Heather's Columns ....

Of Mice and Me

I have mice.

I don’t mean that I have mice in a little cage, running merrily on their self-propelled Ferris wheel, eating left-over lettuce and lima beans, scrinching their tiny little mousey faces charmingly when you approach them.

No.

I have uninvited, unwelcome, politically incorrect mice, who have invaded my personal space and refuse to leave. I have mice in the pantry, in the cupboards, in my bathroom, in my walls, and in my spice drawer.

I don’t deserve this. I am a relatively tidy housekeeper. I’ve certainly never been cited by the County Health Department (though it’s true that Martha Stewart’s people haven’t called recently – or ever – for homemaking tips). But still, I have mice.

How do I know I have mice? I’ve never actually seen one of their furry little bodies. But I have seen mice “leavings”. Mice leavings are not cute mousey Post-It notes: “Hi! Sorry we missed you! See you soon!” No. Mice leavings are actually mice poop.

For those of you who lack this experience, mice poop looks like a little black apostrophe. A three dimensional little black apostrophe. And either I’ve got a kazillion mice in my house or mice poop more frequently than the normal person blinks in a day. They leave their little apostrophes everywhere. Under the kitchen sink. On the cracker shelf in the pantry. In the dog dishes, in the stew pot lid, in the box that holds gift wrap ribbon. In my spoon drawer. In the soup ladle for gosh sake! Mice do not seem to be fussy about where they apostrophe.

But as eager as I am to be rid of these mice and their apostrophes, I don’t want to kill them. I am one of those peace-niks. Rather than bombing Iraq, I probably would have used a Have A Heart Trap to capture Sadaam Hussein. However, Have A Heart traps would require trapping then releasing each of my new mice buddies individually, a process that would take at least a decade. So I went to the internet for faster solution.

Ha! I found a site that advertises crystallized bobcat urine, bobcats being natural predators of mice. I don’t even care to ask how someone collected urine from bobcats, but it seemed reasonable that mice would fear the scent of their predators. So I ordered it. Two canisters. And I poured it smugly into pie plates and left it under the kitchen sink (the place which, based on the number of apostrophes I found there, had become the union hall for my mice). I waited three days. My mice were not impressed. When I checked the bobcat urine pie plate, my mice had used it like a mousey litter box, pooping numerous apostrophes right on top of their predator’s crystallized urine.

“What did you expect?” my friends laughed . “What mouse in suburban Sacramento has ever encountered a bobcat?”

Good point. I called the local pest exterminator.

“You got mice?” he said. “Well, I’m telling you, lady, the only thing we can do, seeing as you have dogs and all, is set traps.”

“Traps? Like snap their little necks traps?”

“Uh-huh.”

Uh-unh. Back to the internet. I finally found these sonic whatsamajigs. You plug them into your wall sockets and they are supposed to make noise and vibrations that rodents find as irritating as Tiny Tim singing “Tiptoe Through the Tulips.” People, however, cannot sense these vibrations nor hear the noise. So a little blue light on the whatsamajigs lights up to tell you they are working. Hmmm… The guy who made these whatsamajigs is either a brilliant scientist or a brilliant con man. But being desperate to once again have apostrophe-free spoons, I bought about four thousand of the things and plugged them into every wall socket I could find. I ran extension cords and placed the whatsamajigs under the sinks, behind the book case, in the pantry. Their little blue lights lit up my house like the deck of the Starship Enterprise.

I cleaned up all the apostrophes and waited.

And you know what? It worked! Either my little mice friends are totally constipated or they are gone! Yippee! Life is good again!

Except that I’ve noticed that I have a lot of spiders. . .