Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Mouse stories

A friend of mine mentioned having trouble with mice every so often which led me to think about the many funny mice stories that I've collected over the years. Since everyone likes a good vermin story, especially one that takes place in someone else's house, I'm going to lighten the mood around here and share some of mine. Plus, writing about dead mice of the past seems nicer than writing about the recently dead and near dead gerbils of the present. (Why do we keep small rodents in tanks, I often wonder.)

All of my good mouse stories happened when we lived in the too small, but charming house. I don't know why it attracted mice like it did, but I can tell you I far prefer mice to raccoons. Just sayin'. At one point I know the problem was the pinata I stored in which was chocolate that I didn't know about. And mice really like chocolate. They like it so much that they can build an entire civilization in ones attic space and only when you go in for luggage you never use do you find them. Or more correctly, you come home from a meeting to discover your husband trying to do battle with the mouse civilization with a vacuum hose in one hand and a rubber mallet in the other.

But there were other mice infestations which had no known cause. I did become pretty adept at storing our food supplies to keep the mice out of it all. And I often wonder what they did to M.'s developing psyche, though that is very much a chicken and egg question. You see, all of my other really good mouse stories involve my young first born who couldn't have been more than 4 or 5 during them all.

The first involves discovering a dead mouse underneath the refrigerator. Being the brave woman that I am, I immediately called J. at work to tell him of my discovery and ask what I should do. (My first plan being to cover it with something so that I couldn't see it and order take-out for dinner because I wasn't planning on going back into the kitchen.) But J. suggested that I ask M. if she would like to take care of the mouse. Her budding scientific nature had already shown itself at this point and mice, dead or otherwise, didn't phase her. So I carefully asked if she wanted to be the one to dispose of the mouse and she happily agreed. Thinking out loud, she decided she needed something to cover her hands, so put on the grilling mitts, picked up the broom of dustpan, swept up the mouse, carried it out back and dumped it in the garbage. One mother rescued from one mouse by one small girl.

Another time, J. had set some traps in the pantry to try to stem the mouse tide. It was in the middle of the day, when M. and I hear the trap snap. I was worried that she would be sad for the mouse and tried to distract her, but she insisted on looking and found the mouse. She was so interested in the mouse that she wanted to keep it. A doctor friend offered to bring home some formalin to preserve the mouse in and so that's what we did. (I have completely blocked out what we did with the mouse in between the trap and the formalin. I'm sure it involved my freezer and I'm even more sure I had nothing to do with it.) When we moved the silly preserved mouse came with us and it still lives in our basement. I offered it to M. to take to school with her, but for some reason she didn't want it. Go figure.

Much of that year was spent trying to kill mice at every turn, which is why my last story is so ironic. One spring day, out in our backyard, J. and M. discover a little mouse nest with three baby mice. They have fur, but their eyes aren't open yet. They weren't sure where the mother went, but were pretty sure she was dead. (I would like to think our big, black dog, Simone, got her, but since I had seen a mouse WALK right across the floor in front of her nose, I'm not so sure it was her.) M. fell immediately in love with the baby mice, so J. couldn't really *ahem* take care of them as he initially wanted to, so we brought them inside. And lined a nice shoe box with soft fabric for them and placed them under a heat light. I then proceeded to try to feed them with an eye dropper while wearing gardening gloves. Every two hours. Through the entire night. Let me tell you, it is much more difficult than it sounds to get a baby mouse to drink from an eye dropper. It is actually virtually impossible. And this was pre-Google, so I couldn't do what I would do today and look up, "How to feed baby mice".

You know what's coming next, right? Slowly, every so slowly, those baby mice died one by one. Once again, I was far more devastated than M. You don't get up every two hours to feed something and then take its death lightly. To this day, the smell of sour milk makes me think of mice because more milk went on the gardening gloves than in the mice and by the end they (the gloves) didn't smell so nice. At least M. didn't want to preserve them as well.

So, what are your good vermin stories?

3 comments:

Robyn said...

We're in a 108-year-old house, and we have mice. Luckily, we also have a cat. Unluckily, he is 19 years old and sleeps a lot. Luckily, he still caught one this winter! Old man's still got it.

Now what to do about the 99 mice that remain behind the kitchen stove and in the laundry room wall, I'm not so sure. But I'm taking heart after reading your stories: I have a 6 year old who would LOVE to preserve mice in formalin!

Marge said...

In the 60's we lived in an apt. A mouse decided to dig in our big flower pot... so farmer girl that I am I set traps. It became a game to try to catch that mouse... it was the winner!

Lucy said...

I swept a small dead scorpion out from under my fridge once. Didn't really matter that it was dead, or small, I was on edge for weeks after that.

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