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 was...........to 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.