The first time you kill, you die a little inside. It gets easier each time until, one day, you wonder if you’re still human.
OK, so maybe I’ve exaggerated a little. But you’re probably used to that by now. Alternatively, you’re already in the distance, running for the hills.
One of the reasons I have been almost completely absent (other than some
witty pitiful attempts at humor in blog comments) is that my house was invaded by a family of mice. The little shits (for my European friends: les merdes de petits) have scurried around occasionally between the basement and ground floor for some years and, provided they were quiet and didn’t sound like they were munching on anything structural or electrical, I couldn’t be bothered trying to hunt them down and evict them.
So you say that mice are no big deal? Come closer and repeat that. Closer. Just a bit closer. *BAM* That will teach you! AND me!
The recent basement waterproofing project opened up a new route for them and one of them found its way into the kitchen from an old gas line behind the walls. Then he/she invited friends, family, other mice he/she met, distant relatives, and so on.
When I found mouse poop (for my European friends: merde la souris) in the cutlery drawer, I knew I was in Big Trouble. Mice might not be as bad as bubonic rats, but they still carry disease and my kitchen was now ‘unclean’ (which, in a different context, will be the subject of my next post). Investigations revealed the full horror: the little bastard(s) had wandered and pooped over more than half of the things in the kitchen. Think about it: where in the house do you have more individual ‘things’ than in a kitchen? Consider how long it takes to clean each one, one at a time. Not. Fun. At. All.
At first, I thought it was one mouse. After all, I can’t tell them apart. He was seen running across the room or under the fridge. Since he took the rather dim decision to avoid my humane mouse traps, I stepped up the game to the springing/deadly/watch-out-when-you-load-it-or-OUCH mousetraps. I pitted my IQ and cold steel against him/her and won. But I didn’t like it. Disposing of his/her corpse…bleecchh!
After that, a furious effort to clean everything. Emptied cabinets of things, the cutlery, etc. Sterilized, cleaned, OMG! So much for a week, so much for a long weekend.
Then we saw the next one. Oh, right. Mice don’t normally hang out alone. Oops.
War ensued. The battle was joined. The slaughter continued. My conscience shriveled bit by bit. I thought I had won and went back to sterilizing/cleaning. My kids were at their most creative when it came to finding reasons why they didn’t want to risk death by ‘mouse diseases’ when I sought assistance with the cleaning. I’ll remember this when I re-draft my Will…
A strange thing. IQ and cold steel versus mice stopped winning; I encountered Super Mouse. He/she sprang the mousetrap TWICE and survived. He/she ate the cheese from the other traps WITHOUT setting it off. WTF? How?? I thought they were all dead already?
Later on the July 4 weekend, I figured it out when one peeked from under the range. They were too small. I had killed all the adult mice and the baby mice were now coming for food. They were too small to set off the traps (I still don’t how they survived the ones that did go off).
Let me stop for a moment for all the sweet-hearted readers to villify and beat me up. Fair enough. But, honestly, if you think I should have cuddled them, please let me know, and I’ll pass on my address and you can be here to take them with you the next time they invade my kitchen!
It was time for Phase 3. Glue traps. I know. I didn’t like it either, but short of a flamethrower (which was a definite consideration for Phase 5, with gunfire under consideration for Phase 4), I didn’t know what else to do. Especially with the cheeky one that would watch from behind the range and then zip around using mouse semaphore to dance “s-c-r-e-w…y-o-u…a-s-s-h-o-l-e” while I plotted his/her demise.
There seems to be peace in our time. As far as I can tell, they’re all gone. A family taken out as a group like a dispute in one of the Godfather movies. The traps are there, but there are no more signs of tiny life, just my noisy teenagers. Unless the creaking of the floorboards at night is not one my teenagers, but Super Mouse plotting HIS/HER revenge. *shiver*