Friday, May 20, 2011

The mouse, part one

So there was this mouse.
This past winter I was cleaning stuff off the pantry floor, picked up a discarded cloth grocery bag, and discovered a few cups of catfood inside. I was confused for a moment until I noticed little mouse droppings in a corner. Great. And yes, I'm the worst housekeeper ever. Mr Mouse had been stashing that away for a while I guessed. So I threw out the bag and cleaned up the pantry and washed the floor and the next day found myself staring at the display for vermin traps at the hardware store. The classic wooden Victory ones were there, but so were a variety of humane traps. Live and let live is my motto, and I didn't want the mouse dead, just out of my house, so I bought a couple of non-killing traps and went home. It took a week to talk myself into baiting them and putting them out. I'd like to make one thing clear at this point-I'm not afraid of mice. I do not jump on chairs or scream, they do not bother me in the slightest when they are alive and free and running around places that are not my house. I always wanted gerbils or hamsters (my parents wouldn't let me have them) and I even raised lab rats. My problem is dealing with dead mice or captured, panicked mice. I had visions of the mouse crawling into the trap and getting caught and then squeaking and freaking me out in the middle of the night. What if the kids were here? And what would I do with it? I'd have to drive it somewhere (I was thinking the nicer area of town with the big houses) otherwise it would just get back into my house. I'd have to transfer it to something with air holes, maybe a cage? I didn't have one. Would it chew through a cardboard box? Maybe the kids would like to see it, would they get attached? Blabbyblahblah my brain inventing all these scenarios that had me suddenly incapable of handling a very small rodent. Dumb brain. I overcame, set out the traps, and waited, and waited. And moved the traps, and changed the bait, and waited some more, and tried a few more traps of different types, and waited. Nothing. Yet all the while I was finding new stashes of catfood hidden here and there and droppings. I cleaned and cleaned and moved things out of areas I knew that mouse was hanging around to discourage it when there was nothing to hide behind and tried to close its access points into the house. You may ask where my cat was for all of this, well, she was mostly sleeping on my bed and the living room sofa. She's at least 300 in human years of something, so while she was a fantastic mouser in her prime, those days are over. I think that she has adopted the "I don't see you, you don't see me" policy.
This went on all winter. I finally mentioned it to my landlady and she was shocked and claimed to not have any mice, despite living downstairs. I'm fairly certain that my mouse did not parachute into my house, but nevermind. She came up that afternoon and dropped off a couple of the classic Victory traps. Sigh, she was right. Mr Mouse had to go. I nearly took my finger off setting the traps and placed them in two places where I know he was hanging out, and went about my evening. At 11:30pm I heard one snap. I froze, paralyzed by the inevitable. I texted a friend in a panic and he said to leave it until morning and try to forget it. In the morning I slowly opened the cupboard door and looked inside to see an empty trap, the cheese gone. Damn. I was a bit relieved, but then pissed off - now I'd have to do this again! I set it again, this time with a smaller piece of cheese, and closed the cupboard. In the morning I opened that cupboard to grab a bottle of cleaner because the cat barfed on the floor, and saw trap the had been successful. I actually only saw the tail in the quick glance before I closed the cupboard. Yay and crap. What was I going to do now? I texted my friend again, now Monday morning. The kids were eating breakfast in the dining room, and I figured it would be best not to mention it. Naomi would have stared and poked and Ben might have gotten upset and insisted on a burial. My friend came over and disposed of the corpse seeing as how I couldn't even look at it. It was quick and with minimal clever remarks. I felt like a wimp.
I'm just not cut out for premeditated murder I suppose. Perhaps it gets easier after your first kill?

No comments: