Mousetrap goes to birds

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I have been long known for my tagline “nature is not to be trusted.” I stand by this assertion. Always.

I love nature — OUTSIDE. For the record, I do not try to live outdoors in nature’s collective space. I would really appreciate it if nature would stay out of the 3,000 square feet or so that I consider mine.

Cardinal

We have gone to the birds. Literally. We are currently under attack by a cardinal.

Every day and into the evening, for at least six weeks, an absolutely gorgeous male cardinal has spent the bulk of his days banging his head into our bathroom window.

He’s a looker, but not real bright. His antics are making the cat crazy. Frankly, the ceaseless “thud” of his little bird brain bumping the glass is a little off putting for humans, too.

I have done all I can to make sure he isn’t attracted to his reflection. Our windows are FILTHY, yet he persists. Mr. Wonderful took to drawing a stick figure and the word “No!” on a piece of paper and taping it to the window. This had no impact on the cardinal’s obsession with joining us indoors.

Nest

Last month our bathroom renovation began in earnest after it was discovered that a MOUSE had taken up residence under our bathtub. I felt like the hapless female in every horror film. “The monster is IN THE HOUSE!”

Granted it was probably a tiny and somewhat cute little field mouse. I’m not usually one to freak out over a mouse. It’s a 120-year-old house in the country. Mice happen, the cat kills them in a mafia-like manner to send a message to other mice, some of us live happily ever after (not so much the mouse though).

What I do not accept is a mouse setting up his little condo under our bathtub. Unsure of just how long he had been living there, I became convinced we had been exposed to the hantavirus.

I was advised via Google (which, after all, knows everything) to check out the mouse droppings for further information. So that was fun.

I needed to ascertain if the mouse poo was shaped like chocolate sprinkles or round like little peppercorns? Most mice poop out the chocolate sprinkle type. Deer mice (which carry hantavirus) poop the peppercorn variety.

The good news: ours were the sprinkle type. The bad news: chocolate sprinkles and peppercorn are now forever ruined for me.

I realize other states have it much worse. Last fall a Florida family found a live alligator pressed up against their front door. How is that even comfortable for the gator?

I get that there is sunshine and warmth, and apparently an orange grove on every corner, but I truly do not understand how people survive in that state. There seem to be alligators lurking all around.

On the other hand, I bet absolutely no one has had an alligator living under their bathtub without them knowing it.

Camera

In case anyone wonders where I get my column material. We currently have a live-feed-night-vision-motion-sensor-camera monitoring a mousetrap in our basement. As you do.

This is set up to observe Mr. Wonderful’s highly effective but oh-so-Rube-Goldberg mousetrap.

Kym Seabolt homemade mouse trap

Trigger Warning: Tom and Jerry cartoon-style mouse violence is intended. The invention, not his own, consists of a bucket, a dowel, an empty water bottle, nontoxic RV radiator fluid, peanut butter and an access plank.

The idea is that a greedy mouse will run across the plank and leap onto the water bottle hoping to reach the peanut butter. They will instead land on the bottle that is spinning on the dowel rod and be dumped, unceremoniously, in the radiator/winterizing fluid where they will drown and thus meet their mouse maker.

They won’t smell because the fluid is a pretty handy embalming agent. Don’t hate the messenger. I did not invent this process. I just saw it on camera.

Never fear, however, it appears that exactly zero mice were harmed in the making of this mousetrap.

The camera keeps sensing motion but no mice are appearing in the trap. Ghost mice perhaps?

Spiders

Yesterday the motion sensor alerted three times in an hour. Mr. Wonderful peered at the camera and suggested that maybe it was a spider setting it off?

It goes without saying that I want nothing to do with even the IDEA of a spider big enough to set off a motion sensor. Does anyone know if aggressive male cardinals have any impact on an indoor spider population?

If yes, I can leave that window open just a crack.

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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.

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