As some of you may know, I’ve had a bit of a mouse problem as of late.
I’ve chronicled it here. Please to enjoy.
Friday, 11:23 PM
I’m spending the night in, wrapped up in a blanket on the couch with Guinness and my laptop, working our way through season four of Game of Thrones, a la Marie’s borrowed HBO GO password. I’m enjoying my second Sam Adams, Guinness is enjoying her rawhide, and we’re both enjoying the continued plight of Westeros.
Then, in the outskirts of my vision, just above the laptop screen, a flicker of movement catches my eye. A mouse scurries out of my kitchen, along the baseboard of the living room, and darts behind my entertainment center. I immediately sit up and pause a furious Cersei Lannister, keeping an eye on the corner where the mouse disappeared. I glance at Guinness, who snorts at me, annoyed that I paused during such a pivotal moment of Tyrion’s trial. She didn’t notice the mouse.
I set my laptop and beer on the coffee table, and drag Guinness with me to the entertainment center. The mouse is nowhere to be found.
I quickly take stock. I have no traps, and every store that would sell them is closed at this time of night. I have no one to call to help me hunt it down at this time of night, nor the resources for that kind of mission. I do have a terrier bred for vermin control, but she is currently trying to drink my beer by licking the label on the side of the bottle.
So of course, I text my mom.
A F***ING MOUSE JUST RAN ACROSS MY LIVING ROOM FLOOR
I finish my beer, take my purse off of the floor, and go to bed.
And so my watch begins.
Saturday, 8:16 AM
I’m en route to Target when my mom texts me back.
…no such thing as one mouse!
At Target I select some traditional snap traps and a few clamp traps, and pick up a canister of that fluffy Parmesan cheese, and the cheapest jar of peanut butter I can find — the kind that fills the room with the smell of chemically engineered sugar and manufactured peanuts when you open the lid. I then accidentally wander into the clothing department, black out, and come to in the parking lot with a cart full of bags.
Damn it, Target.
Once home, I inspect my pantry. There are no droppings or torn packages, but I throw out any open packages just to be safe. I take out the trash, clean out under the sink, and bait a dozen traps. I place the traps under the sink, behind the trashcans, in the closet with the dog food, behind the entertainment center, under cabinets, and in the garage.
Now all that’s left to do is wait.
Guinness has discovered the mousetraps.
Guinness has snapped herself twice with the same trap. No mice yet.
I can hear a phantom scratching near the refrigerator. Hopefully the source finds the trap behind the trashcan.
Monday, 6:30 AM
Home from work, I open the drawer under my stove to get a pot to make pasta. I notice droppings on the bottom of the drawer and in several of the lids. I bait another trap for the drawer, and wash the pot with soap and scalding hot water.
Mom calls me via FaceTime me so she could see Guinness, even though she “[doesn't] even like that dog”. During the call, I can hear scratching from near the refrigerator, potentially from inside the wall. Guinness sits up with perked ears as I walk into the kitchen (still on FaceTime). The scratching gets louder, and there’s squeaking, too. Guinness growls once from the couch, then flops onto her back and sighs heavily.
I bait another trap and put it in the small gap between the refrigerator and cabinet under the sink.
Tuesday, 6:30 AM
No mice. Guinness, mighty hunter, won’t stop barking at the new trap by the refrigerator because she wants the peanut butter, but the traps scare her.
I relay the events of my mouse mis-adventure to the Time Ladies.
Emily: If you didn’t have a dog I would recommend the world’s best mousetrap
I recall Emily sharing the plans for the World’s Best Mousetrap, aka The Bucket of Death, back in high school because I shared the plans with my Dad, who used the device in our garage to great success. It’s a low tech, highly effective trap that involves a five gallon bucket, a ramp, wire, a pill bottle covered in peanut butter, and water.
I decide to try my luck with the snap traps a few more days before entertaining that option.
Wednesday, 6:30 AM
I discuss my lack of luck with catching any mice with Alesha and a few other coworkers over lunch. We discuss prevention methods for future mice, as well as strategies for the current one(s).
I get a ride home with Alesha, and let Guinness out. In the kitchen, I set down my backpack and sort through mail. After a few minutes I notice an odd smell, an almost sickly sweet odor. I check the pots I have soaking in the sink, but it’s not them. I have a sudden light bulb moment, remembering the trap I had set in the stove drawer. It must have caught a mouse! Excited, I yank open the drawer to find a still baited mousetrap…and the mouse frantically clamoring over the pots and pans to escape out the back of the drawer.
“WHAT…THE…HELL” I jump backwards from the stove, fumble for the broom in the corner, and begin beating the sides of the stove with the broom. I can her Guinness whining to be let back inside, because of course she was outside when there was a chance for her to catch the mouse. I drag her inside and to the open drawer which she immediately begins inspecting in full terrier mode.
I bait more traps, sliding one between the wall and the back of the stove, and another in the gap between the other side of the stove and the cabinet.
Then, I gather my supplies to construct a Bucket of Death.
Returning from an hour long walk with Guinness, the new traps are untouched, and the Bucket of Death remains empty. I decide cooking is out, and sit on the couch with my laptop to order Chinese. As I finish, in the outskirts of my vision, just above the laptop screen, a flicker of movement catches my eye. My head snaps up and I watch the mouse scurry from under my bedroom door along the baseboard of the living room, and dart behind the entertainment center.
I set my laptop down, cursing to myself because Guinness is, once again, outside. It pokes its head back out around the side to check if the coast is clear. Seeing me stare right back, it disappears. I stand up and tip toe over to the corner. When I’m about two feet away from the entertainment center, I stomp my feet quickly and loudly. The mouse shoots out of the other side of the entertainment center so fast it nearly loses traction. I follow it as it rounds the corner into the kitchen, and watch it climb over the loaded snap trap behind the stove to safety.
I update the Time Ladies with these new developments as I tape dryer sheets to the bottom of my bedroom door.
Marie: Noooo smart mouse! Is it gray or brown?
Marie: Okay, the brown ones are fluffy and kind of cute, so my mom always had problems killing them because she felt bad.
Me: I feel nothing. Which is why I have a Bucket of Death in my kitchen.
Emily: You’ll get it, don’t worry.
Thursday, 7:30 AM
Emily: Well, you gave home ownership a fair try. Time to cut your losses and burn the house down.
I get home from work with two newly purchased packages of glue traps (and face wash. And mascara. Damn it, Target!), and place six traps (one package) in strategic locations around the stove and entertainment center.
Recalling a story from my 11th grade English teacher about her Jack Russell Terrier getting stuck to several glue traps, my biggest challenge is now keeping Guinness away from them.
Sitting on the couch with Bridget and Guinness, discussing the rumors swirling around the beginning of winter dance season, in the outskirts of my vision a flicker of movement catches my eye. I watch the mouse run along the baseboard of the kitchen, on the wall opposite the stove. The wall that, conveniently, does not house any glue traps.
I grab Guinness and barge into the kitchen. The mouse flees from under the table, straight into the corner…and disappears, presumably through the crack between the doorway trim and the floor.
Guinness, my sleepy, confused mighty hunter puts herself to bed in her crate as I place the remaining six glue traps around the rest of the kitchen and in my office and bedroom.
Bridget remains on the couch with her feet tucked firmly underneath her, thankyouverymuch.
Guinness is asleep in her crate, which will keep her out of the traps overnight. I crawl into bed and listen to the banter between Weird Al Yankovic and Seth Meyers as I begin to drift off…
I’m suddenly wide awake. I can hear a scratching noise behind me coming from the bathroom. There’s a pause, and then there’s a scuttling noise that gets louder and then muffled as it stops somewhere directly beneath me.
Friday, 6:04 AM
I’ve relocated to a local coffee shop to get work done, as the constant scratching coming from inside the walls proved to be a bit distracting.
My psyche is becoming delicate. I’m considering asking to borrow my neighbor’s cat.
I’m also becoming more and more convinced that this mouse (assuming, probably falsely, that it is just one mouse) is actually The Brain.
I return home from the coffee shop and check the traps as I let Guinness out. Kitchen, empty. Office, empty. Bedroom, empty. In the living room, the visible traps are empty. I bend down to check the one underneath the entertainment center, then immediately do a double take because there’s a mouse on the glue trap.
Guinness made the same discovery shortly thereafter.
The mouse has been removed, though the traps will remain in place. I have no doubt this was a smart mouse, but I’m also doubtful it was a solitary mouse.
I’m off to sanitize my kitchen and hope this is the end for now. Guinness seems content with barking at the entertainment center.
And now our watch is ended.