Declaring war on mice

Nature abhors a vacuum.

Nature also abhors my getting a moment’s peace. Nature, in fact, has made somewhat a game of keeping me on edge pretty much all of the time. Just when we could happily put the cap on a bat-free year, the mice have arrived to fill the void.

Visitors

It has become horribly apparently that we have a mouse in the house. We have “a” mouse the way one has “a” light bulb or “a” speck of dust. I fear that there are more. Many, many more.

I am not one to go all hysterical right off the bat. When you live in an old house in the country you learn to be blase about mice. We would generally get one dead mouse indoors each autumn. It’s a sure sign of the impending winter. Others see the changing leaves or crisp morning frost.

In our house someone would simply say “mouse” as they stepped over the tiny carcass our cat had so carefully laid out for our applause and approval. The fact that the mouse was dead was always a reassuring sign that the cat was on the case. We assumed the other mice got the memo when that particular mouse never came back.

More

Then I noticed an uptick in the number of mice the cat was bringing us. Mouse number three convinced me that we may have a wee bit of a problem. I opened a seldom used drawer, saw a tell tale sign that a mouse had been in residence (hmm … when did I buy miniature raisins?), and promptly did what any reasonable person would: I set fire to the kitchen.

No, but I did go on scouring rampage that burned out all my nasal passages, the skin on both hands, and likely killed any mouse within a 25-foot radius of the bleach fumes. As it should be. I am careful and clean. I seal all staples and sweep up crumbs and pet food promptly. How did this plague of vermin come to pass?

Accident

Regardless of how terrifically creeped out I am by bats, I can cut them slack. One minute an unsuspecting bat is enjoying the dark night sky. There is flying, there is swooping and then BAM they have inadvertently sailed through some crack or crevice and found themselves in my belfry. It happens. I’ve always gotten the impression the bats are just as unhappy to be here as I am to have them.

A mouse is another situation altogether. A wholly innocent mouse is just wandering along the field minding his or her own business when they stumble into a three-story house without warning? Do they not see this enormous looming structure? How low on an evolutionary scale do you have to be for that to happen? I’m not buying it. They know.

They travel in packs. There are scout mice, lead mice, and expectant mice just waiting to unleash a litter of disease upon your home. I also think there may be hit mice

Our cat is an indoor cat, yet someone left the outside door propped open last night. All the humans in the house know better and the dogs, while suspect, can account for their whereabouts. That leaves only a tiny mouse SWAT team to take the heat.

Trap

Even with our capable cat on the hunt, I feared the mice were gaining on us. This called for drastic measures. This was mouse war. Mr. Wonderful was wonderful (hence the name). He went right out and bought four fancy little traps. They are white plastic and look innocuous enough but suffice to say that mice may go in, but they don’t come out (alive). Oh snap! Indeed.

Eleven mice later I think we’ve got them licked. In our defense we were catching most of them in an area close to where they enter. It’s kind of our own macabre not-so-welcome-wagon.

Mice do not appear to be very bright. You would think at some point there would be talk among the pack, mouse lore, so to speak. “That big place, yeah, Frank went in, he never came out. Come to think of it we haven’t seen Nancy or Fred in a while either. Weird.” Nope. They just keep coming. Suckers.

Gone?

Now it’s been days since we caught one and I think I can chalk this up for the win. Yet, the cat has taken to staring at various corners — and in one instance the ceiling — with rapt, stalker-like attention. Generally that stare can only mean one thing: a mouse is about.

That, or, the cat is in on the game.

About the Author

Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless. More Stories by Kymberly Foster Seabolt

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