Tuesday, November 9, 2010

An Uninvited Guest

We recently eliminated an uninvited guest of the mouse variety from our basement. There's really nothing to say about it except that peanut butter makes great mouse bait. I learned that years ago when we had a major mouse incident.

It was 1996 and Jeff and I were living in married student housing while he was in his first year of his PhD in chemistry. It was not a luxurious place -- 400 square feet with linoleum floors and cinder block walls -- but the price was right and the location was great.

The weather had just started to turn cold. I got up early one morning and went to the kitchen, a full 10 steps away from our bedroom, to get a drink of water. Since I had just crawled out of bed, I didn't have my glasses on and I'm near-sighted like you wouldn't believe. Unless something's a few inches from my face, I can hardly see it.

As I was drinking my water and looking around the apartment, I spied something under the table and thought "Wow! That is the biggest dust bunny I've ever seen in my life!" I'm no neat freak, and even I couldn't go back to bed until I'd gotten rid of it.

I walked over to the table, leaned down, and when I was just inches away from picking up the "dust bunny," its tail twitched.

I stifled a scream and I'm pretty sure my feet didn't touch the floor on the way back to the bedroom. There I woke my soundly sleeping husband and demanded that he do something about the mouse, even though it was barely light out. Jeff got up and determined that the mouse was in the final stages of dying under our table, so he put a shoebox over it and went back to bed.

I called maintenance and left a semi-hysterical "Get this thing out of my apartment!" voice mail.  When the maintenance man arrived he discovered that there was a hole in the foam around the stove vent. The mouse had apparently chewed its way in, and died under our table from eating the foam. The very helpful maintenance man sealed up the hole, set a bunch of traps with peanut butter, and removed the dead mouse and cardboard box -- after asking if we wanted the box back. Um. No. Thanks. I can always get another shoebox. One that hasn't had a dead mouse in it.

By the time it was all said and done, we caught and disposed of seven more mice. And by we, I mean the maintenance man and Jeff. My contribution was to throw the phone at a mouse on our counter, to scrub everything in the kitchen multiple times, and to cover my ears while Jeff finished off a mouse that got its leg caught in a trap.

I did learn that peanut butter makes the best mouse bait.

And I've never picked up another dust bunny since.

Hey, some traumas run deep! And besides, what a great excuse for my less-than-stellar housekeeping.

© Trippin' Mama 2010

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