Wednesday, October 24, 2012

From the Belly of the Beast

This one.

This crazy halloween vulture has brought forth one of our kookiest family adventures to date.  And sadly, it's an adventure I should be ashamed & embarassed to admit.  Which is exactly why I feel compelled to blog it.

I'll start at the beginning.  Nine days ago to be exact.

Monday, October 15th 7:50 am: The kids depart for school, and as they leave the house notice that one of the halloween yard ornaments had been blown over, and lighbulb burnt out from the winds the night before. 
I unplug it, and drag it into the front room with plans to attend to it later.  It's Monday after all, and we're not in a hurry to accomplish anything on Monday mornings.  The kids and I muddle through the early morning taking our time to get dressed, brush teeth, all the while I slurp through my first pot of coffee and eye the tacky plastic vulture laying in the front room beckoning for a new lightbulb.  It was accomplished by lunch time for sure.  Anyhow, as I removed the screws from his backside, and opened up the cover to replace the light, I noted (though obviously didn't process the info till later) that his belly was full of mouse droppings.  I even remember this is a warm place for mice to snuggle in the cold fall weather.  Lightbulb is replaced, and vulture returns to his place on the front stoop.

And so our adventure begins...from the belly of the beastly vulture.

Later that afternoon, kids off to school, Annie napping, I sit at the kitchen island sipping more coffee and sifting through e-mails to the hum of the washer and dryer running.  Out of the corner of my eye, I see movement down the hallway.  I peek up from the screen to see a mouse creeping his way into the hall closet.  My jaw drops in disbelief.  I have not seen a mouse in more than a dozen years...not since we lived out in the country in the old farm house.  You have got to be kidding me!  By now I've had enough caffeine to realize that the mouse droppings inside the vulture surely meant that there was indeed a mouse...and that mouse was now finding himself a warm snuggly place in our house.  DUH!  "Over my dead body."  I grunted outloud.  I tiptoed quickly down the hall and pulled open the closet door.  Obviously he's sneakier than me.  But he's new to the indoors, so I'm confident we'll have him caught in no time.  I pull out all the shoes, vaccuum the closet floor, and reorganize them...somehow I'm sure mice don't like organized sneakers.  (Mostly I wanted to be sure he wasn't making a warm home in a size 9.) 

I spent most of the evening in disbelief, and talked through a plan a couple times with John about how to get rid of the little guy.  I should have acted faster.

Tuesday.   Day 2.  I hadn't yet told the kids about our visitor.  These are not the conversations we want our kids to be having with other folks.  Why?  I don't know...but it just seems "dirty" and well, better left untalked about.  (pffft.  whatever.)  As I walk into the kitchen first thing, kids are gathering in for breakfast.  We sit happily munching our toast and cereal, and what the heck?!...that mouse shoots out of the music room, slip-sliding across the hardwood and right into the pantry.  He looked more confused than the kids, who by this time are standing on their chairs screaming "RAT!"  I assure them it's not a rat, and confess the happenings of the day before.  Mental note...get a trap from the hardware...stat!
Just moments later, he's darting from the pantry across the kitchen and under the fridge.  Dangit.  This time, no hysterics, we all just look at each other in disbelief.  Game on.

I stop by the hardware later that day for an assortment of snap traps,  bait them with peanut butter, place them scattered throughout the house...closet, pantry, music room, under fridge...everywhere.

By dinner, they're all licked clean.  But no mouse.   Oh, he's goooood.

Weds.  Day 3.  Alice opens the pantry first thing to check the traps...and sure enough that little booger shoots out the pantry and through her legs.  She's gasping, and thrilled.  The chase is on.  I grab a broom (as if I'm that swift), and we chase him under the sink, and out again, behind the washer and dryer, and back under the fridge.  Foiled again.  We all settle down for breakfast chatting about the little rodent like the some people rant about the latest survivor episode.  (Is that show even on?!)  Anyways.  Lively conversation to say the least, it was thrilling.  This day I'm more careful as to placing the pin of the trap just barely on the edge, so that the slightest movement will set it off.  Nutella is our chocolately new bait of choice, as it sticks into the trap a little better. 

All the traps are licked clean by dinner.  Are you kidding me?!   Oh no, he didn't.

Now, I'm googling homemade traps.   I'm am going to get this booger if it's the last thing I do.
The kids are mapping out homemade's engineering at it's best.

I came up with a ramp/bucket/spinning wheel of peanut butter that promises to be the only way to catch mice.  I set it up near the pantry at bedtime.  Muwahahahaha!  It promised wrong.

Thurs.  Day 4.  Traps are licked clean again, and no mouse in my bucket of spinning peanut butter wheel of doom.   I'm growing weary.   And the mouse is getting fatter.  That's okay, fatter means slower.  I'm bound to get him eventurally, right?!  Oh, and by now the kids have all but taken out a news ad sharing the adventures of our RAT we have in our kitchen.  Friends are asking for updates, wondering if we've named him.  (NO.  We have not.)  So much for keeping it our dirty little secret.

This day, a friend suggests sticky traps.  Little trays of glue that catch them on the run...and they stick there...till they die.  Inhumane, I know.  But I am on a mission to rid my house of this little rodent.  I have no mercy at this point.  Back to the hardware for a half-dozen sticky traps.  I place them near floor boards, and near little crevices.  This is it.  Bring it on...

Friday.  Day 5.  I wake up to find one of the sticky trays pushed across the kitchen floor with a Lego in it.  Are you kiddin' me?!  The kids weren't out of bed yet...this fat slick annoying mouse beast is toyin' with the wrong mama.  (by the way, I quit baiting the snap traps...he's not going to be adding to my grocery bill...the ramp/bucket/spinning wheel of peanut butter death is now in my closet, and John's clothes are starting to smell Jiffy, and I'm upping the ante by putting a smidge of peanut butter on the sticky traps.  If he won't cross them by accident, we'll lure him in... (curse, curse, snarl.  He's not gonna get the best of me!  Is he?) whatever-the-heck-it is.  I've almost given up hope.  I've cleaned behind/under all my kitchen appliances, cleaned the entire pantry and restocked.  I've not found any evidence (can you say, chocolate sprinkles) that he's still around.  But, I'm afraid he still is.  Either he can't fit through the holes anymore...since he was fed like a king his first days here...or he's off calling in his friends...or perhaps, he's finding a food source someother place I've not realized yet.  I'm thinking by Christmas he could be the size of a small weiner dog.  And good news...the kids are really hoping for a puppy.

Oh Lord...please help me with this one.

I'm growing weary....


Kathy said...

Use chunky PB in the traps and force a portion of a peanut in the gap where the where goes. When he pulls out the peanut, he goes to mouse heaven.

Anonymous said...

I prefer using something like this. It's called a kill and contain mousetrap. They have them at Walmart for sure. Little booger just walks right in there, and the door shuts behind him. You know you've got one when the red flag pops up. And you don't have to touch it (I'm not a huge fan of mice).

Pam Kaiser said...

Jamie ~ No solutions here but I have to admit to a fit of laughter!!! You have such a wonderful way of painting a picture. I hope that picture is without a mouse. Stat. :)

April said...

smear the peanut butter on the bait part of the snap-type trap, then wrap some thread around the bait part and kind of embed it in the peanut butter. The little mouse's teeth get caught in the thread, making it go off more easily for the smarter-than-usual type of mouse you seem to have :)