Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Thar she blows

As previous posts have noted, we have been subject to an invasion by Mus Musculus Domesticus, or "el mouso"as the Spaniards are wont to say. 3 spring traps, 3 sticky traps and 5 pieces of anti-coagulant bait were to no avail. Our bold little nemesis would spring forth in the evening to scuttle across the kitchen floor or race across the dining room floor. We would rise, anger boiling and driving us into a killing rage, only to be frustrated as he scampered arrogantly beneath the baseboards. This evening, Mindy noticed the enemy as he darted behind a bookcase. Surely this is a dead end, I thought. The baseboards seemed to close to the floor for even a mouse to scuttle beneath, yet when I looked behind, there was nothing. I even prised the bookcase away from the wall a few inches for a better look, but there was nothing.
We sat on the couch, thoughts of vengeance filling our hearts. Lulled by thoughts of another failed attempt at extermination, I was unprepared when Wiff cride "Oh! Mouse" again. He was running across the dining room and hid under the piano. Aha! I though, we will drive him out with music, like the Pied Piper of Hamlin. Wiff hastily improvised some 20th century atonal riffs, since rodents hate Schönberg, this seemed a logical choice. Nothing. No hasty retreat from his musical abode. I peeked under the piano with a headlamp, hoping to spy the dreaded beast. Nothing at the bass end. I moved upwards in register, and still nothing. Finally, beneath the plinky little notes at the high end, I thought I saw a robust looking dust bunny. Upon closer inspection, the dust bunny had moved a little.
Quickly, I outlined the plan to Wiff, who reluctantly agreed to cooperate. Would she prefer to be the Coaxer, or the Smasher? Coaxer she quickly replied. Her job was to use a wooden spoon under the piano to drive him out where I would quickly reduce him a lifeless paste with a hiking boot. As I refined the plan in my mind, I recalled that deep in the recesses of my stored camping gear, there was a blow gun. I ran downstairs, leaving instructions with a very hesistant Wiff to prosecute the rodent with extreme prejudice, should the occasion arise. I tore into my boxes of camping gear, and at the bottom, was able to dig out my blowgun.
Hastily, I assembled the 4 pieces, and pulled a dart out of the holder. I checked under the piano to ensure that my target was still downrange. I put the muzzle of the blowgun up to the edge of the piano, drew in a breath, and expired swift death to the mouse waiting 6 inches away.

We now have a very small addition to our trophy room wall.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Unwelcome Houseguest

We have a mouse in our house. It's so super gross to admit it, but there it is. The little creature came in on the first cool day of the season, about a week and half ago, on a day when we happened to have some contractors working on our bedroom wall. Since they were walking in and out of the house and up and down the basement stairs, I blame them for letting the little mousie in. That first day, just after we finished eating dinner, it scuttled across our kitchen floor and ran into a crack between the cabinets and the dishwasher. I was so grossed out I couldn't step foot in the kitchen for the rest of the evening. Spiff thinks I overreacted. Gunner now walks around periodically scolding the mouse, "No, No, Mouse is yutty!"

Spiff found it several days later scurrying around the drawer under our stove among the baking dishes. I can assure you that we have washed those dishes several times! I can also assure you that if it had been me who had found him there, I would have had a heart attack, and then run screaming from the house, just before moving into a hotel for the rest of the winter.

Later that night, our bold little mouse scurried into our living room. Spiff saw it run behind the couch. He got all excited by the thrill of the hunt, handed me a work boot and said, "Okay, when I move the couch, it's going to come running your way. Stand on that vent and smash it before it gets away! Great. Ready.......Go!!!" He practically picked up the couch and threw it two feet into the room, leaned over it and yelled, "Ha!", while I squealed "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaah!" from my post on the vent with the boot dangling tentatively from my girlie little fist. The mouse must have found another exit because I thankfully didn't have to try my hand at boot-mouse bashing!

A couple nights later, we watched him scuttle around the house. He appeared at random places without any kind of indication as to how he got there. We'd see him at the stove, then by the TV in the living room, then scurrying under the baseboard across the room, without having run across the room. It was like a gross version of Jack Jack Attack, when Jack Jack is floating around the house through walls, while Kari was chasing him from room to room, never quite knowing where he is going to surface. Spiff occasionally tried to "catch" him by waiting stealthily on a kitchen chair with a small frying pan in hand. He never did.

We have set all kinds of traps around the house. Sticky traps, snap traps baited with peanut butter, and mouse poison. I have had dreams of catching him. One night in particular, I woke up and heard noises in the kitchen, which I then convinced myself were the sounds of the mouse getting caught by the snap trap behind the fridge. I even thought that I posted "Got Him!" as my facebook status. I couldn't quite believe that the trap was still empty in the morning. Even more unbelievable was the fact that the peanut butter on the trap had been licked clean, and the trap was still set.

We haven't seen him for a few days. We're hoping he got some of the poison and has now gone somewhere to die quietly. But if he's still around next weekend while Spiff is away, I'm borrowing a cat.