Thursday, August 27, 2015


Opening a drawer I found a fat mouse who'd shredded my gift wrap and done numbers one and two on a year's worth of greeting and birthday cards. I think only moms-to-be would be so sneaky, persistent, and destructive. They chewed through particle board into a cabinet, left piles of sunflower-seed hulls and dried beans on the mantel and in my shoes, and turds in my apron pockets. I wept. With weather cooler than normal for August I thought to bake a cake, light and not too sweet, and share it like a good Missourian, and opening the oven where pans are kept I saw enthroned in my cake pan a mouse nest clawed out of oven insulation with, fortunately, no mice in it. After my nausea passed (instead of baking, I hosed down all the pans and set the dishwasher on "sanitize"), I sent the landlord a photo and demanded he address in all seriousness the plague of mice I've had since spring. One or two in winter is normal in a country house. But five or ten in late summer, openly running along the baseboards: no. Worst in 14 years. So bad I stopped feeding the birds.

Enter Tim the handyman with the familiar blue Tomcat poison saying, "You just gotta hope they die outside," and when he set eight of these new kind of traps I wailed that these mice were too smart for traps, and he joked, "You just gotta get out the ol' .22." They're baited with a dollop of black gel -- the mice have been so bad I have two peanut butter jars, one for my mousetraps and one for me!! -- and one got caught along a major mouse thruway. With these I needn't touch the dead ones. Outside along the foundation Tim placed larger traps containing immense cakes of poison and said to refill them in two weeks. I said, there must be a hole there, why don't you find it and patch it up? Guess whose job that's gonna be.

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