Thursday, April 4, 2019

There’s a Mouse in the House

I was minding my own business.

Well, not really. 

I was in the middle of frenzied dinner preparations, pots boiling on four out of five burners. I opened the drawer next to the stovetop to pull out an oven mitt.

The drawer was full of dog food.

I took a quick, giant, and entirely horrified step back. I may have screamed. When the rest of the family saw, we all had a laugh. Surely one of us was suffering a mental break or some sort of dog feeding malfunction. I immediately worried about myself. Was my mental state quite all right?

My daughter had the presence of mind to consult the Internet. She arrived at the conclusion that we had a mouse.

Full disclosure, we’d seen a mouse in our basement a few months before. Our method of removing that mouse clearly left something to be desired. Our strategy was to leave the garage door open on a mild fall day and assume that the mouse went back out again. We don’t have mouse smarts as you’ll see as this story progresses.

After accepting that the garage mouse had become a house mouse, I undertook to procure a trap. I couldn’t bring myself to get one of those lethal traps though. The thought of seeing the sweet mouse’s skull crushed or scraping its writhing body from a glue trap just didn’t sit well. So I bought a two pack of humane traps from Amazon.

We lived with the mouse for several days until we had the right circumstances (motivation, flexible morning plans for the release, ample time to steel our emotions for the task) to catch him. I put the dog food away at night and was able to keep my pot holder drawer free of its mouse hoard.

We captured our guest on a Friday night and released him into the cold of a below average temperature Saturday morning. My husband took him to the edge of our yard and gave permission for the mouse to take up residence in my daughter's old playhouse.

Mice aren’t highly suggestible as it turns out.

On a windy night in February, I saw something run from the basement door into the kitchen. My husband said, oh no, the mouse couldn’t be back. Your eyes are playing tricks on you. And for the second mouse related time, I wondered if I was quite well.

Early March found me back at the stove. Every night I’m at the stove, but apparently, I don’t always open the pot holder drawer to the fullest. I reached in to grab an oven mitt and again found a pile of dog food.

“Son of a b—,” I yelled.

This time, the drawer was also full of poo.

That night we trapped our little buddy again. On an unseasonably cold March morning, we released him at a park three miles away. It was nine degrees.

This rodent revival hit on laundry day. It seems the mouse was testing out a new spot in the clothes hamper. Unfortunately, I didn’t discover this until I’d unwittingly dumped several kibbles into the washer. It took three loads to work the dog food through the system.

The next weekend, our furnace stopped working. More accurately, it spent Saturday morning working really hard. The fan blew full blast and I said, something isn't right. My husband agreed with me and spent a good amount of time trying to diagnose the problem. We had plans to go see Captain Marvel at a far away theater that has open captioned shows, so we left our heatless house and did that. By Sunday the furnace wouldn't run at all.

The service tech came to us mid-morning on Monday. Within minutes he'd located the problem, a baby mouse in the condensate drain. Not just in the drain pipe, but several feet up in the drain pipe having navigated two bends in the 1" diameter pipe that leads to nowhere a mouse should want to go.

"I've never seen that one before!" said the tech.

We trapped three more mice after the furnace incident. Idiotically, we drove them to the park and released them. So they could be with their friends.

I’ve no one to blame for this but myself but you should know it’s been hard on me. Cold nights without heat and finding kibbles in odd areas of my kitchen. I’m fairly certain the mouse stashed kibbles in pants pockets, an added bonus for me to discover in a few months. 

I do not look forward to that.