Outing your house
as harbouring a mouse
is kind of like telling your friends you have nits
there are some who are fun
and laugh at your pun
while others say sorry, and take off at a run….
So we have a mouse. Not a pet. And maybe not even just one.
The first sighting was actually around Easter. But we are optimists, and told ourselves we'd imagined it!
Then Jesse turned on his light extra early one morning because he had debating. A mouse ran out from under his bed and disappeared down the hallway.
Hard to pretend this didn't happen.
"Do you have food under your bed?" I demanded to know, knowing the answer already.
"No!" my eleven-year-old declared fervently. I could see in his eyes he didn't believe himself either.
That day I took apart Jesse's room. I removed from under the bed the plastic wrapped packet of sandwiches that had a BIG HOLE GNAWED THROUGH THE MIDDLE OF IT!!
I took pretty much everything out. Moved his bed and vacuumed the carpet within an inch of its life.
I rearranged things so that there were no hidden nooks or crannies for mice to feel at home. I disinfected and wiped everything clean.
Now I just had the rest of the house to attack.
Anyway, we took off for Melbourne for my birthday. There were NO SIGHTINGS while we were away. Then on our return, Jonathan and I were talking late one night in the kitchen. A comfortable silence was suddenly not so silent as we stared in horror/disbelief at our innocent looking freezer. Definite crackly gnawing sounds were coming from it. We were right next to it for pete's sake!
It must be the mouse - I mouthed silently to Jonathan.
Jonathan got a torch and lay down on the floor.
Brave move, I thought. You know, considering.
Red eyes reflected in the torch light. "He's gnawing on a box of cereal you have stashed beside the freezer." Jonathan said, with an unnecessarily accusing tone I thought.
"Let's face it Sah," he continued, putting the boot in. "This kitchen is like the promised land for a mouse."
J got up and dusted himself off. Okay, so there were crumbs on the floor.
"What did he look like?" I asked tentatively. Aesthetics are important, after all.
"It's a brown one."
Oh a brown one! Suddenly I felt much better about the whole thing.
Brown mice equal Beatrix Potter stories, and cute little pictures of friendly mice in aprons, going about their business.
I wouldn't go so far as to say, that mouse had a right to be there, under our freezer. But I wasn't horrified at the thought.
"We have to get a trap."
"What?" I exclaimed, my cute little pictures evaporated in an instant.
Oh right. A trap.
So a week or so later, I bought a trap.
But it didn't come with instructions, and so late one night, I carefully followed the instructions on YouTUbe and set the trap. Off. On my fingers.
Man that hurt.
Then I got worried about Arch finding the trap and putting his fingers in it. I also hated the idea of finding a trap with a dead mouse in it.
I went to the hardware store. I paid $17.50 for a metal box trap that catches them live. Goodness knows what you do with them after that, but at least we wouldn't have mashed mouse to deal with.
We caught ours in ten minutes flat a friend assured me. Just put peanut butter on ham. Can't fail.
So for the last week we have been baiting the trap. Gourmet tidbits have included:
- ham off the bone
- ham off the bone with crunchy peanut butter
- aged cheddar from the Riverina District
- no-name cheese with peanut butter
- sourdough loaf
- wholemeal bread
- rump steak
- apple peelings
Whatever the heck mouses like eating, ours is JUST NOT THAT INTO IT!
Then the mouse appeared again.
This time in the girls' room.
They turned on the light early. Unfortunately for them, and the mouse, their door was closed. So when the mouse attempted to do his mad dash from under their desk and out the door, he couldn't get out.
I am now able to post on parenting websites with full authority that one great way to make your children physically care for each other, is to lock them in a room with a mouse. Yep, vermin is the answer to sibling bonding. Mim and Ellie screamed and cried and hugged each other in an emotional arm lock that lasted a good ten minutes.
Meanwhile the mouse ran through the girl's slippers (brand new but now never likely to be worn by their owners EVER AGAIN) and scaled vertical heights up the back of their door. All Ellie's previous smugness about being on the top bunk, and hence safe from any marauding mouse, has now gone.
Eventually Jesse opened their door, and the mouse headed, again, for greener pastures.
We don't know where. We can't find him.
I have been decluttering and cleaning for so long that if it wasn't for, you know, having a mouse and all, Jonathan would be feeling like he'd finally got the Stepford Wife he'd always made a half-hearted effort at pretending he didn't want.
Sorry, bitterness creeping in there.
The trap remains empty and ignored.
The girls insist the mouse they saw was GREY and NOT BROWN! Which could either mean, the mouse has changed coats, or that, glory be, there's more than one. Heck in the time they've made our house their home, there's probably been time for multiplication on a mass scale.
It's taken some strong will power not to make the decluttering sort of personal. I think the mouse may have been getting some mixed messages around here. Not realising that his presence is no longer welcome.
I'm not getting rid of these childhood treasures just yet, but who knows where this trail will lead…
What else can I say?
So far this year, we've been nit-free!!