I know, it’s Thanksgiving day and since my Blog has the word “thanks” in it, it is time for the obligatory mushy, warm fuzzy post about what I’m thankful for.
Not gonna do it.
Not because I don’t have a million things to be thankful for, or because I don’t have that feeling of gratitude today. But because for the first time in almost a month I am downstairs at night, alone and while I am still freaking out inside I’m here. Obviously there is a story behind that rather odd sentence, and that story is why I’m writing tonight. That is unless I lose my nerve and crash the computer and run upstairs and hide under my bed. I make no promises that it won’t happen.
It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. I wish I knew that story better so I could parody a little more than the first sentence but the first sentence will do. About a month ago Randall announced to the family in his half laughing manner that we finally had gotten a pet. I was stunned and knew that it had to be a trick and a trick I wasn’t going to like. The kids fell for it and were all excited. He then told us while he had been using the computer the night before he had seen a mouse.
I completely wigged out. I don’t do animals in my house. I can barely tolerate bugs and only that because I can squish them. Mice. No way. They are fast, they have that crazy wiggly tale, they scurry and just no, I don’t do mice. Randall purchased a live trap, and proceeded to name the mouse Johnathan. As in Johnathan Frisby from Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nihm. Johnathan stayed in the house for a few days before he was lured into the trap by some peanut butter. Randall took the trap to a large wooded area in town and released Johnanthan. We said good-bye and hoped that he would remember to make his home in the lee of the stone. And we were done.
Until we saw Matthias of Redwall. Randall was at work and there was no school and he ran behind the trash can. He startled me and I screamed. I didn’t yell, I didn’t shriek, I screamed. I’m surprised he didn’t have a heart attack. He attempted a second run and I screamed again. I will admit I scared the kids pretty bad. Eventually I calmed down enough to think a little bit and I left him alone to find a better hiding spot for the day. Later I sent Seth in to inspect and see if he had gone.
We named him Matthias because Randall laughed at my story and my description, which may or may not have been exaggerated my fear and panic. He said it definitely sounded like a warrior, so it must be Matthias.
It took a few more days for Matthias to find his way into the trap. I will admit to getting a little impatient and purchasing a couple more traps. When he climbed the backside of my cabinets and got on my counter I thought my heart would stop. But like I said eventually we trapped him, only in the mean time we had spotted yet another mouse. And when we caught Matthias, well he didn’t look like my decription of a big scary mouse so it was decided that Mathias wasn’t the one in the trap, it was Chloe.
Now if you’re looking for some reference to a mouse character pop culture, good luck. Chloe got her name because Kaylene was around. Her best friend is Chloe and if you ask her to name ANYTHING, she will name it Chloe.
So Chloe was take off to the woods and released. But we still had Matthias. By this time I had had it. I was afraid of my kitchen, I was afraid of the trash, I was afraid of the counters, I was afraid of the computer desk. I was afraid to clean any piles that might house a mi=ouse for fear the thing would run out. So I went and bought killing traps.
In addition to our three live traps I set three more killing traps. I used a variety of baits, and I went to be knowing that in the morning Matthias would be dead. That night in my sleep I heard all three traps go off, and I smiled to myself a very smug smile.
In the morning, however I got up to find that I dreamed that the traps had gone off. Matthias was still free. Over the next week Matthias avoided all the traps and we discovered that he was joined by the Rescuers, Bernard and Bianca. ( We believe that Mathias did get caught but Bernard and Bianca rescued him.)
So back to the store I go and I purchase 4 for killing traps and 2 more live traps. (Yes, I’m aware that this may perhaps be overkill. And yes I am aware of the really bad pun. I live with Randall, what do you expect.) One mouse seemed to like chewing on my sponge so I cut it up and used it for bait. I also added wheat as bait to some of the traps. I put them in every conceivable place. And that night we caught and killed Matthias.
Now before I have every treehugger boycotting my blog (I’m not sure how that would work since last time I checked I have about 5 people reading this, but whatever.) I do not enjoy killing mice. But it is difficult to overstate my fear of mice. And they are in my house. My personal space. They are in, MY kitchen, MY Dining Room, MY stuff, MY house. For almost 2 weeks we tried to catch these mice in nice humane live traps. Ultimately they need to be out of my house, one way or another.
So, back to the saga. We were left with Bernard and Bianca. Every night I would go to bed thinking that this would be the night and every morning the traps would be empty. One night during scripture one of them made a brief appearance in the living room, sending kids screaming and crying everywhere. Aryel was curled up in my arms shaking from crying so much. Then they all ran upstairs and insisted on finishing family scripture time up there. After a few days of that we tried to return to our normal place of reading scriptures in the living room. Aryel Joel, Kaylene and Kirsten would huddle on the landing of the stairs and refused to come down any further. By 8 PM none of them would come down stairs at all.
Randall and Seth thought it was hilarious. I was traumatized. One afternoon while sitting at the computer Bernard ran behind the desk. I sat shaking but decided enough was enough. I kept him cornered and called a friend with a cat to come over. For 30 minutes I battled Bernard but he escaped before the cat got here.
I checked our traps and some of them the bait was gone, but they had never been triggered. So I went through and got rid of some and re-baited others. And every morning I would ask Randall if we had caught any and every morning he would shake his head. This morning I almost didn’t even check them. I think a part of me had lost hope. I was preoccupied with making rolls and messing them up. So I got into th kitchen and got our Thanksgiving meal preparations underway and before noon we were out the door to celebrate this holiday of gratitude. We came home and promptly got back to the work of cleaning and running a home. Later I decided to make the last of the cookie dough I had in the freezer. I had baited a few traps earlier in the week with blue cheese and it obviously wasn’t working. I thought maybe fresh-baked cookies would work. So I began cleaning and re-baiting some of the traps. I went to pick up one in the dining room and I notice it had been triggered. At first I thought it had just gone off on its own. We’ve had that happen a few times, but the indicator wasn’t pointing to the not set position. It was just barely in the caught position.
I should mention the killing traps I bought were contained units. Once it catches the mouse, you can’t see it or and gruesome bits. It’s also safe for pets and kids.
I couldn’t believe it. We caught Bernard. I was elated. Again I’m sorry we killed him, but I now only have 1 mouse in my house. I was so excited I thought I’ll stay up tonight and brave the downstairs at night and finally use the computer. But as I was tucking other kids into bed, Seth saw Bianca. And I will admit I almost curled up inside my bed and waited out the night. But I decided to come down here. I have flinched a dozen times and seen things out of the corners of my eyes constantly.
I will proofread this and then run upstairs and possibly leave too many lights on because I will be afraid to turn them off.
But I did it. I am down here. And best of all there is only one mouse left. Only 1. Thank you, mouse traps. Thank you.