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Mouse Drama: Day 7



Warning: There may be offensive language herein.

As of Saturday evening, March 22, 2014:

I thought this would be easy enough. The nest of mice in the vent over the stove has been cleaned out and the opening to the outside sealed, and I have closed up the hole under the door sill where the second set of invaders entered. Then all I had to do next was capture the remaining little creatures and send them back into the wild. I had reason to hope. After all, an earlier visitor had departed amicably.

At this point, however, I have been through three different sets of humane traps baited with peanut butter, and not one has worked. Either the mice ignore them or they get the bait and leave without triggering the capture. So Friday and after cleaning up mouse droppings here and there every morning, I gave in regretfully and bought six of the old-fashioned, snapping traps. The following morning I found that only one had been triggered, but no mouse.

So what’s the deal, anyway? Do they not like peanut butter, are they too smart for the devices, or are they too light to make the humane traps work?

And where are they? The knowledge of their presence has already inspired a thorough housecleaning, with no clue to where they are hanging out. Then as I prepared to reload the sprung trap, I saw that the mouse had been injured. Damn! There was no note on the package to the effect that “There will be blood.” Now I have a wounded mouse in the house, poor little thing.

This time I loaded the traps with cheese. In all the cartoons, mice eat cheese. That must be right.

A friend called, and as I walked around the house talking on the phone, I ended up leaning on the edge of my baby grand piano. I have to admit that when I dusted a few days ago I noticed little mouse footprints on the black lacquer in one place. Pretty little prints like tiny flowers. Now as I looked inside at the strings . . . Yep. A mouse dropping here. A mouse dropping there.

My chest tightened. My mouse situation reminded me of the escalating tension regarding the Crimea thing. Domestic diplomacy has not worked out, and it is changing me. I am growing resentful of the taxing problem, the way it is turning a benign temperament toward force.

I got a dust cloth and Q-tips. I was only now realizing that the interior of my piano was a little dusty. I didn’t know I should have been dusting it or maybe keeping the lid down when I wasn’t playing or having company who would appreciate the “up” look. The piano is just yards away from the sill where the mice had entered. It was probably logical that they would explore there. A sense of unwitting enabling was gathering.

I wet the Q-tip to capture every tiny dropping, and as I worked, suddenly it occurred to me: Could the mice be hiding out in the piano? I got a flashlight and explored. Oh, hell. There is a place on one side where they could get under the sound board. There must be a great ballroom of space below where they can nest.

Who would have anticipated this? Who would have thought that Russia would invade Crimea? Are we unwittingly at cause there too? My local situation was gaining international significance.

Whatever the true scope of my responsibility in this matter, I may end up having to get a piano tuner to take out the sound board. And I haven’t been playing much, which is a shame with such a fine piano. I have resolved to return by practicing drills an hour a day. The mice are going to be so sorry. An unintended consequence is afoot. How will that work in Crimea?

I understand that we’re all connected, so I have also communicated with the mice: “I’m still inclined to try to work this out in the best way possible. I’m putting out both humane and snap traps tonight. It’s up to you to choose your fate. I would prefer that we go with the humane traps, but we need to work quickly. I know you females have around four litters a year, and you are probably consorting. I have to do something about this before the situation goes completely out of control. I’m sure you understand.”

But for the benefit of all, both male and female, I also addressed the bottom line. “We can take a path whereby I restore you to your homeland, so to speak. I don’t want to play the bully, but understand that I also have the resources to bring in professional mouse-killers. Don’t make me do this. I don’t want to do this, but I will if I have to.”

I am writing this at 8:14 Saturday night. (Don’t worry about my social life. I had a nice dinner out with a friend.) All the traps are loaded, and I am committed to a specific course of action. I will try tonight and again tomorrow night. If nothing works, on Monday morning I’m declaring war. There will be great loss of life, sadness, and guilt, and my home will be energetically altered forever. C’mon guys. Time to give up. We don’t want this. (Please disregard relative to Crimea.)

I have done all I can do today. I will report back Sunday morning.


Sunday morning, March 23, 2014

It was a troubled night, and I woke up once thinking or dreaming that I had heard a trap snap. As I dressed, I was tired, unhappy about my problem, and pretty sure that yet another troubled night lay ahead. My spirit weighted with dread, I then moved room to room, checking trap after trap. They were all untouched.

The Feel of Sunday Morning

The Feel of Sunday Morning

I proceeded to search everywhere that I had seen droppings–my desk, under a pillow in the guest bedroom, in the cabinet under the kitchen sink, inside the piano. Nothing. Only one half-sized dropping–a goodbye dropping?–on the kitchen counter.

So what happened? Where have they gone? Did they take to heart the message conveyed and find some way out? Shall I soon scent a different kind of defeat? I am grateful in the moment, and I shall assume that it will hold. And I will conclude with an image my sister-in-law sent the other day (thanks, Margaret) representing an unrelated state of disarray. I feel kind of like this. But I could feel worse. I’m so glad I don’t feel worse.





4 Responses to “Mouse Drama: Day 7”

  1. Merry Anne Fordham Scialdone

    Ellen, I enjoyed this so much. You are so witty. I am looking forward to a final installment to see if, in fact, the mice are really gone.

  2. Marilyn Whiteman

    Last year I opened the cupboard doors under the sink in the bathroom. Chewed up paper towels all over. Big mess. Later I opened the truck of the car where I had left a roll of paper towels. Chewed up!! I was not happy. I think we’ve sealed the entrances! And no paper towels in the car’s trunk.


  3. Elizabeth Robechek

    Makes me think there might be a screen play in this, ya’ know for a pixar animated film. Hey, and maybe you’d get to be the voice of, well, I don’t know, . . . .YOU?

    Somehow, it feels like there might be more coming in this story. . . .drat! Hope not, you need’s their own personal Crimea?


  4. Ann Karlstrom

    These last two are the best. You are a born humor writer!
    And I don’t say this just because I am your sister.