Mice, Mice Baby

The change of seasons is marked by many things: the leaves change from green to a rich autumnal variety of colors … jackets and sweaters are moved back upstairs from their basement caves … and mice seek the warmer comforts of the great indoors.

Mice decided to target the VanOsdol house a couple of weeks ago. Mice have made similar transgressions in the past, though their efforts have always been met with blue poison pellets and quick, merciless, life-taking, wooden snap traps.

The first time I saw a mouse in the house, I shrieked. And by “shrieked,” I mean loud and proud, like a four year-old girl. Once I tiptoed off the couch I’d jumped onto, I rebuilt the mouse killing fields of years past.

Before bedtime, I’d laid several traps. By the oven. Next to the fridge. Behind the couch. The goal was to rack up a body count that would rival the the Friday the 13th franchise in totality.

When I woke up the next morning, I discovered only one dead mouse by the oven, his little rodent neck snapped on the wooden trap. After putting on hazmat gloves (well, dishwashing gloves), I tried to slide the trap out from between the oven and the wall. Because of the angle of the trap and mouse, I couldn’t do it. They were jammed under the oven. The only way to remove the trap was to pull it through the bottom corner of the oven, mouse and all. After begging my stomach to hold last night’s dinner back, and somehow finding Jesus in a flash of anxiety, I pulled the trap quick and hard. The good news was that the trap came out. The bad news was that some of the mouse was left behind. I took the head–but not the body–with me. There was a trail of mouse gore on the floor and oven that I used bleach, CLR, Windex, and soap to remove.

A few days later, the entire kitchen and downstairs area reeked of death. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the offending corpse for a day or two. Finally, with the help of my much more macho and handy neighbor, we pulled the refrigerator from the wall. Once we pulled it out, a mouse ran right past my feet, causing me to again shriek like a four year-old girl.

We instantly figured out where the smell was coming from. There was a tail sticking out from under the fridge that led to a dead body. A mouse had died next to the refrigerator vent, presumably from whacking his head into the fan. Because he died where he did, the smell of his decomposing body had been blown for two days throughout the first floor of my house.

With the dead body pinpointed, we (my neighbor) had to surgically remove the bottom panels of the refrigerator to extract the body. Once the body was bagged and disposed of in the alley, the house started to smell better almost immediately.

As of today, almost a week after the refrigerator horror, it looks like (knock wood, or at least wood trap) I’m rolling mouse-free. I’m going to buy a bag of cement from Home Depot this weekend and seal any crack I can find outside. The only thing that scares me about that is that I’m not at all handy, meaning that I run the risk of encasing my hand in concrete by accident.

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