Monday, July 11, 2011

THE MOUSE IN THE DRAWER

I’m a city girl by birth and temperament. As far as I’m concerned, the country is a nice place to visit for a few hours, maybe a few days, but no more. The suburbs are like being exiled to Elba. I’ve been exiled a very long time, and I’m getting fed up with it. Unfortunately, unless I win the lottery (note to self: you have to play to win!) or score a 7 figure book deal (Terri, are you listening?), I’ll be stuck in suburbia for the rest of my life.

Four-legged natives are one of the reasons I dislike suburbia. I’m convinced they know it and go out of their way to make my life miserable. Right now I have, not a village, but an entire city of rabbits living under my back deck. They multiply like -- well, like rabbits and eat everything from my grass to the zucchini flowers. What they don’t eat, they use as an outdoor toilet. The squirrels gobble up the green tomatoes before they have time to mature and ripen. Nothing I’ve tried gets rid of either of these predators, and believe me, I’ve tried everything, spending a fortune at the gardening center.

Now I’ve also got an albino opossum, possibly a pregnant one, living under the deck along with the rabbits. I guess they’ve formed a sort of d├ętente because I thought opossums ate baby bunnies. I’ve also had chipmunks and birds in my attic over the past year. However, nothing has been as bad as a mouse in the house.

I’ve lived in four suburban houses my adult life and never had a mouse in the house until six years ago. Remember, I said I’m a city girl. So I didn’t even recognize the evidence of a mouse at first. I thought those black things on the counter were rye seeds from the bag of bagels. No, I later discovered that’s what mouse droppings look like. Euuwww! I haven’t eaten bagels with rye seeds since.

It turns out the mouse had decided to make himself at home in a kitchen drawer where I keep take-out menus, chip clips, and coupons. Don’t ask me why. We caught that mouse six years ago and ever since have kept traps in various locations in the basement and kitchen. A year ago I discovered a dead mouse in a trap under the utility sink. At first I thought the sewer had backed up. It’s amazing how much one dead mouse can stink!

Anyway, fast-forward to the other day. I opened the drawer with the take-out menus and found some mints I’d tossed in the trash, cracker crumbs, and those rye seed looking droppings (I always thought animals didn’t go potty where they live, but what do I know?) -- evidence of another mouse, one who’d managed to avoid all the traps in the basement and kitchen cabinets. We did eventually catch the little bugger, but I’m still amazed that six years later a mouse had decided to camp out in the exact same drawer as his predecessor. 

We bought some more mouse traps, and I’m now buying lottery tickets. And still not eating rye bread or bagels.

What about the rest of you? Any critter phobias?

15 comments:

Terri Bischoff said...

LOL Lois - I am dying over here. ;) seven figures - HA! I would love that as much as you would!

I am a mix of city girl and country girl... but I can't stand mice, ticks, spiders or snakes. All of them are gross and give me the shivers. But I can tramp through the woods, go fishing, hiking and camping. But only for a few days. Then I need my bed, take out and TV!

Jennifer Harlow said...

When I was in Santa Ana I had a mouse in my room. The house had two cats and a dog and they would all just look as it passed. The bugger kept me up for a week straight an I couldn't find him. I was going mental. I laid down two types of traps and it always managed to get the food but not the trap. I named him MENSA Mouse. Then I went away one weekend, came home, and found him in a trap. It was so gross.

Lois Winston said...

Hey, Terri, you can't fault a girl for trying, right? ;-)

Jennifer, I think the vermin are getting smarter. This latest mouse avoided all the traps for several days.

Kathleen Ernst said...

There used to be a small hole in the ceiling near my desk, left from a cord the previous owner had strung through. One evening while I was working I heard a "plop." A mouse had dropped through the hole. I plugged it pronto, and my cat dispatched the mouse.

Still, I think you and I are opposites in this regard--I am not a city girl!

I trust you can use these episodes in a future book...

Cricket McRae said...

Great post, Lois! I don't really have a problem with critters or bugs, though I'm not fond of rodents in the house. One cat regularly catches mice and voles -- there is a part of the yard we call The Killing Field. One time I walked in my office where my indoor cat was playing with her mouse toy. Only it was one of the other cat's kills. Ick.

Someone recently told me a good way to get rid of animals raiding the garden is to hang paper towels soaked in the original Listorine mouthwash around the perimeter. Haven't tried it yet, though.

Lois Winston said...

Kathleen, I will definitely be putting the critters in a future book.

Cricket, I'll give the Listerine a try, but I'm not hopeful. The garden center told me to soak cardboard paper towel inserts in ammonia and place them under the deck to get rid of the rabbits, but it didn't work. If they tolerate ammonia, they'll probably just chew up the Listerine towels and wind up with better bunny breath.

Jessie Chandler said...

Lois, you poor thing. I'm okay with mice, although they do give you a shock when they go scampering off and it stinks when you can't find where they died, but you know they're rotting somewhere. The things that really freak me out are ticks, spidys and snakes. Holy shit, wanna see me scream like a little girl? There you go. Two days ago, one of my cats and I were lounging on the bed before a signing I had at Borders. 45 minutes before the signing, I'm about to get up and get rocking. I hear this strange skritching in the corner of the bedroom. I didn't think too much of it until my car lazily gets up, cranes his neck over the edge of the bed and freezes. So I look over and holy shit there's a hugemongous chipmunk on the floor!!! Of course, neither of my cats attack...(mice are more than safe in our housr)and I spend the next 20 minutes chasing the thing around with a garbage can trying to catch him. Finally I managed to get him directed toward the open screen door to the patio, and he FINALLY zoomed out. Holy cow, you should have seen the disarray I left the place in, flinging this and that away trying to find the little bugger. At least it wasn't a snake. I'd be calling 911 LOL

Beth Groundwater said...

We've had mice and voles in the yard, and some have tried to move into the garage/house when the weather turns cold, but my hale and handsome hubby traps them and disposes of them.

Squirrels, though, have successfully nested part-time in the roofs of both of our Colorado homes. I blogged about the plummeting squirrels recently in our Breckenridge home (http://bethgroundwater.blogspot.com/). They kept falling out of their nest in the eaves right above the sliding glass door out to the deck. We weren't sure if we should start wearing helmets when we walked outside--just in case.

Lois Winston said...

Jessie, hope you got to the signing in time. I used to like chipmunks (Chip and Dale, that is) until we had one in our attic a few years ago. It got trapped in the squirrel trap we keep up there. At 3am we were awakened by this godawful racket above our heads.

Beth, maybe those squirrels were watching too many Rocky and Bullwinkle reruns and thought they could fly.

Jessie Chandler said...

Lois, I'm happy to say I was only 10 minutes late, and I called ahead to let them know! The one good thing about all the racket in the attic is that at least the little twerp was corralled in the trap. Maybe I should get one.

Robin Allen said...

Squirrels and feral cats out here. I'm not sure which one likes to do laps on my roof in the middle of the night. I've tried to start a war between them, but they just blow me off.

To get rid of the critters, get a canister of fox urine granules (their natural predator) and follow the directions.

Lois Winston said...

Fox urine granules? I don't think they sell that in NJ, Robin.

Robin Allen said...

A feed supply store should have it. If not, Amazon.com sells it. The brand is Shake Away. There are different ones for different types of pests.

Darrell James said...

Come to the desert, Lois, where our visiting critters include scorpians, rattle snakes, and the occasional gila monster.

Lois Winston said...

Thanks for the invite, Darrell, but I think I'll pass.
:-)