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A Mouse in the House

I have mice in my kitchen. I have not personally seen the mice, but have been rudely greeted each morning for the last week with evidence of their nocturnal rovings on my otherwise pristine counter tops. Last year when I had mice in my bedroom Chelsea, my cat, dispensed with each with the savor and speed that I would devour a box of Godiva chocolates. For whatever reason, however, this current group has failed to stir her taste buds. 

I’ve been hoping they would simply go away or perhaps die of old age because I just hate to kill things. This wasn’t always the case. When I was a city dweller, upon finding a spider in my home, I would spray an entire can of Raid on it and then hope the ants would quietly take away its poison-soaked corpse. They never did. After moving to the country, I developed a much more “live and let live” philosophy. I now simply cover the spider with a plastic cup, slip a piece of cardboard underneath it, and walk it outside. But I digress …

Since the mice are clearly not appreciating my magnanimous approach, off I go to buy mouse traps. I don’t want the sticky kind. Finding a live mouse fighting to free itself while looking up at me pleading for a reprieve would be more guilt than I could handle. For $4l.95 I see a contraption that emits a sound guaranteed to have the same repelling effect on mice as heavy metal music has on me. The salesman says it worked for him for awhile until the mice got used to it and came back. Come to think of it, Led Zeppelin eventually grew on me, too. Next he shows me a metal box that lures and traps the live mice inside. I’m encouraged until he tells me that barring driving them to the next county for release, they would probably just march themselves right back into my cozy kitchen of which they have grown so fond. I settle on a pair of traps which promise a “high catch rate,” and best of all “no need to handle dead mice.”

“Oh, and get some mothballs,” he suggests, because that’s what salespeople do. ”Mice hate the smell,” he assures me. ”It’ll keep them away.” Ring them up. 

Now I’m thinking, if the mothballs will keep them away, perhaps they will also drive them away. Then I can still avoid the whole killing and guilt thing. Unfortunately, having no experience with mothballs, I seriously underestimate their potency and fling whole handfuls of the tiny bombs behind the refrigerator and another behind the stove. Cough, gag, choke! My entire house reeks and, of course, now there is no simple way to retrieve them. But, fine. What’s a little lung damage if it works? 

The following morning, I awake hopeful. Yes, the smell is still suffocating, but if it makes me want to flee, surely the mice have scampered off. Wrong. Not only have they not been sent packing by the noxious fumes, there are even more mouse droppings than before. Clearly, they are now mocking me. I no longer feel generous. They must die.

I bait the traps with the cheapest peanut butter I can find, the kind that still has the trans fats. I not only want them dead, I want their disgusting little arteries clogged, as well. I’m ashamed at my glee as I anticipate their demise, but only for a moment. I consider brewing a pot of coffee, dimming the lights and staying up all night at the kitchen table just for the pure pleasure of hearing the traps snap shut, but vanity prevails as I realize how pronounced the bags under my eyes will look from lack of sleep.    

Morning dawns. I leap from my bed and rush to the kitchen high on anticipation ... score! Me, two. Mice, zero. I congratulate myself on a job well done as I dispose of the varmints and re-bait the traps. Now if I can only get rid of the stench of those damn mothballs. 

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