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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Abandon All Hope, Ye Mice Who Enter Here

My husband is mowing the lawn. Then he will aerate and seed. It's that time of year. Last week, the Canadian geese arrived. At dawn and dusk, they squawk and honk, then fly off to do whatever it is Canadian geese do, which is fly, I guess. And this morning, I found the first signs of the annual invasion of mice.

My house, made of barn wood, attracts mice. As soon as it gets nipply, in they come through every crack and crevice. A favorite entry place is the corner of the drinks cabinet, and really, who can blame them? They roam, nibble and deposit evidence of said nibbling among the Pims and ginger beer. They get into the junk drawer, the silverware drawer, the basement. One morning, after leaving dishwater overnight in the sink, I reached in and found one drowned.

At first, Graham and I battled them with Little Nipper mousetraps. They're the best ones. The spring action is quick and lethal. Just after dusk, I hear them going "snap!" in the pantry, beneath the window sill, in the kitchen cabinet. I fling the carcass into the woods, guiltless.

But last year, we couldn't keep up with them. Vigilant at first, we rebaited the traps after each catch, but after a while, the blood lust faded, and we fooled ourselves into thinking we had them under control. Pretty soon, while watching TV, we felt one run over a foot, and rodent rage returned.

Let me pause for a moment to acknowledge that mice are God's creatures. So noted. They are also disease-carrying intruders and will chew through triple wrapped packaging to turn groceries to garbage. They also poop with each breath they take. I feel the need to assert my superiority in the food chain.

On the advice of a neighbor, we tried poison. The poison makes them thirsty, so the theory is they will go outside in search of water, then die outdoors. Good theory. In actuality, they die in our basement in some corner behind steel shelving where you never find them, not even after they bloat and turn to decomp. Mice decomp is bad news. Not only does it STINK, it also attracts maggots, which lay eggs that hatch into big ass flies. It's one Biblical blight after another.

I know what you're thinking. "That's what you get for killing God's creatures." To you I say, "Bite me."

Another neighbor suggested a cat. We tried it. Our dog, part wolf, gave it that lean and hungry look. We took the cat away before it became lunch. See? We're not completely insensitive to animals. Just mice. And snakes. And spiders. And ticks. And home invaders of the Ninja variety.

As for those anti-pest devices that claim to keep rodents at bay by emitting a high frequency signal undetectable to the human ear? Well, guess what? The signal is undetectable to any ears. It's the best consumer rip-off since snake oil. And those glue traps seem worse than quick death. Capture them alive? Well that sort of defeats the whole point. And I'm not going to put them in the car and drive them into the next county.

This year, I'm going to try a combination of techniques. Above ground, I've put poison in the drinks cabinets and other favorite places. In the basement, traps. My hope is that the above ground mice will find their way outside. The basement mice I will have to retrieve and throw away. I know what will happen, though. I'll get tired of descending the basement stairs every morning to collect carcasses. Then the mice will party and have babies and we'll be overrun again.

We could move, but that would be admitting defeat. Besides, we don't want to move. If you lived here, you wouldn't want to move, either. It's our home.

By day, we'll reseed the lawn, listen to geese, and enjoy the pleasures of the season. By night, we'll put on our Mr. Hyde masks and bait the traps. We have no desire to bake our bounty into pies, so please, don't be a stranger. Just don't bring your cat.


  1. Little known fact ....... mice hate Neil Diamond music (especially "Cracklin' Rosie" and "I am ... I said") played really loudly.