Mice Capades: Part 2

Killer mice

Vicious beasts like this should not be frightening the cat and disrupting our family life. They should be outside fighting bears or something. (Image: USFWS)

As everyone sooner or later learns, the key to removing a mouse from your house is having enough kitchenware on hand. What we needed was a lip-less cookie sheet and a pitcher with a snug lid.

Having assembled the proper tools, it was time for man and wife to argue about how to proceed while children threatened the success of every step with meddling curiosity.

I slid the cover enclosing the mouse onto the cookie sheet. Now the rodent dungeon was mobile. My wife was in favor of just throwing the prisoner outside and being done with it, but I was not taking such chances with a trespasser who already knew his way in. We were going to put some distance between him and us.

Since nobody volunteered to ride in the car with Mad Mouse Beyond Thunderdome on their lap, I had to make the prisoner more secure. I made my wife come outside with me to transact the transfer.

If you and your spouse ever need to partner in moving a mouse from under a dish cover on a cookie sheet into a juice pitcher, be prepared for the ultimate test of your marriage. It should be one of the challenges on The Amazing Race, because it’s that full of drama.

A trapped mouse is a ferocious animal who will use any available part of your body to facilitate his escape, sending you into paroxysms of terror. Should this psychologically scarring event come to pass, it will be your spouse’s fault. This is a given. Your relationship may never be the same.

Mouse Thunderdome

Welcome to Thunderdome: One mouse enters; two humans bicker.*

My wife chose to be the slider, leaving me the catching duties. She was skeptical of the plan from the first, predicting that the mouse would avoid the pitcher as the cover slid clear of the cookie sheet.

“If you do it quickly, he’ll have no place else to go,” I reassured her.

She was not reassured. “He’ll climb around the edge,” she insisted as she began her methodical sliding of the cover.

“Not if you do it quickly,” I repeated, attempting to prod her to swifter movement.

She shot back something about losing track of the mouse if she went too fast.

She was giving him too much time to think. “If you do it quickly!” I demanded.

A spouse who doubts your plan is unlikely to execute it quickly. She continued sliding the cover at her deliberate pace – to better identify the exact moment of failure.

“If you do it quickly!” No doubt, the vein was bulging in my neck. Dangerous animals have that effect upon me.

She gave me the famous “Say that one more time!” look.

The mouse, disoriented by my frantic bellowing, allowed himself to drop into the pitcher. I covered it with a sigh of relief.

My wife was back inside the house, having closed the door on both pests left outside.

I drove the mouse to a spot that looked ripe for colonization and set him free.

Then I went home to tell the cat he could come out of hiding and practice talking nice to my wife.


*My wife insists I mention that these items have been thoroughly cleaned. Just in case you happen to stop by for some rodent-free baked goods.


Mice Capades: Part 1

It’s been a cold winter, followed by a none-too-balmy spring. This has been difficult on the animals with which we share the swamp our town is built upon. It’s not been a good year to be a deer or a skunk. We haven’t seen our favorite ground hog (a.k.a. the little man who lives under the porch) in a while; we suspect he packed up and retired to Palm Beach.

We’ve had chipmunk and squirrel squatters before, but never mice – not until this year. In December, we discovered that someone had been nibbling at the groceries in our pantry. Whoever coined that phrase about not pooping where you eat was not a mouse.

We finally caught the miscreant with a combination of peanut butter and Gold Fish crackers. He and I went for a little ride. But I’m soft, so I let him go in a field where he could freeze to death, starve, found a flourishing rodent colony, or do any of a myriad things that were no longer my business.

I left the trap in the pantry, but didn’t catch anybody else. The signs of nibbling disappeared.

Last week, the boys and I were playing with the new train the big boy had earned for getting to the top of the color ladder at school (Go, big boy, go!), when the little boy became unusually animated. He pointed under the coffee table and let go a stream of baby talk exclamations. He can speak some English in quiet conversation, but not when he is whipped into a frenzy.

MIce? Don't be ridiculous!

“You want me to catch what? Oh, you people crack me up!”

I peered under the table. All I could see were some wooden puzzles and other forgotten toys. Buster was adamant. Getting down on his knees, he pointed under the table, showing his alarmed face before morphing it into his scared face. All the while an unintelligible rant poured from his mouth, like from a taxi driver after a fender bender.

To assuage his misguided alarm, I reached under the table and pulled out a puzzle frame. We all jumped back as a furry lump scurried across the floor and into the entryway. The mouse hid behind one of my shoes. I grabbed the cat out of his nap on the couch and put him down within two feet of the mouse. As determined as Buster had been to find the mouse, the cat was determined to ignore it. I could not get him to turn his head in the right direction. He knew there was a problem that way, but if he didn’t see it, he couldn’t be made responsible for it.

While I went to retrieve a plastic dish cover, the cat tip-toed away to a different floor of the house. I had little faith in my ability to catch the mouse, but maybe this one had the rheumatism, because he was just slow enough for me to corral under the dish cover. This gave us leisure to have a family debate about our next move.

To Be Continued . . .