it to pay to have the mouse couch lifted by others and hauled far, far away from here. I guess I'll figure out what to do without it.)

Along with my cleaning, I re-arranged my traps. I realized that one of them that I placed in a corner would require him to come at the peanut butter from a different angle, from right over the trip bar. I didn't have a lot of hope at this point (I'm seeing exterminators in my future), but it seemed worth a try, even though I stumbled on that by accident.

Early Saturday morning... SNAP! There's an adrenaline rush for you. Tensing to wait to see if there's any more noise, but no. Silence. It is no fun to walk out there, dreading to see a mouse (but dreading more to not see it). I wish I could say that I was calm, cool and collected taking care of the thing, but there was at least some jumping. It was so good and so bad all at the same time. At least he was out of the house in just a few minutes. Finally! I don't fully trust that he doesn't have any friends, but if he does and they're ALL smart enough to evade all the traps that long, well, I'm just in a world of hurt. I haven't seen any new signs since then. I'm still jumping at small, unknown noises, but I'm hoping for the best!


The couch just left today. I realized that one of the things I would need to do without it is figure out what I want in my living room if I'm not just using things that are convenient and cheap (i.e. free when someone passes them on to me). There will be no pinterest worthy designs (and barely any pinterest-y research, I'm guessing), but I do know that I want light, easily portable things. I like being able to move things around, clean easily, etc. I have a lot of black and a little green and blue, so I'm going to actually try to pull those together. I like spending most of my time on the floor because of the extra movement it adds, but one of the downsides in here is how hard and cold the floor is (hardwood). I've already ordered a rug, and I think that it will be an awesome new piece of "furniture". It'll be a little small for the size of the room, but again, I want to put it in different configurations, and I want something that I can easily shake out. I'm also going to get a custom table, which I'm super excited about. My very talented sister is going to make it, and it will be perfect for floor sitting.

Other than that, I'm not entirely sure what I'll do in here. Before the couch left today, I was thinking that I would get a nice comfortable chair, but not too big and one that encourages sitting in a decent posture. Now? I'm liking the freedom and openness of the room so much that I'm not sure. It is just me, and I guess if you're going to be single, being unconventional is an advantage?* I would like to get some sort of an ottoman or something that I can move around and sit on as I would like.

And that is the sad saga of my stupid smart mouse. I may be really grateful about this whole couch thing, though. Having that out is giving me all kinds of energy and motivation to get things done. And now I am excited to see some clouds rolling in; hopefully they are bringing some significant amounts of rain and/or snow. We need it!

*Maybe. If it doesn't make me too weird to even date!


  1. I would not have survived this ordeal. Not even close. You are braver than I, my friend. Way way braver.

    For lightweight furniture, I do have to recommend wasn't my favorite, but it is R's, and now I can see the perks, inexpensive but reasonably durable and so semi-disposable. :-)

  2. I am with Rebecca. I would have died. But props to the mouse for being so smart I guess. For furniture, if you decide you want a little something, may I suggest patio furniture? We had a set when we were first married. It's smaller than regular couches/chairs, holds up well and is lightweight. It's also usually cheaper to get a little outdoor love seat than a typical living room set.