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Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Mouse Double Clique
'Twas the night before Christmas,
And all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring,
Not even a mouse.
Which then begs the question
So often I quote,
"Why in God's name is there a rodent
In this poem of note?"
You see I have little fears
Of things in this life,
But a creature running through my den
Completely scares my wife
And to be completely honest,
With this fear I agree.
If I see a mouse in my house,
It is World. War. Three.
That's right. It's holiday time, and mice are on my mind. I have been hearing stories recently from friends who have had not one or two, but actual invasions of rodents in their homes, and the stories are not all pretty. Let's lay some ground rules:
- Yes, I understand that mice are living creatures, created by God for us to have dominion over and to protect.
- Yes, I understand that mice can be more scared of us than we are of them.
- Yes, I understand that the methods of disposing of mice can be cruel and unusual.
Now, that we have that out of the way I want everyone to know that I do not have a problem with mice.
I HAVE A PROBLEM WITH MICE IN MY HOUSE!!!!!
You know how when you're walking outside and you see an ant hill and hundreds of ants going back and forth carrying food and building materials? You're like "Wow - look at nature! So cool!" Nobody bothers them, you watch in amazement, and then you go about your day.
Let's say that same procession of ants is in your bathroom . . . on the way there from the living room . . . . somehow from beneath your couch . . . where you discover after moving it . . . there is an old Wheat Thin on the floor that has attracted the horde of insects into your living space. It's not so cool then is it? That's when nature stops and RAID-APALOOZA 2011 begins.
You: "Well Funkyman, ants are supposed to live outside. Mice are domestic creatures that enjoy the comforts of shelter and warmth."
Funkyman: "Oh, OK. I think there's a house down the street they would love."
You: "That house probably already has mice. Your house . . ."
Funkyman: "Not my house."
You: "But you're being silly, you just need . . . "
Funkyman: "Not my house."
You: "No let me finish. What I'm trying to say . . . "
Funkyman: "Do you hear me? NO MI CASA!!!!!"
You: " . . . you're crazy."
Funkyman: "CRAZY LIKE A FOX!!!"
I know it's holiday time, and we watch these cute little movies with families dwelling in harmony with the little mouse hole in the wall, and then we go inside the hole and see the mouse family, and oooh they're so cute. Hey they're people too and they have feelings and
REALITY CHECK! Check the FACTS!
- Mice are nocturnal
- As soon as they think you're not around, they don't stay in the walls - they run around your ENTIRE HOUSE - your beds, your clothes, your desk, your kitchen appliances, your pantry, etc.
- They can live for a long time on almost nothing
- THERE'S NEVER JUST ONE
- Some mice are NOT afraid, and want dominion over YOUR space
- Mickey Mouse is NOT REAL - sorry Aimée.
I know that everyone has a mouse horror story. Here are some of mine for your reading (dis)pleasure.
OK, this one isn't mine. A friend told me once of a jar of marshmallow Fluff she used to keep in her desk drawer. One day, she opened the drawer, unscrewed the jar of Fluff, and was face to face with a dead mouse staring up at her - eyes wide open - in shock. It seems the mouse got into the desk drawer, gnawed its way into the bottom of the plastic jar, and began to eat the fluff, crawling insde and getting trapped in the sticky goodness. My friend never ate Fluff again. How about you?
My very first experience with mice in my living space was when I lived in a studio apartment in Jamaica Plain. Surrounding the perimeter of the room was the heating system - a perfect covering for any creature who wanted to run around the apartment unseen by occupied eyes. I had several mice running around the room, into the room, in the trash - one day a mouse leapt out of my trash when it heard I was approaching the kitchen - it had to stop.
Since I was inexperienced as to how to deal with them, I went and bought the traditional mouse trap - cheap, wooden, and grotesquely efficient - or so I thought . . .
I set the traps around the room under the heating vent, and one day I came home to find one of the traps had been flipped over. Now here comes the hard part - getting on my knees and picking up this trap with a dead mouse. As I bent down and reached for the trap, suddenly
THE TRAP JUMPED AWAY FROM ME. THE MOUSE WAS NOT DEAD - still fighting for its life. This completely freaked me out, and I have not enjoyed using those kind of traps since. Poor fella.
DOUBLE-CLICK YOUR MOUSE
One night, I was doing some work in the basement of a church, sitting in the office at a computer. A mouse ran across the top of my computer. Insert scream here.
One night, my wife prepared to step into the shower, but before she turned on the water, she noticed small black droppings in the tub. Yes, it was mouse droppings. As she ran to tell me, I built up my courage to go investigate. Sure enough, there they were, and I thought to myself, "How did the mouse get in an out of the bathtub?"
No sooner did I think that then, I pulled back the shower curtain to discover, the mouse had NOT left the tub. It was trapped. Somehow, it scaled the shower curtain and fell into the tub, and now it couldn't get back out again.
You're probably wondering what I did. I contemplated back and forth about the benefits of seizing the upper hand and getting rid of him once and for all versus being humane and helping him get out. Of course, helping him meant catching him first, because there was NO WAY I was going to let him free into my house to scamper away just to bother me again. The mouse was leaping and scurrying like crazy trying to get out. My wife was crying, my daughter was terrified. What should I do? Hmmm . . . .
I will not terrorize you with the details, but to paraphrase the movie Die Hard, let's just say that mouse will not be bothering us for the rest of his life. Honestly, it took me weeks to get over it, and I still have bad thoughts of that night.
Am I a monster? Perhaps. I think mice ARE cute - in a cage, where I can be assured they'll stay. I'd even go so far to pet one if it were truly domesticated. But just like cats and dogs - you wouldn't let a wild cat live in your house (see The Hangover - LOL!), nor would you let a wild dog around your children. Why should I tolerate a wild mouse? Why can't they all be cute and cuddly like Mickey?
So peace, hope, love, and joy to you this holiday season. I'm praying for a mouse-free home for each and every one of you. And if you or anyone you know has an issue with mice - please seek professional advice, and do NOT call