Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Great Mouse Adventure

Imagine if you will being abruptly yanked from a deep slumber by louds thumps, thuds, and--even more dramatic, terrified screams and shrieks originating from somewhere in the other end of the house. This was the scenario that played out at my home in the wee hours of the morning several days ago. Eyes blurry from sleep, I managed to grab my baseball bat from its place bedside and threw open my bedroom door and made my way down the hallway, prepared to defend my hearth and home.

One of my daughters' bedroom lights was on and I cautiously pushed the door open and peeked inside. There, perched on a chair with a frying pan in one hand, holding the ends of a towel wrapped around her still wet from the shower body with the other hand, was my last born. And yes. She's blonde.

"Wh...wh?" I managed before she interrupted.

"There's a mouse in my room!" she yelled. "It almost ran across my feet! And it's HUGE!"

"A mouse?" I frowned wondering how a frying pan became the weapon of choice when battling a rodent and then winced, thinking of the cleanup involved in dispatching said rodent with said heavy skillet.

Or a baseball bat for that matter.

"Maybe even a rat! It was gigantic!" She went on.

I took a step back towards the door. I myself am no fan of mice, no matter how cute and adorable the animators with Disney or Pixar make them.

"Are you sure?" I inquired just about the time the vermin in question made a mad dash for my own feet. Both mother and daughter vacated the room in record time, slamming the door shut to prevent the mouse from escaping into the house.

I looked at my daughter with her wet hair and slipping towel and frying pan and began to laugh. And laugh.

"You're some 'bad ass' mouse hunter," I told her, wiping my eyes.

She was not amused.

I sent 'Mighty Mousette' as I'd dubbed her off to get some clothes on. It was just after four A.M. and both of us had to be at work early. I searched out some more suitable weaponry, including a broom and a tennis racket, and we prepared to defend our keep and vanquish the intruder. I instructed the other daughter (the one who'd worked until one and we'd woken up with our antics) to go get mouse traps while we planned a frontal assault on her sister's bedroom.

Unfortunately, this mouse proved to be rather resourceful. After leading us on a chase around the bedroom floor, the villain had the where-with-all to retreat into my daughter's closet. Now, if you know anything about a 19-year-old girl, you also know what her closet is typically like. Cluttered is way too mild a term. And point of fact, I wasn't about to go through everything in that closet piece by piece in order to find the clever critter who had retreated into the safety of the closet's clutter. No way, pilgrim.

With time ticking away, we had no alternative to set several traps, shut the door, and lure Mr. Mouse out into the open and into one of our traps. To be safe, I had set down sticky glue traps, plus some traditional mouse traps. A bit of mouse overkill, you say? You don't know this mouse.

And now for a bit of advice for mouse trap makers: Don't try to improve on the mouse trap, folks. Don't tamper with a design that works. Just give me a simple, easy to set, easy to bait mouse trap. Nothing fancy. Just functional.

It took me half an hour to get two of the new traps set.

The daughter and I left for work, secure in the knowledge that one of the four traps we'd set for the resident rodent would nab the trespasser.

The other daughter (the one with the bedroom next to the room occupied by Mr. Mouse) called my cell phone as I drove to work.

"It's scratching at the door," she said.


"The mouse. I can hear it scratching at the bottom of the door," she told me.

"Are you sure?" I asked. "Does it sound like it's dragging a trap around maybe?" After all. With four traps set in a modest sized bedroom, surely the mouse couldn't avoid them all.

"I don't think he's in a trap," she said. "I think he's trying to gnaw through the door."

And so it went throughout the day with my daughter giving various 'updates' on the scratching sounds coming from her sister's bedroom.

"Should we try to kill it?" she asked when her sister got home from work.

"Better wait for me," I advised, recalling her nearly naked sister poised on the desk chair with a frying pan at the ready.

I get off work and drive home. The other daughter has gone to work (lucky girl) so it's just Mighty Mousette and Mom to hunt down and eradicate the alien presence in our home.

I changed out of my work uniform, donned hiking boots (don't judge me) and set several sticky traps outside the daughter's bedroom door in case the mouse made a mad dash for the exit when I opened the door.

I cracked the door open.


I go in.

And discover the *#@! mouse has chewed a quarter sized hole in the carpet behind the door in an attempt to escape! I also discover that one of the sticky traps has disappeared. Gone, baby, gone.

Puzzled, I cautiously begin to look through the room. I move the bed. Smack things around in the closet. No sticky trap.

I finally pull the bed into the middle of the room only to discover the sticky trap stuck to the bottom of a rug that was some distance away from the trap initially.

Damned glue trap.

And then I see both mousetraps have been sprung.

But no mouse.

Now I'm really mad.

So, I reset the traps and add another one for good measure. I shut the light off and close the door.

Five minutes later we hear a trap go off.

I slowly open the door and peek at the trap behind the door. Nothing. I look at the one in the corner. Still set.

I then poke my head over near the bedside table and look down at that trap and there he is sitting on top of the sprung mouse trap casually eating the bait. I bring my broom down on him. Bam! He scampers back to the safety of the closet.

Now this is really war!

I dig out two more mousetraps and set them, turn the light off, and close the door. No sooner had we returned to the other room than we hear a trap go off.

My daughter and I look at each other.

We return to the door of her room, slowly open the door, and peek in. And there he is. Caught in Trap Number 3. All the fight out of him. Permanently.

"He's disgusting!" my daughter shivers, and takes a picture with her phone to show friends.

We dispose of him appropriately (the neighbor's cat was thrilled) and went about the task of cleaning up the room and laundering bedding.

Today I went into the daughter's bedroom and my breath hitched when I noticed the other traps I'd left set had been sprung.

No. Couldn't be.

I went out and bought new, better traps (which means the old-fashioned ones) and set them to make sure we didn't have any additional 'lodgers' in residence.

This evening my daughter finally advised me she'd sprung the other traps by accident.

Good to know.

And that's the story of the Great Mouse Hunt. The downside is the time and energy wasted in eradicating the rodent.

The upside? My daughter finally cleaned out her closet.

Do you have any 'unwanted visitor' stories to share? Any critter phobias you experience? As Helen Keller put it, 'Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.'

I dunno. I think I could do 'nothing' for a change.


Bullet Hole Bacus


Christie Craig said...

Oh my Gosh! Too funny, girl. I just glad you didn't pull out a gun to eliminate the problem.


Suzan Harden said...

Our best story - a raccoon managed to crawl into our unfinished attic. A very pregnant raccon. Nothing like pregnant raccon belly dragging across the ceiling to wake you at 3AM.

So I called Animal Conttrol. But apparently here in Houston they will only remove dogs and cats. They recommended a wildlife rescue group. After the third try, a wonderful, marvelous lady named Beth recommended rags soaked in fox scent to drive away the soon-to-be momma.

For an area that's big on manhood, guns and hunting, do you know how much trouble I had explaining what I needed TO MEN, much less finding it?

Once we found a bottle of fox scent, the DH and I took turns ripping up old shirts, dousing the material and scattering them around the attic. A stinky job, but it worked.

catslady said...

Actually I was routing for the mouse - sorry lol. I was hoping he left the house but that never does seem to happen. I have 6 inside cats and we recently had a mouse in our gameroom ceiling. Although two cats tried to get into the ceiling (almost succeeded), I was more afraid they would get stuck or lost in the walls somehow. My husband found a trap that is totally enclosed so you don't have to see it (well at least I didn't). It worked and my cats kept looking for the darn thing for weeks after lol.

Brandy said...

We set out cat food for the strays, but one night we discovered that homeless cats aren't the only creatures eating the cat food. Up on the table where we placed the cat food (to keep ants away) was an Opossum, a baby or youngster, calmly eating the cat food. One of the strays we feed was NOT happy to have this visitor and hissed at it. The Opossum crawled under the table in fear. We did not chase him/her off. I guess we're too soft hearted.

Terry S said...

That was hilarious. My cats for some reason seem to think mice are toys that I occasionally and thoughtfully provide for them. I tend to just leave the house for a couple hours. When I come back I use the broom and dust pan to scoop up the body. Since there is not a mark on the body, I figure they played it to death. Thank goodness it is usually years between incidents.

Delia DeLeest said...

Just this morning I went out to the washing machine to find the cat had left me a gift - a big ol' dead rat. she usually hauls them into my daughters bedroom and puts them under the bed where we don't find them until we start smelling them.

I'm still freaking out about the dead mouse she left in the hallway in the middle of the night. I stepped on it.

Becky LeJeune said...

Yeah, I won't go into my own adventure, but I had a wake-up call (literally) when I was 16 and had to seriously clean out my own room thanks to the critters. Fortunately my cat helped in the process!

Martha Lawson said...

I laughed my a** off at that!! I needed that laugh! Unfortunately, since we live next to fields, I'm use to mice (even though we do live in town) when they cut beans, or corn, whatever is planted that year. they seem to think my house is the place to come! Now, tho, we are having a problem with RATS! Thank goodness they are outside. We can't use poison on them on account of my puppies. All I can say, if a rat comes in the house, he can have it - I'm leaving it to him!!

Anonymous said...

Hmm Ive got pet mice and they scratch on my door when they want me to pick them up. Shame about ejoying killing it though I dont kill peoples cats and dogs

Anonymous said...

Hmm Ive got pet mice and they scratch on my door when they want me to pick them up. Shame about ejoying killing it though I dont kill peoples cats and dogs

I do think most people are naturally vulgar