Friday, May 28, 2010

Dixie Cups and Other Good Mousetraps

Well, I'm not planning on going on any adventures like yesterday, and I don't feel like typing up my boring journal entries (at least not until I find one that's amusing). So I am going to talk about random things like this blog was intended for.

My first topic will be these pest-control things we have all over our house. My mom bought these things that plug into the wall, and every 5 seconds or so they flash a little red light and make a clicking noise that is really annoying but eventually you get used to it and forget it's there until it gets really quiet and you're forced to notice it again. Supposedly the noise is supposed to deter mice and spiders.

I apologize for the image lighting and quality. I took this snapshot with my webcam.
See that little dot? It lights up with an evil red glare of death every 5 seconds, accompanied by a menacing click.

Has anybody else ever seen these things? Because I hadn't. I don't even know why Mom thought we'd need them. We didn't have mice when she bought them.
And then we got mice.
Don't worry; they're gone now and everything is clean.
But anyway, my brother and I totally think that these evil monstrosities drew them. Because they were hanging out right near them, no lie. It would also help if my dad would actually patch up the holes in our insulation in the basement, but whatever.

My mom is deathly afraid of mice. She absolutely freaks out. Once, I was minding my own business upstairs and I heard all this frantic shouting and shrieking from downstairs, accompanied by violent thumps. Naturally, I was a bit curious and concerned, so I went downstairs to find out what was the matter.
"There's a mouse in here," my mother told me. I looked around our kitchen. Random things from our pantry were strewn all over in evidence of my mom's attempts to kill the little critter. "The cat saw it, and she just walked away," she said. She sounded very affronted about this.
"What was all that screaming?" I asked.
"I was chasing the mouse," came the reply, as if it were completely natural to upturn things and shout while chasing a mouse, like a character in a Warner Brothers cartoon. I wondered if she had jumped on a chair at any point.
"Well, don't stomp around. You'll scare the poor little thing," I said sympathetically. I don't care for what mice do to living spaces, but mice themselves? I think they are endearing.
"I don't want to hear any more about the 'poor little thing'," my mother told me.

For a couple days, every time it got very quiet at night, and my brother and I were downstairs watching Metal Gear Solid videos, one of us would hear a faint scuffly noise. All activity and movement would stop. "Did you hear that?" one of us would whisper, and the other would nod fervently, eyes wide. A finger would be held up, silencing whatever comment might be offered. Then, we would creep to wherever the noise emanated (usually the pantry). My brother would swing open the door all of a sudden, and we would scan the interior with our eyes, as if our determination gave us super-vision.
Only once did we actually see a mouse in there. I almost caught it with paper cups (I was going to take it to the cornfield out back and release it). But then it scurried under the door and we never saw it again. So on that particular night, we began an hour-long mouse-hunt in the basement. We would creep around, listening for any scuffling, real or imagined, me holding my Dixie cups aloft like the flimsiest weapon ever. As you might have guessed, the search was fruitless. We tried trapping the cat down there, but after 7 minutes she was meowing piteously to come out, and we let her out. She shook herself, regaining her dignity, and went outside, slacking off on her job once again. Then we put boxes in front of the basement door, but we figured it probably wouldn't fly if mice chewed the boxes of my mom's romance novels, so we moved them again.

So then, a couple days later, my mom and I went to Wal-Mart and bought every kind of mouse trap known to man. We used to have Have-a-Heart traps, which look like little gray rectangular boxes with a tiny ramp leading inside. When the mouse steps inside, the door closes and the mouse is trapped. Sure, it doesn't kill the mouse, but if you forget to check the traps for a day, the mouse will have suffocated. Years ago, we used them, and only one mouse survived them. My mom let it go, and even her vermin-fearing heart bled for the little emaciated, overheated thing. Anyway, I've gotten off-topic.

Have-a-Heart traps, circular Decon traps, modern snappy-traps, and the traditional neck-snapper traps (which I hate)--you name it, we bought it. My mom took back the Decon ones, because they were $5 and probably would suffocate the mice, but she ordered something called Earth-kind Botanical Freshcab Mouse Repellent- Active ingredient: Balsam fir oil.

It arrived a few days later. Supposedly, it was developed by a "farm-wife". It was very expensive and it looks like a little pouch of dried aromatherapy stuff. It smells unbelievably potent, and like the forest just smacked you in the face. Everyone in my house loves it except me, who thinks it smells just a little too strong. But ever since we got it, we haven't seen a mouse, so I guess it is working. It would keep me away, too.

So anyway, we are mouse-free now and that is the only reason I am allowed to tell you about this, because my mom hates it when I tell people we have had mice. She thinks it automatically means we are dirty slobs who live in a pigsty. I try to tell her that normal people get mice all the time, and we are normal people. My brother absolutely hates them, so he thinks our house is dirty and all, and maybe that is what is making my mom nervous about it, but me? Everyone gets mice at some point.

But not everyone gets smacked in the face with the forest. So I guess we should feel lucky.

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