A Mouse Story

a writing by Kristine J. Trudeau

Saturday, May 29, 2010 we discovered we had a mouse. This was not your ordinary house mouse; this one had an addiction for Stroganoff Hamburger Helper boxes. All I can figure is there's something in the chemical makeup of the ink used in printing the boxes that drove this mouse to distraction. After he had worn himself out eating an enormous hole through the box, he was too tired (or drugged) to even consider eating the contents of the box. I wanted to meet the little guy - with a trap.

I cleaned up his mess and packaged all of the Hamburger Helper boxes in large plastic containers. Larry and I smugly thought we had eliminated the problem and the mouse had moved on to greener pastures, preferably the neighbors. He moved on alright, to the blue packages of Ramen Noodles, and the red ones, and the orange ones.

At 11:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 9, I was finally done cleaning the pantry and kitchen. I had to pull and wash every single thing on the pantry shelves that didn't look like a buzz saw had been through it. On top of the destruction, it looked like the mouse had taken a laxative.

It was war.

We set spring-load traps the new plastic ones - with teeth.

Then I saw the mouse, or it saw me. It skidded to a stop on the kitchen linoleum, turned tail and ran. It was a baby mouse. The traps were too big.

Thursday, I got home from work and checked out the mouse situation. He had eaten the peanut butter out of the trap and deposited his "Thank You" on top of my newly washed canned goods. I walked into the kitchen and watched him walk nonchalantly out from under the stove. I'll swear he looked disappointed that I had cleaned the oven. I left a piece of popcorn for him on the kitchen floor in front of the washing machine and placed the broom where I could grab it fast.

Twenty-minutes later, I quietly entered the kitchen with broom in hand. The popcorn was gone. I put another one down in the same spot and waited with broom raised for the kill. Nothing happened except my arms grew tired. Suddenly, I heard a strange hollow clunking noise in the living room. Oh great! I thought. It's not enough we've got a mouse problem, the air-conditioner's going out. I walked over to the air-conditioner and listened for it to start making the noise again. I heard the noise. It wasn't the air-conditioner it was Larry's trashcan. A mouse had jumped into the trashcan and accidently flipped a small Styrofoam bowl upside-down on top of itself. The bowl was moving around on the bottom of the trashcan. I set the broom on top of the bowl and carried the trashcan outside.

I stood outside for five-minutes in a quandary. What do you do with a mouse in a trashcan? I finally just tipped the trashcan over and let him out. He ran like a cat was after him over to the neighbors.

Our mouse problem was solved - I thought.

Larry brought home sticky-traps, just incase.

Friday morning I got up and went into the kitchen for breakfast. A mouse skydived off of the top of our kitchen curtains. I called Larry at work. "He's back," I said. That was 8:30 that morning.

A half-hour later I saw one of the saddest sights of my life; a mommy mouse and two babies were stuck in the traps, still alive. I felt like crying. I didn't know whether to cry for the mice or to cry because we had more than one mouse.

We bought D-Con.

I went to work feeling like a mouse serial killer.

I wasn't looking forward to getting up on Saturday morning to check the sticky-traps, but I had to. They were empty. I was washing dishes when I saw a grey shadow scurry across the kitchen floor. I placed a piece of popcorn in the center of a sticky-trap and put it down next to the wall near the stove where I figured he had developed a habitual run - I waited...all night.

Larry found the next two mice, a mother and a baby.

Are mice born pregnant?

We've got D-Con under the house and D-Con in the house. We've got sticky-traps. We've considered getting a cat. While Maverick was alive, the only mice we had to worry about were the ones he brought home to us as a present. We learned to never open the front door for him to come in if his meow was muffled as if his mouth was full. It probably was.

Aside from the mice that are obviously living in our crawlspace (but not for long), my next biggest problem is trying not to get D-Con mixed up with the Oatmeal when I'm half-asleep fixing breakfast.

On the bright side, maybe something good will come out of this tiny rodent invasion. I think I feel a novel in the making. If I stop eating oatmeal, I might live long enough to write it.

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