Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Mouse Wars, redux


9/3 It's officially Fall. Forget the equinox. The mice are back. A little early. I can't help but think they are foul weather predictors. Like little groundhogs. Apparently that lone August mouse was not an anomaly.

Over Labor Day weekend, the mice moved in and got cozy with the tea cozy and all my Rabbie Burns napkins. This won't do. Mice in the condiments/ tea drawer. I spend the morning pulling out kitchen drawers, and cleaning. TIme to dust off Victor-the-trap. If I can find it. Aha! Under the stove. Still set, patiently waiting all these years for a wayward mouse.

9/7 Gotcha! Good old Victor-the-trap, fit as a fiddle after years of benign neglect. Badda-boom! Can't say the same for my metal clippie mousetrap—a casualty of time. Rust is a great equalizer. I still have hope for my plastic clippie mousetrap—but my faith is eroding.

Uh-oh, the second one is a big mama mouse. Still nursing. There will be more. Mark my words.

91/2 All quiet on the mousy front. Victor-the-trap has been silent for days. Maybe I was lucky and got them all.

9/15 Oh no! Mouse poop on the cutting board. Fuck Rabbie Burns' To a Mouse. This is war. They've wiped out two old boxes of D-Con, but here's the dilemma: Dora the Cat is hanging out, so something's gotta go. Wow. I haven't checked out these cabinets in years. So that's where they went.

After a comical interlude where I asked the clerk for espejos (mirrors) instead of Miguel Ratóncito mouse traps in Spanish, I snagged two old-school mouse traps at the Dollar store. Do you know how hard it is to find old fashioned mousetraps? Now I get Build a better mousetrap. Otherwise, it's D-Con all the way, baby. Poison. Arsenic and old mice. But what about the environment? The outside cats? I'm uneasy about using all this poison.

My last major mouse invasion was Fall Equinox, 2009. See MOUSE WARS (warning: cute mouse pictures). Sure, we've had a few wayward mice since then. But nothing big. They never stuck around. Not like this.

9/17 Victor is victorious. But the knockoff mousetraps are worthless. I bumped Big Mama off, but Junior is still on the lam. Junior is the size of a quarter. Too small to trigger the traps, he snags the pecans and makes a run for it. What if he's carrying a disease?

How's that for a plague segue? I madly Google The Plague. No outbreaks reported—not even at Fallen Leaf Lake. I imagine I have symptoms like a pre-med student before exams. Swollen glands? That can't be good. No fleabites.

I have…a virus: oh, thankgawd. I also have acute hearing from my earache but not the cat reflexes to go with it. Probably a good thing or I'll be pouncing on the curtain and leaving little mouse prezzies on the doorstep for Neil.

I read up on house mice again. Definitely different than field mice. I learn that house mice (from Asia) are the same species as lab mice and pet store mice. And the chances of wild mice carrying disease are about the same as a pet hamster or rabbit. It's just that they poop all over the place. Now I'm afraid to use my cutting board. Three-seed baguette is out. Fennel seeds remind me of mouse turds.

Sorry, I'm not into those hav-a-heart traps. What's the point of live traps? All I'm doing by relocating the mice, is sicking vermin on unsuspecting neighbors. Too NIMBY. And all that goin' out to the country and feel-good wild release crap? Pl-ease! House mice are not native species. I repeat. Not native. Got it? They're from Asia, just like city rats. Introducing non-native species into a rural ecosystem is far worse than killing them in a humane manner. Besides, the mice won't even enter those live traps. 

Adding more poison into the ecosystem equally fills me with dread. Toss dead mouse in trash. Trashman cometh. Seagulls snacketh. Food chain reaction. Silent Spring. Of course, I know many people would love to knock off some of those feathered rats. Then there's the cats and other critters to consider. Mice staggering under the influence of D-Con are too exciting a treat for the cats, bluejays and hawks. Even the squirrels take notice and get a little Cujo-eyed.

9/18 Erm. One snappy mousetrap just caught the other mousetrap in its jaw. My arsenal contains the old-school wooden Victor trap with a dozen kills under its belt; two Chinese traps that are pretty, but useless; and a plastic clippie style trap that's also useless. Traps come in pairs. Its mate once caught a mouse, it fell apart and died of shock. They do, however, make good manuscript clips.

The paper clippie trap attacked Victor the Trapp, who, though, was first on the draw, apparently was not so victorious. Junior probably set the trap cascade in motion. Very castenetty. Ah one, an-a two. Snap-snap! Clippie von maustrap takes the score.

Speaking of Möbius tripping, one time I dropped my computer mouse on the floor only to have Clippie von Maustrap attack it, or, rather, my hand—as I bent to retrieve it. Not a good morning. Damned thing never works on mice.

Someone advises me: If you put a pan down full of Coke, in the morning you will find dead mice. This is from a ranch woman with lazy cats. She swears by it.

If only I had some Coke. Would diet Pepsi do? Perhaps Red Bull? Rum and coke? I can see it now: Cujo-eyed caffeind mice.

I also read that mice hate spearmint oil. Will minty-fresh toothpaste do? I sprinkle and smear various forms of minty oil, and fresh mint fronds about the house. It smells like a giant candy cane.

I bumped off another Big Mama Mouse, but Junior is still at large. Junior recklessly runs up the curtain and across the room in broad daylight. He's darling as he sits on his little haunches and sniffs around. I never see more than one at a time. But I know he's not a total orphan. He's too small to trigger the mousetraps, he snags the loot and makes a run for it. I'm out of peanut butter.

Junior has taken to eating all the Sweet&Low and Cremora packets from Mariott's, as well as the tinfoil-lined catsup packets from In-n-Out Burger in the condiments drawer. He must've thought he hit paydirt with the Round Table Parmesan cheese, but hot chili pepper flakes too? Really? Junior must have a cast-iron constitution. Why worry about the mousetraps? Clearly, I need to let nature take its course—he'll die a painful death by junk food. Flaming arseholes!

9/19 Bingo! Let's just say that Victor von Trapp won that round. By a mouse aria —which left me stuck with a coup de flipflop to attend to at 3 AM. Uh-oh, a midsized-mouse. A teenager. I sex all my mouse kills—mostly females. Not good. How soon can mice breed? How many babies? it seems Big Mama had a sister, or another litter. Next generation mice are still at large.

9/20  Junior is still on the lam. Cute little bugger. Clueless. I now have 7 traps set. Heh heh heh.

A Nevada friend sends me an Old Shaffer 4-H Song she used to sing taught to her by Rosemary Lane. My mouse dilemma sparked this little diddy and now she keeps on singing it. Glad to know my mouse posts are generating earwurms.

The Little Brown Mouse

Ohhh, the liquor was spilled on the bar room floor,
and the bar was closed for the night.
Whennn, out of his hole came a little brown mouse,
and sat in the pale moonlight.

Heee, lapped up the liquor on the bar room floor,
and then on his haunches he sat.
Aaaand all through the night you could hear him shout.....
(dramatic pause)

9/21 I now have 10 mouse traps set TEN! And Junior climbs right over them, he's so small, they don't snap. I am thinking of velcro, sticky fly paper, or hair wax removal gunk. I once accidentally caught a mouse with the hair gunk when it spilled over.

Someone says I should get the Raticator Plus Rodent Trap. Four double AA batteries and it's the electric glory hole for them. OMG. Who knew there are $100 rodent traps out there? Are they Gucci-woochie, or what? I find a zappy one on Amazon for only $33.26 & FREE Shipping. Details: Gift-wrap available. I love the idea of gift-wrapping a rat trap. It's the mouse/rat hole variety. But I doubt my mice will go into one so roomy. 

9/23 Tonight was a three-mouse-night. Zzzzzyx? Make that a 4-mouse night. One at dawn. But I was too tired to get up & check & dump. Teenage mice, not sure if I got Junior. Too bleary-eyed to care.

That last trap didn't do the coup de gras (stet), it only caught the mouse's butt. I set the trap down outside to finish off the mouse but he took off down the sidewalk dragging the mousetrap after him. Me running after the mouse. Whap! Whap! Whap. I caught up with him at my neighbor's back door. One shoe off, and one shoe on—I'm wildly waving a flip-flop in my hand, in my PJs, looking quite deranged at 4 AM. Not something I want to explain to the neighbor who is now awake. Not at 4 AM with 3 fresh mice kills under my belt. I feel like a zombie. I need a rum and coke.

Just so you know I don't take this lightly. I apologize personally to each mouse as I dispatch him off to Mousy Valhalla.

I now have a cavalcade of traps in a row. A flotilla, an armada in the harbor. When one goes off, they all go off like Mexican jumping beans. Snap snap snap snap snap.

9/24 AAAAAAAGH! Junior is still at large. We're waiting for him to get big enough to trigger the traps. All this midnight mousing is catching up with me. I never get to sleep through the night. If a trap goes off, I'm on it. Either it has a mouse, or it doesn't. Usually not. But I have to check: in case it didn't kill the mouse (often true) and I don't want it to suffer, or, it did kill the mouse—and if it has fleas—the fleas will jump ship. Fleas carry PLAGUE! Ahhhhh! Ring around the mousie.

9/26 Several false alarms last night, mousetraps biting empty air, so I tried a new configuration. When I checked the traps this AM, Lo! there was a Junior. Was it our Junior, or his older brother, Junior the First? Maybe mice grow fast. At any rate, he is an ex-mouse. Maybe now I can get some sleep at night. When I began this crazy mousehunt, he was the size of a quarter. Wonder if he has any siblings I don't know about? Traps are set. Uh-oh, the rustling of tiny mice feet...TBC… I'm afraid. At least they're now big enough to trip the traps.

Someone writes: No such thing as one mouse… Like potato chips, you can't have just one…

Yesh, one mouse in the house is something like tip of the iceberg. I redo  my kitchen drawers. Rewash all my napkins. Again. New mouse nest in the tea cozy. Tomorrow is "wear a tea cozy on your head" day.

9/27 OK, so that wasn't Junior yesterday—I thought he had grown up a bit too fast. Today, after rearranging my trap armada, I caught Junior. Tiny, tiny Junior. Then, all my mousetraps caught each other—they sounded like a string of firecrackers. I don't know if it's a false alarm, or if Junior has buddies. Lots of buddies. Sigh.

9/29 'Nother one down. Jr, III. Did you know that male mice sing songs to attract mates? We can't hear mice arias but dogs and cats can.

A friend writes from Montana: I think that I should send you my Teenage Ninja Rhode Island Red Roosters, they are good at catching mice but very clumsy in the house. How many do you want? Its either come catch mice at your house, or freezer camp at mine.

LOL! Teenage Ninja Rhode Island Red Roosters? Sounds awesome. Too bad they can't lay eggs. Send them by parcel post. Or I'll be over for din-din.

9/30 'Nother one. Jr, IV at 5 AM. Coup de flip-flop. Nauseated. Barf. Ugh. It never gets easier. And I heard Jr. V rustling in the wings. I think the end of mouse patrol is looming. I'm completely crazed from lack of sleep. I haven't slept through the night in a month.

10/1 Junior V is still on the lam, having found my secret chocolate stash. If it ain't Neil, it's the mice. Sheesh! Now I have to hide my chocolate from both of them. Clearly they're girl mice with chocolate cravings. Juniorettes. They pass up PB and nuts. Forget bread crumbs. They're not interested. Traps snapping at 2 AM—13 traps in evolving configurations. All empty. When the mice skitter right over the top—the traps don't snap.

I also have two new box traps replete with cute mouseholes, they've no need to go in a box. They've been working over my chocolate coins of the world. Eating the gold foil too. Cats like boxes. Maybe I need a cat, a large box, and some chocolate coins on the bottom. But the cat might think it's exotic litter. Now they're eating my silica gel packets in revenge because I took away their chocolate.

Did you know baby mice are called pups? These guys are wily lobo meeses. I no longer set food in the traps as they can snag the food and make a run for the border. Someone suggested sanding off the big red V on Victor von Trapp as mice can read—or at least, they can recognize symbols. Literate mice? I wonder how their Chinese is?

I hate traps, Victors are still the best. The Chinese knock-offs only succeed in snapping my fingers, or an eanie-meanie miney mouse by the toe. But mice can scream—bloodcurdlingly so. Nothing like screaming mice to curdle your heart. The traps are designed for big mice—catching them by the shoulder, or the butt, and I have to do a coup de shoe at 2 AM. Heartbreaking. Then I'm nauseous. It never gets any easier. I don't want to resort to poison. I'm not willing to live with mice. The little fockers.

I'm thinking fly paper might work.

Bring on the roosters.

Post scriptum: All quiet on the mausian front. It's a wonder what a full night's sleep will do for one's sanity. I think Junior V packed his carpetbag and left for seedier pastures. To be safe, I crumpled dried spearmint leaves in the corners, and under the bed. Ricky brings me gift-wrapped boxes of D-Con. Within a week they're empty. Clearly there were a lot more mice I never was personally introduced to.


A DEAD MOUSE REPOSES IN BEAUTY 8/17 I found this little guy outside. I should've known a mouse invasion was in progress.

No Mouser, Jack 8/12 At my cousin's in Nicasio. I guess I was in mouse training.

SUMMER MOUSE HAIPU 7/29 I should've guessed that the best was yet to come.

The first edition of MOUSE WARS Note the date was 9/20/2009. My last major mouse war and campaign.


Even though seeing these photos still makes me queasy, the tiny perfection of mice feet reminds me that they're mammals, so like us. I am torn between compassion, nausea, and rage. Then, I'm struck by the beauty of it all. How their toes are like the drawings of medieval Irish illuminated manuscripts. The monks observed them firsthand.

The exquisite perfection of Junior's foot
reminds me that mice are mammals too. 

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