10 December 2011

City Mouse, Country Mouse

It's been a long week.  A miserable, sick, coughing mess of a two-year-old tends to erode a mother's patience. After a persistent 48-hour crying and coughing marathon, I finally got the poor thing to sleep and defeatedly entered my kitchen to attempt a brief cleaning session before it resumed.  There, on my oven standing on its hind legs, was a mouse.  I stared at it; it stared back at me.  I yelled at it; it ran back to its home behind my cabinets.  The audacity of mice today.

This is not our first mouse, but I hadn't seen one in months and hoped we had seen our last rodent of the 2011 season.  I thought maybe they'd be easy on me since it's my first winter here. Y'know, sell me the idea of country living a little.  I don't like any creature in my house, but I particularly dislike mice because they make me squeal like a big, sissy girl when they scamper across the floor.  Oh, and they're diease-harboring, destructive, pooping vermin.  After my trying week, Fievel was gonna get it.

The next night Vivienne's fever had broke.  She seemed in better spirits and had become significantly less velcro-ey.  I took my first respite and drove to the gym for a very hurried and pretty much pointless workout.  I had bigger fish to fry, or more literally, bigger mice to catch.  I called my good friend, Lorna, to catch up on some chatting while in the car.  After greeting each other, we exchanged the following:

Giana: "What are you doing?"
Lorna: "Getting ready for my salsa dancing lesson. What are you doing?"
Giana: "Going to Walmart to get mousetraps."

This does not make me feel good about myself.  Lorna is the quintessential city mouse: beautiful, successful, sophisticated.  Her life is something off the E! network; mine was falling somewhere in the general vicinity of Man vs. Wild.  I swear it's over if I'm ever faced with drinking my own pee. That show always had the same highlights: eat an eyeball, drink some pee.  I think he should take Rachael Ray on an excursion.  Now you've got show.  Let's see her pour some E.V.O.O. on that.

After purchasing my weaponry, I returned home for the showdown.  I am having a special guest this weekend, a friend and pastry chef.  My ego barely made it through the salsa dancing/mousetrap buying juxtaposition.  My pastry chef will NOT see a mouse in my house as we make our macarons.

We had been using these black disk traps that lure the mice in with bait and trap them inside so you don't have to witness the caught, writhing creature.  I had little confidence in this contraption and bought the sticky traps, which seemed to be more promising along with more graphic.  We put Viv to bed.  We set the sticky traps by their favorite spots.  Nick retreated to his mancave in the basement, but I was too excited to relax.  I turned off the kitchen lights, sat at my post at the dining room table, and opened the laptop.  My eyes went back and forth from computer screen to the dim kitchen, my anticipation palpable.  Only my face was illuminated by the screen of the computer as I waited and watched in the dark.  It's as sinister as I've ever felt, waiting for that mouse in my odd version of Ratatuoille meets The Tell-Tale Heart.

Then I got distracted:  the baby started crying; Nick came in to talk to me; I started looking at junk on the internet.  I would be a terrible hunter.  Later, I was about to scold Nick for being in the kitchen during my mouse-hunting expedition when it occurred to me that the noise in the kitchen was not Nick!  It was the mouse desperately trying to free himself from the sticky trap. That was pretty quick--maybe my victim also had cataracts.  Victory!

I yelled to the basement, "We caught it! We caught it!".  Nick came up, displeased by his pending role of disposing of the pest.  He said something along the lines of "*@#$%^&disgusting*@#$%^&". Then he looked at me and said, "I guess this is the point where I have to man up and find something long enough to shove it in a bag so I don't have to touch or look at it."  He's tough.

He managed to push the trap in a box in order to throw it outside.  "Do you want to see a field mouse up close? They're cute."  I peered in the box.  We had already become acquainted during our staring match the night before.  It was kind of cute, like one of those furry designer broaches. I felt a vague pang of guilt as Nick threw it outside to its demise.

He retreated again to the basement and I sat back at the dining room table with a sense of relief. We caught it. Game over.  Whew.

Not yet.  Just as I settled back in my chair, I saw the very familiar scurry across the kitchen floor. My vague guilt pang immediately dissolved.  "You've got to be @#$%^&*kidding me!!".  I ran into the kitchen just to find mouse #2 slipping back into his hole.  Now it was on.  I moved another sticky trap under the hole to catch him as we did the last.  But this little sucker was smart.  Soon enough I heard something hit the trap.  I ran into the kitchen to discover he had pushed it to the side and escaped.  Then he darted back to the hole, hurdled the trap, and landed securely in his home.  I was dealing with an Olympic mouse.  I ran to get another trap, placed them side by side, and secured them right under his hole.  Let's see if he can hurdle two.

I waited for a few hours, hoping to finish the job before bed, but he didn't return.  I started feeling a little hopeless, like I had missed my shot, and went to bed a little uneasy.  What if he was plotting his revenge?

Then, in the middle of the night, I was lucky enough to be jolted awake by Vivienne's piercing screams.  Just a typical call for juice.  I ran into the kitchen to fetch the queen her goblet and discovered we had another hit! He will not be making it to London for the 2012 Summer Games.  I gave Viv her juice, calmed her down, and cuddled her as we both fell into a restful, contented sleep.  For the rest of the night I was nestled snug in my bed while visions of a pestilence-free kitchen danced in my head.  Mice, you've met your match.

My kitchen is clean, nary a sign of the mouse massacre and I can confidently receive my pastry chef friend.  And I think I've sent my message.  These country mice better think twice before messing with this city mouse.


  1. You may want to keep some traps set. Just a helpful hint from one who's been dealing with mice for over six years. I swear they wait until we forget to set them and converge again.

  2. Thanks for the advice Dawn. I think we'll do sticky traps as stocking stuffers this year!

  3. We get mice every fall and use this battery operated trap http://www.victorpest.com/store/rodent-control/m2524

  4. Now that's a fancy mousetrap! Theresa, is there any genre in which you are not an expert?!

  5. I don't do plumbing! The "fancy" mousetrap is humane - it zaps the little critters instantly. Dump the remains and then reset the trap.

  6. P.S. You should have gone to True Value for your traps instead of Walmart ;)

  7. Absolutely delightful! Thank you for the story. I would love to take a small road trip to your farm! I am gracelessly inviting myself over. Liv

  8. Thank you :) Please come out, Liv! Let's chat--miss you!