Sunday, March 22, 2009

Reepicheep

When Christopher and I were first married we had a mouse in our house. Yikes! He stuck around long enough that we named him, Reepicheep. My husband, being the strong, masculine, leader of our home, wanted to purchase the standard "they haven't made a better one" mousetrap but I, being the delicate and sensitive blushing bride, wished a far more humane option. Christopher, much to his chagrin, purchased Glue Boards which advertised the safe capture of mice, giving the option of release back into the wilds. Perfect!

We set the board up in our cupboard, and the next day I found a mouse conveniently stuck to it. I was elated, although a little surprised at the obvious state of desperation Reepicheep was in. I read the instructions for the safe release of this harmless creature. I had to use mineral oil to slide the mouse off the super-sticky board, and into a container. I followed each step, and soon had a slathered-in-oil mouse frantically cheeping in a bucket on my countertop. But then it happened... that mouse JUMPED! I had no idea mice could jump, let alone roughly the height of the Eiffel Tower. But up he went, and splat into the sink he landed. I acted quickly, turning the bucket upside down onto the squirming fur-ball in the bottom of my sink. Now all I had to do was figure out a way to slide a board under the bucket and all would be set. Except I hadn't counted on the drain, and precisely the instant I realized the possible hazard of that mouse-hole looking opening - PLOP, down went the mouse into my drain. Great.

So, I did what any independent, newly married, domestic goddess would do. I called my husband (who worked 45 minuted away) and cried out, "What am I doing to do now?" I explained everything, even making it clear that I had used a flashlight and running water to try and entice the mouse to jump out of his hole, but all to no avail. As much as I wanted a humane capture and release of this innocent animal, I certainly wasn't daft enough to stick my hand into the drain to try and grab the mouse by force. After all, mice bit and carried disease!

"There is only one thing you can do, Trisha. Turn on the garbage disposal." WHAT! I was incredulous. He wanted me to grind this poor thing to smithereens. I flatly refused, telling him there was no way I could be that heartless and cruel. At that profound statement I rounded the corner in my tiny apartment only to see steam billowing out of the kitchen sink. AHHHH! I had inadvertently turned the hot water on, rather than the cold, and was now surely searing Reepicheep to death. "Christopher, I am scalding it to death!" Again, the cold and determined voice of my husband rang loud and clear, "Trisha, turn on the disposal, now." I squealed, I fretted, I stood immobilized while the hot water kept gushing into the drain until finally I shouted, "Fine!" I flipped the switched, ran shrieking out of the kitchen and sobbed into the phone, "Are you happy? I did it." Christopher calmly told me to make sure I poured bleach down the drain before declaring his love, and a pressing meeting he had scheduled. We have dealt with a few mice since then, but my willingness to see them exterminated quickly has given me the proper perspective for the, "they haven't made a better one" mousetrap.

Recently we found signs of a mouse in our new home, and Christopher dutifully set a trap in our garage. The following day all the bait was gone, but the trap was intact. Humph. We tried again, and again, but each morning we found an empty trap with no mouse. How on earth were they getting the bait without triggering the trap? We were stumped, and a little irritated. The single mouse turned into two, and their boldness was becoming increasingly annoying. We finally caught one after setting the trigger to ultra-sensitive. But a few more days of empty traps were wearing on our nerves when last night the second mouse practically ran over Christopher's foot while he stood at our sink. We put the kids to bed, rebaited our trap, barely hinged the spring, and set it in the middle of our kitchen floor before we sat down to watch a movie. Not ten minutes later we heard the decidedly lethal snap of the trap doing its job. Yes! We sat back, and prepared to finish our movie in smug exultation when, not 15 minutes later, a mouse peeped out from under the chair in our living room!

This was war.

Christopher grabbed a fresh trap, baited it and set it up along the baseboard of our living room. We flushed the mouse from his hiding place under the chair and trapped him in the corner behind the entertainment armoire. We turned the movie back on, to lure the little brute into a sense of security, and proceeded to stare at the trap. Sure enough within five minutes that beast was nibbling at our prepared morsel. We were holding our breath, waiting for the trap to spring. But it didn't budge. We sat mesmerized as that horrid little thing ate through all our bait not once, but twice! That was it. I was done.

"Get out the vacuum!" I declared. I grabbed a hunk of cheese off the block, stuffed it into the hose of my vacuum, laid the opening next to the armoire and sat, finger poised on the trigger while Christopher made sure the rascal didn't escape around the other side. We sat. We waited. Then suddenly out he popped, and scurried right past the hose until something caught his nose. He stopped. He sniffed in the air. He made his way back to the hose opening, and took a cautious step into the tube. Another. Still another, until all but his tail was lost in the tube and... WHAM, I threw the switch and head the satisfying thunk as the mouse was sucked through the hose, and into the vacuum bag! Christopher and I were jubilant, yelling congratulations and slapping high-fives. It wasn't until several moments later that the hilarity of my history with standard mouse-trapping and killing techniques was truly appreciated. Who says they haven't made a better mousetrap? Garbage disposals and vacuum cleaners seem pretty cutting edge to me.

5 comments:

  1. What is it with you and mice?! I thought the Reepicheep story was a "one in a million" story, and THEN, you sucked one up into the VACCUUM? Now all you need is your own infomercial.

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  2. Dorothy P.7:19 AM

    Well done! Despite your urban upbringing, you would now qualify to be an excellent farmer's wife. You might even be eligible to promote into the 4-H Mom category!

    While I certainly do not subscribe to the notion of evolution, there is one aspect that often plays itself out in the animal kingdom: natural selection. Clearly, the first mouse caught this time was on the more shallow end of the gene pool. With each failed attempt to catch a subsequent mouse, I agree with the increasingly urgent need to catch it. Besides the mess, these days of freedom give these rodents more chance to reproduce and procreate more of their smart little pink-eyed, whiskered selves.

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  3. You seriously need to go to Bissell's website and write this up for what you'd do with $200. There's a prize a day until April 15.

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  4. That reminds me of the night we found a mouse in our apartment. We set up an obstacle course of couch cushions and a broom, hubby played defense while I was on offense. Got the little thing to run right out the front door. The tiny little lizards here are MUCH harder to catch... I never knew SC had so many lizards!

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  5. Trisha, your mouse capturing adventures are hilarious. We had a similar situation when we lived in a farmhouse in Iowa. I also managed to persuade my husband to capture and then humanely release the cornered mice. Like you, I had no idea they can jump, like you said, about as high as the Eiffel tower.
    There were three mice trapped in our kitchen pantry and when my husband kneeled down to capture one, the other mouse ran up the wall and did this backwards flipping move. It even seemed to pause for a second suspended in mid air like the chick from The Matrix. My husband did not see the newly escaped mouse make a bee-line straight for the inside of my his pant leg. I pointed and opened my mouth to try warn him but I was laughing so hard no words would come out.
    To this day I don't think I've ever seen anything funnier than the look and spastic dance of my husband with a mouse running up the inside of his pant leg! I laughed so hard I cried. And I can't believe what our men put up with for us. Aren't they wonderful? (After that, we went to the traditional snap traps, too)

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