Friday, January 25, 2013

Warning: Contains Graphic Images

"War, huh!, yeah
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing!"

According to Edwin Starr.

I beg to differ.  Because when you have to lay in bed, night after night, listening to rodents scratch and chew at the wall behind your headboard, and when you have to wake up every morning to little piles of insulation that have been ripped from your walls and deposited in a corner of your kitchen floor, and when you have to listen to them scurrying around the floor joists every time you put a load of laundry in, well, it gets to the point where there is only one way you can respond.  And it's not "live and let live".  And I haven't even mentioned the massive amount of miniature turds.

Yes, we have a mouse problem.  We live in an old house with lots of holes in the envelope, so it's not a surprise.  The only thing that surprises me, really, is that we've lived here 11 years and this is the first time we've had to deal with this problem.  During our initial attack, I found an old d-Con container in the attic space behind our bedroom.  So this is definitely not the first time someone living in this house has had to deal with these little bastards.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I believe that if you commit to war, you should go all in.  So we assembled 8 good-old-fashioned mousetraps, 2 plastic "I've-invented-a-better-mousetrap" mousetraps, and 4 of those sticky bait-traps where they're supposed to go after the irresitable food in the middle and then get stuck to the sticky stuff and then I guess starve to death after the food runs out.  Seems totally inhumane, but I had to see if they worked, and besides, I wasn't gonna let 'em suffer for days.  They didn't work anyways, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Hell yes, I did my research, and according to the all-knowing interwebs, the perfect bait consists of twine wrapped around the, uhhh, "trigger", and then smeared with peanut butter.  That way, they can't just lick the PB off, they have to more vigorously engage the PB-soaked yarn.  Seemed to make all the sense in the world to me.  But of course "good enough", wasn't, for me.  So I was compelled to use almond butter on a few.  For the upper-crust crowd.

The focus is in the wrong place, but you get the idea.  Filthy, shaggy, PB-saturated mouse-gnarl.
So good you wanna roll in it.
(To catch the mouse, you must think like the mouse, become the mouse.)

We set the traps last Saturday night and let me just tell you that the invasion has occupied all three floors of our house.  Which was exactly the amount of floors we set traps on, plus a couple on the back deck.

Upon awakening on Sunday morning, I sprung-from-my-bed-to-see-what-we-had-captured, only to be disappointed to find that floors' 1, 2 and 3 traps were idle. As in untouched.

But upon opening the back door and sauntering out on the deck on this 17° morning, I was delighted to find that we had scored one fat (thanks to pierced bags of top ramen in our pantry) little bastard of a mouse.  I think he might be the king of the merry little band that we are harboring.

I'd been worrying about mice caught halfway in, a tail or paw or something, all ackward, not yet dead and suffering. Which is not a good thought.  So it was great that this first one was a textbook kill:  Clean, perpendicular, instant.  Which bolstered my confidence going forward.

I named him "Cheddar".   For archetypical reasons.

The second trap that had been set on the deck had been untouched.

Although when I went back out just 15-or-so minutes later, it was tripped.  I think maybe Brandy got acquainted with mousetraps.  Hey, who among us can resist peanut butter-soaked-twine?

So a word about mousetraps:  They haven't invented a better one yet, according to my limited experience.  These sticky-type didn't do shit, plus, I hate the concept.  As of tonight, all four are gone, never to return, or be tried again.

Likewise, the two plastic ones (that, although I didn't check, are most definitely made in China,) got tripped but didn't catch anything, but did end up in way different places than where I set them, which means that they tried to catch mice but then there was this big epic struggle and in the end they didn't catch mice.  Which is totally unacceptable, especially when you're paying WAY more than the good old-fashioned traps that are made in . . . wait for it . . . the . . . USA.

The other thing that I will say is that I'm totally freaked out to hell about the diseases that mice carry, according to the interwebs, and that I need major protection in order to handle traps and dead mice and and all of that. You should see the gear that I don.  But of course you never will, because it's flat-out embarassing, and this is my blog. But when you can look at yourself in the mirror and admit that your behavior is comical, and actually laugh out loud at yourself, you are a well-adjusted individual, I think, or at least that's the theory that I choose to embrace in all this, rather than delve into the darkness that is the alternative.

Speaking of dark creepiness, this is my access to the attic space behind our bedroom.  My ribcage fits so tightly between the opening that once I am in position to set traps/retrieve carcasses, I am gasping the air in that attic space that is filled with the smell and, more imprortantly, the airborne disease-carrying particles (of which I have the acute awareness of  the potential to instantly smite me) of tens of hundreds of generations of mouse turds.  Old houses are just charming as hell.  And oh, how I love my new job.

But hey, don't get me wrong. I'm generally all positive and feel really good about our prospects of getting the upper hand.

Victim #2 . . .

. . . and Victim #3 . .

So anyways, welcome to my life.  Glad to be able to share it with you, in all its intimate details. Blogs are the bomb.

I have no idea about how to end this insanely weird post, so I guess I will go in this insanely weird direction . . .

Hank put up this terrific post over at Shallow Cogitations the other day, and as a result, I guess, I've had obitituaries on my mind.  I wondered what one might look like in The Mousington Post . . .

Cheddar Snakefood LXXXI was taken from this world suddenly and prematurely in an occupational/industrial accident on Jan 20th.

He was born in a crawl space on a cold December night in 2011 to proud parents Cheddar Snakefood LXXX and Feta Longstride. Or Maybe it was Gouda Poopsalot. The exact lineage, sadly, will never be validated, as there was a weird threesome thing going on at the time, and those who might have been privy to the details have either disappeared or are known to be deceased. So consider this his approximate his heritage.

His hobbies were chewing up insulation and feasting on dog food. Those who knew him can attest to his legendary achievements on both fronts. He was active in Mouses against Mousketeers, having served back-to-back 2-week terms as president in the summer of '12.  (Although the achievements of this organization were dubious and the agenda may have been about funnelling a greater portion of the available food to high-ranking officials.)

He was preceded in death by 117 oddly-related siblings and is survived by 345 children and "cousins".


Although he was just a very small part of rather huge extended family, he was one-of-a-kind and will be greatly missed.

There will be no memorial service, as there are just too many mice dying right now to make time for memorial services.


Editorial Note:  Patty has only exerted her influence over the content of this blog exactly one time in the past and that was to basically say that "If you don't stop randomly posting pictures of me on your stupid-ass blog, we are gonna have serious trouble, mister". Which to my credit, I heard, loud and clear.

I experienced the second instance of her influence last night, when she happened to walk by as I was reviewing macabre, dead mouse pics. The basic message was, "You are allowed exactly one post with photos of any aspect of what is happening within our home concerning our struggle to deal with this particular problem and if you post a second time, we are gonna have serious trouble, mister". Which to my credit, I heard, loud and clear.  Seems quite reasonable, actually.

So I'm thinking I can probably get away with posting some raw data from this point forward, and that's about it.

Oh krap. I can't believe I just used the word "raw". I might get my blog license totally pulled over this.

See ya when I see ya, if I see ya.


Marlin Perkins said...

I'm not sure from the pictures if we can rule out the deer mouse, which carries Hanta virus.

But, on the bright side, we can rule out an infestation of the mouse deer, the diminutive ungulate normally found in southeast Asia.

Hank Greer said...

I'm so...pleased? have inspired prose bringing short, such characters as Cheddar Snakefood, Feta Longstride, and Gouda Poopsalot.

Years ago in my military days and I was stationed in Alabama, I had a mouse infestation in the house. I found the poisonous food up in the attic took care of them much quicker than traps did. About six months later we had an infestation at work. We were in double-wide trailers configured as offices and the mice were in the walls. The poisonous food worked great again but what with it being the middle of summer and mouse corpses rotting and desiccating inside the walls, the stench was pretty overwhelming. On the plus side, our superiors didn't stop by to check on us for a long time.

Andy D. said...

I now rescind any jealousy of your conditions that may have been implied by my comments in your previous post.

How would Brandy feel about a feline sibling or two?

John Speare said...

Tiger would love nothing more than to spend a couple days at your house taking care of business. 'course, speaking from experience, I can tell you that the sound of a cat racing through the attic followed by an unsettling silence, that is punctuated by crunching and gnawing sounds -- will also keep you up at night, though perhaps in a more satisfyingly enjoyable way.

It's clear you are enjoying the hunt some level, so I won't push too hard, but mice are child's play for Tiger...

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Most Reverend Splitter said...

Deer mice are the reason God replaced the Sixth Commandment with the Second Amendment.

Traditional Bike Club Curmudgeon said...

I heard Carl Spackler chortling in the background as a read this post.

Perfesser Lumper said...

Caddy Shack brings us closer to a helpful pop culture text than Edwin Starr's pacifism. As with the Varmint Cong, the issue is not simply weaponry, but, as Pat notes, access to the mouses down their mousy hidey-hole. Until small anti-mouse drones are available, we must ride the Airplane.

May I suggest remembering what the Dormouse actually said? No, Pat, not that pill. It makes you larger. The OTHER pill makes you small.

This is primarily a pharmaceutical issue.

Pat S said...

Marlin, I'm googling mouse deer as we speak. A coupla weeks ago I didn't even know what an ungulate was, and now every time I hear the word, I am all ears. Big, pointey ones.

Hank, I have never been to Alabama, and have never really even formed an opinion. Until just now. You've supplanted some indelible images.

Andy, actually, that is one of the questions I am furiously pondering tonight.

Rev splitter, I'm trying to keep religion on the back burner, because I have no use for guilt at this particular point in time. I fully appreciate the sentiment, though.

TBCC, me too. I expect to be channelling him in the coming days.

John, your comment about how I'm enjoying this at some level is actually absolutely spot-on and something I didn't anticipate at all. My emotional response to a dead mouse in a trap at this point, though, is something pretty closely related to seeing a cyclist on the road - just a feeling of inner warmth and satisfaction. I think the turning point for me, as in where I lost all sense of compassion, was when the little bastards started infringing on our ability to sleep. In a significant way. Sleep is hard enough to get as it is, and when you can get it, it's sacred. Little bastards must die, then.

John and Glen, is this loaner cat thing truly an option? From a practical standpoint? I don't know cats well enough, as far as care and feeding and how to keep them from running away, but if it is, I am so totally down with this idea and I have already talked to Patty and she is good with it too. We need to talk. The thought that I could possibly be purchasing a guest litter box . . . holy living hell. But boy howdy, this could be such an amazing adventure. For your cats. For Brandy. For us.

Perfesser Lumper, let us consider, for a moment, Tiger on a small pill. Now that's what I'm talkin' about!

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