Friday, February 22, 2008

EEK!

The Wind in the Willows, illustrations by Dick Cuffari. Technically, this is a rat.


A couple of weeks ago, Mr. Blandings and I came home and our babysitter was sitting at the kitchen table with her feet up on the riser. Everything ok? Yes, everything fine, boys were a delight (is this ever true? Could they be that much better with other people than they are with me?) the only thing was, there was a mouse. Under the sofa. Except he wasn't when we checked. She's a lovely girl, and quite bright, smarter than me times ten. But days went by and I never saw our new lodger, nor any ugly sign of him.

Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown.

Then my mother-in-law was here (it was a week later, just in case you thought my life was a constant party) and she saw him, too. Her feet were also amusingly up when we came home. A few more days and I still hadn't spotted him.


Love is a Handful of Honey, illustrations by Vanessa Cabban.

Then, my middle darling, reported a sighting in the dining room. "He went right across the room and under the radiator." I believed him, of course, but right across the middle of the room? At dinner time? What about all my mouse knowledge - nocturnal, baseboard skimmers - none of this was adding up.


Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree, Robert Barry.

Then at the end of the week things began to get wacky. He ran right behind me while I was fixing dinner and talking to Mr. Blandings. Right behind me. Under the radiator. Well, sure, it's freezing here, that's where I wanted to be as well. But now, it was time for action. We started with traps. Hmmm..no thank you. My eldest reported that he saw him run right around one.

If You Take a Mouse to the Movies, illustrations by Felicia Bond.


We resorted to poison, always a scary tactic in a house with a dog. Not a sign of a nibble. Are you laughing that I think I had one mouse? I really do. He was little. Over the course of two weeks I saw him pretty often. Mr. Blandings jokingly said we should mark him with a paint gun so we could tell.

Dear Mrs. LaRue, by Mark Teague.


Then, as I was getting a bit attached and the boys were requesting a cage so we could keep him, I tried live traps. It seemed so humane. All he wanted was a little warmth, after all. Not even food as far as I could tell. No dice.

Flora McDonnell's ABC's.

I was a bit worried about my dinner last Saturday. As I mentioned, these were newer friends and I really didn't want a mouse running across my dining room mid-meal. But he didn't show. I thought the poison might have taken affect. But, no, Sunday he was back. This further endeared him to me as I think he was aware that his presence at the party might have been badly received. Like a tipsy in-law.

Poppleton, illustrations by Mark Teague.


My neighbor, who never liked the live trap idea, suggested glue traps. Awful. Inhumane. Horrid. But I was at my wits end. I abhor mice. Truly, I'm the shrieking-standing-on-the-table person. We had already determined that our mouse was either anorexic or had a nut allergy, so I baited the glue traps with Cherrios and a dried cranberry.


Pearls Before Swine, The Sopratos, Stephan Pastis.

It was an empty victory. Horrible as we had both expected. Mr. Blandings said as he picked up the trap our visitor clung to the sisal with his front paws. Our boys were stunned. When they heard the news you would have thought we left Rosie in the trash to starve. Part of me hopes he has a little cartoon chutzpa and plucks himself from his prison to live another day. Outside.


Stuart Little, illustrations by Garth Williams.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh, I feel for you. We had a family of mice move into my beautiful home the winter I had my second child. The droppings alone (under sofa cushions, on the counter) are enough to send chills up my spine today. Stuart Little is honorable but real mice can turn your dream home into a nightmare. Sad about the traps (poison worked for us but isn't much better) however trust me, there are millions more lurking outside your door hoping for a chance in.

pve design said...

Oh dear, a visitor. We had many when we lived in the city - there was a field next to out apartment (in the city) smack in the middle of two buildings. I remember many a night - feet propped up. You forgot Angelina, but with three boys, she probably is not in your book collection. She is my favorite dancing mouse. She is a clever mouse like you.

The Peak of Chic said...

Well, you managed to make mice seem cute with the illustrations. But in reality they're not cute at all!

Pigtown-Design said...

Happy Valentine's Day...
http://pigtown-pigout.blogspot.com/2008/02/eek-mouse.html

hookedonhouses said...

I just stumbled across your blog and got completely entangled in it. There are so many fun and interesting things to read. (Also, I love the Cary Grant movie "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House," so you sort of had me at "hello.")
I've Bookmarked you and will be back again...and again. -Julia :-)

stljoie said...

OMG, you even present infestation beautifully. I remember when I was a child sitting on the "potty" a tiny mouse came out from under the clawfoot tub and sat up like a puppy and stared at me with the same amazement as I at him (?). I cried when my parents set out to kill him. And on the few occasions I have had to KILL these tiny creatures it has been done with a feeling of guilt.

mongoose1 said...

LoL!

I love mice, we had several pet babies ones in our building while I was deployed in Iraq. Their mother had been killed and they were so tiny and adorable.

I fed mine (several of use kept/raised the babies)cheetos and you should have seen him the first time he had a cheeto to eat...probably thought he'd died and gone to heaven!

We did finally released all of the babies outside; but I felt cruel since they were still pretty tiny, something probably caught and ate them fairly quickly.


Cindy

Easy and Elegant Life said...

Goodness Mrs. B., that didn't go at all the way that I thought it might. You are quite the gifted storyteller!

The glue trap thing is horrible. I had to give the coup de grace to the stuck little villain with an empty champagne bottle (N.B. do not replicate my act under any circumstances. Gruesome, if quick and effective, results.)

Nowadays it's the spring loaded traps baited with peanut butter and a coffee bean. One twitch is all it takes...

Anonymous said...

Always delightful! I love this blog.

Mrs. Blandings said...

All your comments reassure me that God's little creatures are everywhere. Meg, I'm so glad they were not at my Valentine's Day dinner - eek, indeed. And E&E - I hope I haven't horrified you. Were you expecting a sweet name and a cozy cage - not from this girl. Yikes.

southern gal said...

oh dear... mice! sigh

maybe i will do a post on my blog of my MANY experiences with mice...but the short summary is

GET A CAT! (or two)

really. works.all.the.time.

sorry you had to go thru this with the boys!

CB said...

Dear Mrs. Blandings,

First, the photos below -- esp the carpet -- are fantastic and Rosie is so adorable. Second, I am so sorry to hear about your Mouse Capades. They are never fun.

Perhaps you can take a small bit of comfort in the fact that you don't have a "ratting" dog, as we do. Our cairn terrier's instincts are hard coded and in full effect, despite his advanced age. Such is life, I guess.

Have a lovely weekend!

Kwana said...

Lord knows, you did your best by the mouse. You're much braver than I am. I'd have been living at my mother's until it was caught. I'm a big wimp:-)

beachbungalow8 said...

i have 3 'pet' mice. all in a cage that i don't mind picking up and petting.

but i have one that i saw run down an extension cord while i was residing in the gara-office. i happened to be IMing with cote de texas at the time. i completely lost it and ran.

i just don't want it biting my nose while i sleep.

Toby Worthington said...

Loved your Mouse in the House saga!
I grew up around women who got into a total panic at the very mention of rodents, so it seemed only right to suppress this hysteria when I became a grown man.
This resolve was put to the test on the day that a mouse (not cute, not Disney-like) slithered across the kitchen counter, heading straight for a chicken about to be roasted! Appalling for me, thrilling for that mouse. It might have ended up as inadvertent stuffing.
(Mrs B, I do apologize for this gruesome anecdote)