Thursday, September 4, 2008

They Mostly Come at Night. Mostly.

I hate mice. But not in the same way that I hate roaches.

If I see a roach, I have no problem with grabbing a huge shoe and crushing the little shit. If I see a mouse.......UGHHHHHHHHH. *shudder* Somehow the crunch of an exoskeleton is less horrific than the crunch of an endoskeleton. Also, what if it squeaks at me? As if with its dying breath it is saying, "WHYYYYYY MEEEEEE? All I wanted feed my familyyyyyy."

And this is probably why I have mice nesting under my sink and oven at the moment. I'm squeamish and far too polite.

The other day, I had big plans to go home right after work and make a whole mess of baked goods. I mixed up my highly delicious poppy seed cake batter, coated the inside of my bundt cake pan with butter, cinnamon, and sugar, and poured in the batter. Then, I turned my oven to 350 degrees. Within moments, the kitchen was filled with the fragrance of overheated rodent urine. Or if you are impolite and hate to mince words like I do, "Hot mouse piss." I knew we had a few mice running around, but I had no idea it had gotten to this point. I wanted to curl up in the corner of my kitchen and weep. But instead, I called to scream at my landlord.

We have an exterminator come in once a month. He pokes around the kitchen and the bathroom. "You see any bugs lately?" he says. I say yes and point to a general location. He squirts that location with the spray. Last time he came over, I said, "We had a mouse there last week," and pointed. He squirted it with the bug spray. "It'll let them know I was here," he said. Apparently it's the newest extermination technique to simply mark your territory. Mice will be all, "What IS that manly stench?" and vacate my bag of cleaning rags out of respect.

Several people have reminded me that I have a cat. "Why doesn't your cat catch the mice?" they say. Put simply, she is too fat and too lazy for mouse hunting. She spies on them from the tops of things where it's safe. But she chooses not to interact. Like a noble nature documentary director, she cannot get involved in the circle of life.

People also say that you should stuff steel wool into the cracks and holes where mice might get in. I tried that once. I got my steel wool and my screwdriver, and I began to poke around in the holes. And suddenly, I felt the screwdriver crunch through something. Turns out, it was the skull of an already dead mouse. NEVER AGAIN.

Mice aren't anything new to me. I grew up on a farm. Our barn was full of mice. I knew that every time I opened the door to the grain bin, a mouse would run out. My dad would step on them. I would scream, and run for my life.

And let's not forget that I used to have a pet mouse, Simon. He was part of my 7th grade science project. He would ride around on my shoulder. And then, he committed suicide, plummeting two feet off my bed onto a dictionary. I always think of him at night, when I hear the rustling noises coming from under the sink. Oh, the laughs we shared.

Perhaps it is my memory of Simon that makes it so hard to put out and throw away traps. Or maybe it's because there's a dead carcass on them. Or a live, still squeaking mouse. But most New York mice are just too smart for the traps anyway. "Whaddaya think, I'm stupid or somethin?" they muse. And then go back to shredding your Kleenex.

The other day, when I was trying to bake, I glanced under my sink and saw a dead mouse on one of the sticky traps the exterminator must have accidentally dropped after lifting his leg against the refrigerator. I've always thought of myself as a semi-brave person. (See my post on bikini waxing for proof.) But I'm pretty sure when I saw that mouse, I said, "I want my mommy." And I did. I wanted my mom, or my dad with his enormous boots, or my grandpa who used to remove mice from the sticky traps with his pliers and then shove them back into his pocket.

Eventually I used my broom handle to maneuver the trap out of the cabinet. I then threw it into the trash, which I hauled outside held away from my body at arm's length. My cat watched the proceedings from the safety of the table. My landlord watched from the safety of New Jersey.


Anonymous said...

I have *knock on wood* never had to deal with a mouse. But I do have a mouse story for you: My father, who is loveably insane, once shot a mouse in his kitchen with a shotgun. Apparently, he'd set a trap for it, which only injured it, rather than killing it. He didn't want it to suffer, so he SHOT IT. Cause that makes complete sense, right?

badenbaden said...

Try the peppermint solution I told you about!

For readers I haven't told: buy pure peppermint oil (I bought mine from GNC) and pour some on regular cotton balls. Then place said cotton balls in the corners of rooms, or on kitchen counters, etc - any place you've seen mice. It's not 100% foolproof, but apparently peppermint repels them. It's worked fairly well for us.

Plus, it makes your place smell lovely. Christmasy.

The Honorable Mayor of Bethville said...

@bgc: I love your dad. That is the best thing I've ever heard.

@badenbaden: This weekend I am going INSANE on that kitchen. I'm buying the big rubber gloves and cleaning out EVERYTHING they could possibly nest in and throwing it out. Then, I'm doing your peppermint oil solution all over the apartment. Those mice are going DOWN.

angiesyounglover said...

that's so sad, beth!!

when i was little and lived in the old house where in my mother's room she had ceiling tiles and a closet that didn't touch the ceiling - anyway - she had been hearing rustling in the ceiling tiles above her closet for awhile and so she got a broom and started knocking the ceiling tiles in. when she did this, 5 baby mice ran out and we all ran for her bed screaming, watching their next move. they climbed down a shirt that was hanging off the closet, and they all plopped into the laundry basket. we are all SIGH OF RELIEF. then we went over to the laundry basket. i asked if we could keep them and she said, "well apparently we've had them all along!" and then carried the basket outside.

another quick story: my mom 2 summers ago had a mice infestation in her car. apparently they were in the compartment under the dash where you can keeps maps and shit. there was always shredded napkin falling out the back of it and onto the car floor. we assume they eventually traveled to the engine because everytime we put the air conditioning on (as it was a hot, hot summer) it made a very frightening thudding noise and smelled terrible. i dont even what to know. :(

The Honorable Mayor of Bethville said...

@ayl: Eeeeew!

Andrea said...

I'm not sure where I read about it, but I recently read about a mousetrap with doors. When the trap is triggered, the door falls shut. Then you can move the mouse and humanely release it somewhere else. So it's like a mouse relocation. Where you'd release the mouse in New York City, I don't know...

The Honorable Mayor of Bethville said...

@andrea: Oh, you misunderstand. I don't care if the trap kills them. They don't deserve humanity for pooping all over my kitchen. I just don't want to have to get near them to dump the trap, whether they are dead or alive.

Greta said...

ME TOO!!!!!!!!11. I call my dad sobbing. He laughs. Fuck bucket.

I had to deal with a mouse this summer. Rather, a mouse and her litter. Under my couch. I never knew until I was on the phone with Ladd, a mouse ran from behind my couch. I screamed and was out of my apartment within the next .00000342 miliseconds. He asked, "what's wrong?"

"There's a mouse in my apartment!"

..."oh. I thought you were being raped."

The Honorable Mayor of Bethville said...

@greta: Oh, brothers.

jody! said...

i have no fear of mice... outside. outside, i see a mouse scampering along and i think how cute. in my house? it's gross. i don't know why. and it pisses me off that they don't even pretend to live quietly in your house. no, they always seem to be brazen. in my old apartment, i had a mouse that would come watch TV with me. (although i think he later died of heat exhausted behind my toliet.)

AND in that same apartment, we had a dead mouse in a trap and my roommate sat on her bed and cried while shreya and i took care of getting rid of it. mind you, shreya has an unnatural fear of mice. but she's not the one cried. seriously, who ACTUALLY cries?

The Honorable Mayor of Bethville said...

@jody!: Heat exhaustion? Do you really expect me to believe that? Was it heat exhaustion, jody? Or was it just chili night?

I just hauled out a trap with two dead mice on it. Gross.

nadarine said...

I have heard good things about the Electric Chair for Mice. I do not know what it is called, but it electrocutes them sans smelly burning fur and keeps them in a little box so you do not have to see the dead mouse. A little light goes on when it has, um, completed the mouse.

Story now! Last year, I was with my C on her couch watching the super bowl. She had a mouse infestation, and had set millions of traps, so we figured they were pretty much taken care of. Then, sometime in the second quarter, we hear a SNAP! from the kitchen, followed by a gimpy, sad scurrying noise. Without a word, we both tucked our legs up under us on the couch in case Mr Mouse was able to drag his wounded body still in the trap through her kitchen to the living room. He only made it a foot, thankfully, but we were prepared to see the gruesome thing drag itself to the couch just to terrorize us.

nadarine said...

oh, and re: peppermint- I think this is a great idea, but DO NOT just go to the botanica and get "peppermint oil" from there. I tried that this summer for ants, and there was something in this cheap-faux-minty oil that ATTRACTED rather than repelled creatures. Get actual peppermint oil. Plus, it smells better and less sickly-sweet.

The Honorable Mayor of Bethville said...

@nadarine: There's a Green Mile "roll on one" joke here, but I can't find it.

I've heard that it has to be pure oil. I think I'll hit GNC tomorrow or something.

Jenn said...

Dang. I feel your pain. My mom and I had wicked mice problems in Jersey. I applaud your strength and cajones to just go in there and get dirty and clean house. I stand by the steel wool thing as it works and makes their mouths bleed. If anything I can come help dig into the walls and stuff those suckers then put foam over it to make sure they don't gnaw through it. Just let me know and it's ON, baby! IT'S SO ON!

And what the hell is this I read about you making poppyseed bundt cake and me not being around?

The Honorable Mayor of Bethville said...

@jenn: If anybody takes care of the hole patching, it's my landlord. I've been riding his ass lately. Oh, yeah. :)

Sorrrrrrrry about the cake. I'll make more.

Anonymous said...

When I was little, my older sis and I woke up early to find that two wee mice had drowned themselves in a old coffee tin that was full of used cooking oil that had been left out overnight, for some disgusting reason.

There may have been one still twitching, but I could be making that bit up.

The Honorable Mayor of Bethville said...

@fitforafemme: EEEEEWWWWW!