Vermont Varmint

So we’ve put a bit of distance between us and Canaan these past couple weeks, so I’d like to revisit one of the more unpleasant aspects of our short time in the apartment up there.

Mice.

“Pardon me, sir. Do you have anythin’ to poop on?”

So one weekend last month, the day after we’d come back from our hiking trip as a matter of fact, I found a triangular hole in the top of a salt & vinegar almond canister, with bits of blue plastic from the lid scattered all around it in the pantry. What’s more, on the shelf just above the almonds, the lip of my tub of Marshmallow Fluff had been gnawed to tiny red shards as well.

Apparently a mouse was making himself a Fluffernutter in our kitchen cabinet.

And so the question became…well, what do we do about it?

I mean, it wasn’t our house. So doing something like putting poison out was clearly out of the question. (The permanent motel resident’s little dog, Selena, might eat a poisoned mouse and get sick and/or die from it.)

And yes, I’m well aware of the dangers posed by mouse poison bait… I just don’t really care. I’m much more concerned about the dangers posed by the filthy little things themselves in my house.

And so, we took a trip the following day to the Lowe’s in Littleton where I politely asked where to find their Aisle of Death.

“Right over there against the wall. Just past the hummingbird feeders, across from the Adirondack chairs. If you hit the wind chimes you’ve gone too far..”
“Thanks.”

And so there we stood. Staring silently at a wall of deadly pest control implements.
Pondering exactly what kind of mousetrap defined us as people.

We very quickly decided we’re not of the classic wooden snap-trap variety.

All a bit too vivid

That said, we’re certainly not the live trap types either. Every mouse that lives might as well be a hundred mice down the road. Nope, they gotta go. (This sentiment will come to haunt me later.)

I’m also wholly averse to glue traps, after being traumatized by witnessing the suffering imparted upon the little gecko family that lived on our bathroom window in Fulshear.

And, as I mentioned, we couldn’t use poison bait…

So we were left with just a couple options.

First, we decided we’d give them a chance to leave willingly. So we bought a 3-pack of electronic Victor Electronic Pest Repellers and planned to set them out first. I’m guessing these play an ultrasonic version of a Justin Bieber album or something, causing the mice to scowl and move out while grumbling about contemporary music.

These, we felt, would provide the equivalent of a shot across the rodent’s bow. “Come about and head back from whence you came. Else we’ll be forced to remove you.”

We also picked up two electronic mouse traps, as a final response in case they felt like being cheeky and ignoring the Bieber Plugs.

This evil looking thing.

And so we returned to Canaan armed. We plugged in the rodent dissuaders around the kitchen, each of which glowed with an ominous blue ring, and hoped for the best.

Unfortunately, the following night I as I was up late reading, I saw a mouse on the countertop, padding inexorably toward my stash of Triscuits. I stood up to head him off and the little bastard turned and scampered right by the “repeller” and dove beneath the stove.

Clearly mice love Justin Bieber.

Okay, that’s it. We tried. You ignored us. Time to ride the lightning, varmint.

So I loaded the trap with AA batteries, dabbed some peanut butter on one end, set it on the counter, and flipped the switch to “Ted Bundy.”

I walked back over to the chair to read a bit more and, after just 10 minutes or so, I heard a faint *buzzbuzzbuzz….buzzbuzzbuzz…buzzbuzzbuzz…*

Then silence.

For a moment, I wondered if the trap had really worked… That is, until I saw a limp tail hanging out of one end of the contraption and the faint scent of burnt hair hit my nose.

Blech.

So I popped the top and knocked the mouse carcass into a plastic grocery bag to throw away, washed out the inside of the trap with some hydrogen peroxide on a paper towel, and holstered Mickey’s Mausoleum back into the Lowe’s bag.

Then, things got weird.

About an hour later I heard this incessant little chirping sound coming from the windowsill near the front door. I figured it was just a cricket or something, and headed over to squish it before I went to bed and tried to ignore it for hours while trying to go to sleep.

Not a cricket.

A tiny mouse.

Standing on its hind legs in front of the window, it was about the size of a golf ball. And it was squeaking as loud as it possibly could.

I walked up to it, expecting it to dart away and hide. You know, like a mouse do.
It didn’t.
It just stood there, looking at me.
Squeaking.

And so there I stood. And there it stood.

Um…what exactly do I do here?

I’m sure as hell not going to try to catch it. And even if I did what would I do with it? I could scare it away by throwing something at it, I guess. Or going to an old standby and flailing around like an idiot. But it will just go hide somewhere and I really don’t want it living in here.

squeak! squeak! squeaksqueak!

Okay. No word from the governor then. It’s time, little mouse.

Out came the trap again, out came the peanut butter lure, and I dropped the thing less than 4 inches from where he was standing and went back to my chair, completely unnerved by what had just transpired. After just a minute or two had passed…

*buzzbuzzbuzz….buzzbuzzbuzz…buzzbuzzbuzz…*

Sayonara, Squeaky.

So, post mortem, I’ve no idea what was going on with that little mouse. I could guess as to why he seemed to be completely unafraid, and why he just sat there and squeaked at me, but most of that would be me anthropomorphizing.

I will tell you though, despite my cavalier tone here, it was hard.

My rational mind knows that mice carry disease and will quickly turn into an infestation if left to their own devices. But the melty, emotional side of me is yelling, “but it’s just a cute little mouse!”

And I don’t like killing anything. Actually that’s not true. I have zero compunction with killing mosquitos, jellyfish, and now ticks.

I don’t like killing most anything.

Fortunately this whole mouse saga began when we had just a few weeks left in that apartment.

However, it would seem that I’ve just summoned one of them with this blog post…

Because, while typing this up, I saw the first mouse ever here in our new house. He nonchalantly rounded the corner from my office, took one look at me…

then turned and bolted through the bathroom and, likely, down a small hole that I’d noticed in the floor in the dining room.

–Fast Forward–

I began this post a couple evenings ago, and I’m just wrapping it up now. I’d actually already booked the exterminators to begin treatment in our new house, and they arrived yesterday. They climbed through the crawlspaces, setting poison, snap traps and, sigh, sticky traps in the basement. (Man, I hate those things.)

But hey, we live in a farmhouse now. And we’ll never make it here if we stay squeamish about that kinda thing.

Sorry little guys. You’ve gotta go.

One Comment on “Vermont Varmint

  1. So…long term: Peppermint. Plant it all around. It grows with all the energy of a really energetic weed. Mice hate the smell, as do snakes and a whole host of creepy crawlies. And you can make cool stuff with it later like … peppermints, mouthwash, mint juleps, and bug repellent.
    Short term: cedar. Either cedar shelves in the pantry – which is what we did in the house in Katy. It worked so well, we replaced all the fascia boards with it. Never heard another squirrel in the attic. Short of replacing boards, you can try cedar chips. If you can smell it, so can the beasties. They hate it. It makes their nasal passages sting. No one likes that.
    Good luck.

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