You want to know where the wild things are, Maurice Sendak? Well, I’ll tell you - they are in my basement!
Some of you may remember my story of the snake skin (unfortunately, I can't get the link to work today - basically there was a VERY large black snake skin the basement which we found during walk through. Its owner was likley 6 feet long or longer), when we did the walk through on our house. I refuse to say more on that as I will start convulsing – let’s just say HUMONGOUS and it is amazing we still bought the place and leave it at that. You may also remember (from my constant complaints on the subject) that we have ants. I would say that is enough. We have a baby, a dog, a whole bunch of bugs and the remnants of a snake. That is a full house, my friend. No more.
But apparently not.
Two weeks ago, my husband and I were both home and I went downstairs to move some laundry. He was videotaping the baby doing her little “dance” routine (she turns on the music in her play yard and wobbles about in her unsteady stance and says “dance!” – as first time parents, we think this is the cutest thing in the history of the universe). Midway through the video, I believe you can hear a scream from the distance and my husband yelling – what? Apparently, you can not hear my somewhat quieter – “Mouse!,” as he came running down to see if my arm had been bitten off (by the anacondas that frequent our basement!) only to laugh at my reaction to the tiny little fur ball stuck to the bug trap.
Yeah, let’s go back a minute. So when the exterminator came, he put out ant bait/poison all over the first floor and then put these bigger traps in the basement and garage to figure out what other bugs we might potentially have. Pretty quickly I noticed a few of the hopping spiders (I think they’re actually called spider crickets – they have a bunch of legs, hop about a foot off the ground and will attack you if caught off guard and/or suck out your brains in your sleep. It’s possible I made the last part up. But it’s also possible I didn’t!). OK, good. He could see we had those and figure out what to do about them. Some time passed and I noticed – those hopping spider corpses stuck to the trap didn’t appear to be there anymore… As they likely hadn’t just disintegrated, they’d either found their way off (because they’d been storing their energy laying there for a few weeks waiting to pounce… clearly) or … something bigger had come along and removed them for dinner. Yes, logic told me there was something else going on. But logic is never my friend in these circumstances, so I told logic to take a hike, I prefer ignorant bliss.
But I would go look at the traps periodically. To see if they’d magically reappeared? OK, I’m not that blissfully ignorant. I wanted to know if there were new ones. This particular Monday morning, I looked at the trap and saw something bigger on the other side. Excellent housekeeper that I am, I assumed it was a big piece of lint or dirt (in my defense, this is the unfinished side of the basement). I went to move the trap to see what it was and… it moved! SO YOU CAN SEE WHY I SCREAMED!
Hubby was sent to dispatch with this. We agreed that we couldn’t kill it (dude, it looked at us! I mean, I wasn't inviting it for dinner or anything, but I couldn't personally be the one to kill it), so he went to release it into the woods – all the while threatening that he would take my car to do this – the mouse could ride shotgun. Yeah, and then I’d find a shotgun too… He drove his truck to the wooded area a mile or so away, sang a chorus of “Born Free” and let Mickey go.
I checked the other traps and noticed some distinctive bite marks in one – which my husband insisted must have been from the same mouse (he just doesn’t want me to refuse to go into the basement, as he’d have to do all the laundry!). But then he did admit that, as it turns out, they did pull a mouse out when they cleaned out our ducts. In the ducts? Like they could be anywhere all over the house? I’m sticking my fingers in my ears and shouting IGNORANCE IS EFFING BLISS as we speak!
A few days later I’m back in the basement and take a look at another trap and – yup, Minnie must have been looking for her mate. Oh God help me. Hubby was called in again – with extra force as this one wasn’t stuck on so well and was trying hard to escape (the efforts looked sort of like a little kid trying to learn to jump – you know, when they stand on the ground and try to pull their bodies upward by sheer force of will without bending their knees?). When he came up with the whole trap in a plastic bag – as he didn’t want to get too near it – there wasn’t so much laughing at me this time… (As a side note, no I didn't scream this time - as I was LOOKING for mice and wasn't surprised by it.)
I had been planning on saving mouse traps for a birthday gift for him (later this week – here honey, here’s something for the house…), but decided it could NOT wait. We were off to Home Depot. We started with the sticky strips – these were just like the bug ones, but my husband noted that the bugs ones seemed to be getting too much hair on them (from the mice) to be effective. (Scream suppressed) And one catch and release baited one (which I REFUSE to check as it involves touching it). But we also got these plug in repellant things that my coworker recommended. She lives nearby and said she hasn’t seen a mouse since she put them in several years ago. So far, so good, but we’ll see.
So what about you? Any domestic interloper horror stories in your house? What’s your best remedy for mice? Or, God forbid, snakes? I don’t want to talk about snakes…