Sunday, September 28, 2008

To catch a mouse

A side note... if you are looking for more Princess today, you can find me here (on the topic of friend break-ups) and here (as a part of Lauren's testament series).

***

Last week, an exterminator came by to discuss our furry apartment visitor. He moved our dishwasher and shone around with his flashlight. Based on our reports of only two sightings in the kitchen and the lack of droppings, he stated that he believed Mr. Mouse to have been merely passing through on a food hunt. He left a little poison and said we would likely not see the fellow again. In fact, all seemed clear on the rodent front when we left for the weekend.

However, apparently the lack of cat slippers lulled Mr. Mouse into a sense of comfort, because when he returned, he had gained run of our entire apartment (although it seems he was not dining here).

The first day back, he emerged beneath the coffee table at the Duke's feet.

The second day back, he did a full scale dash across the living room as three of us sat on the couch chatting.

The third day back, he had abandoned all sense of fear, popping up by my feet as I sat on the couch, scampering by the Duke as he chatted on the phone in the dining room. Even worse-- he made his way to the bedroom somehow, where the Duke busted him chowing down on one of my massage bars at the bottom of my night stand.

The invasion of our bedroom send me into a bit of a tizzy, as I pictured myself waking up with a mouse ominously peering over me on the headboard. The Duke, armed by the power of Google, set up a makeshift trap, constructed of a garbage can, a ramp made out of boardgames and books, and a toilet paper tube filled with peanut butter. Mr Mouse had shown interest, and had knocked over the ramp once, but had not yet fully set off the trap and tumbled into the waste bucket.

We were trying to relax, watching television in the bedroom and waiting for the trap to work its magic, when we heard squeaking and rustling behind us. I froze, while the Duke jumped up, and seized a flashlight. "He's behind the bookshelf! I think we can trap him!"

And thus began a frantic game of cat and mouse. We blocked one side of the bookshelf with a massive painting, and started wedging books beneath it and to the side. Only once we have built a wall surrounding the bookshelf does a cursory flashlighted look reveal that Mr. Mouse is now cowering behind the dresser.

Books were now piled around the dresser. The Duke, for some undisclosed reason, sent me off to get garbage bags. Mr. Mouse fled back to the corner behind the bookshelf. In the frantic hubbub, the Duke pullled the dresser forward rapidly, and a piece of claywork that my aunt made for me as a child toppled to the ground and cracked into two.

I shouted "I told you to be careful with that!" and started to fight back tears at the sheer aggravation of my bedtime being in the destruction of cherished mementos and the rearrangement of our furniture due to a damn mouse-- especially since I didn't have a single clue what do with said mouse once he was cornered.
As my frustration grew, however, The Duke, became even more determined.

The bookshelf became an impenetrable fortress, with books of varying sizes shoved in every possible gap. The Duke peered over the top of the bookshelf again.

"I think he might be dead. Maybe the poison and the shock did him in. He's just curled up in the corner, motionless."

I fetched a long handled mop. A quick jab revealed that Mr. Mouse was only faking it. I squealed and jumped away as Mr. Mouse came back to life.

In a stroke of genius, the Duke grabbed a long poster tube he had been using for the ramp on the latest version of the garbage can trap. We slowly edged the bookshelf away from the wall, and replaced one wall of books with the tube.

I then set to frightening the mouse from his corner. First, I gently knocked on the painting, gradually increasing my force. He wiggled a little.

I then fished into my old piggy bank, and bring out handfuls of pennies, which I dropped behind the bookshelf, first one, then several in succession.

It worked. Mr. Mouse dashed straight into the poster tube, the Duke rapidly stood it up, and clamped a book to the top. Mr. Mouse scratched frantically at the circular walls at first, but gradually grew silent.

We grabbed our house keys, and slipped out into the rainy night, taking turns delicately balancing the tube and book as we marched through puddles. Five or six blocks away, in a back alley, we set the tube on the ground. A light tap on the end sent Mr. Mouse dashing out ike a cannonballs, disappearing into the dark night in a matter of seconds, as we turned back to return to our torn apart, but mouse-free bedroom.

Rodent harnessing skillz? We has 'em.

30 comments:

Crushed said...

It sounds a bit like a Tom and Jerry cartoon...

Anyway, you leatned several things;

1. Exterminator, despite having a title begining with ex are clearly not -exPERTS.

2. The cat slippers work.

3. If in doubt, lateral thinking, no matter how bizarre, and possibly involving long forgotten coinage, will produce surprising results.

4. Going off to get grabage bags without asking why is a bad omen. You will return to find the Duke has created breakages to go IN the grabage bags.

5. Mr Mouse is simply plotting his next move...

Dexter Colt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dexter Colt said...

No mouse is ever going to outsmart two determined human beings. Hurray for teamwork!

Bayjb said...

Holy cow that mouse is determined. Geez. I've never heard of it getting to that situation. Guess I've been lucky - knock on wood!

eric1313 said...

huzzah! 5th!

(now THAT was lame)

What a lively post, I loved this one!

The mark of a good writer is that they can make anything sound interesting. This was actually riveting, and all it was was a misadventure in rodentia!

I liked that you yourself paralleled the mouse, both in fear, and in mannerisms (running, jumping and squealing).

Bet you didn't even know you had set this one up that perfectly. Or maybe you did, you are an mighty intelligent one.

Anyway, hope you had a great weekend.

I'll post soon.

eric1313 said...

4th, technically...

now I'm 5th

yep, lameness has hit an all new nadir...

jenn said...

I'm impressed that you stuck with it for so long. I usually just try to avoid them, and then set a trap.
I'm such a coward...

Adorably Bitter said...

I must say I like your approach much better than the exterminator's. Because your story has a happy ending for Mr. Mouse.

(Of course, in my naive mind I am overlooking all the stress the poor thing was through :)

wee-h said...

My recent mouse story didn't have such a happy ending... i had to rescue the poor little thing (it was a baby - yes it was cute) from the evil teasing that my cat was giving it... he's an excellent mouse catcher, but not atall humane!

dmb5_libra said...

wow! see what sheer will and determinations can do for people?!

Glad you got that mouse finally. They're cute and all, but not something you want running across your face at 3:00am while you sleep.

Congrats and huzzah!

verybadcat said...

It's over. It's finally over!

We had our own rodent adventure this weekend. Post coming shortly. :)

lspoon said...

Next time you have a mouse, put an inch of birdseed in the bottom of a planter (one with sloped sides). Once the mouse gets in, he can't get back out again.

But here's hoping you won't have another mouse! :)

ToughGirl101 said...

... you didn't kill it? ahhh.

Yoda said...

HAHAHAHA!

Oh dear. I only hope that we don't have a mouse ... my woman surely would go nuts!

On the other hand, both of you guys earned major points in my book for setting the mouse free and not killing it!

Matt said...

didnt you ever read that book if you give a mouse a cookie???

thats how you catch a mouse!!!

duh!

Psychgrad said...

You guys seem way more patient with this mouse that we are...We've already killed 7 mice. Just plain old fashion mouse traps and peanut butter, apparently their preferred food. Luckily, I haven't seen any mice - just evidence of them. I am more than willing to taking on a few extra chores to be relieved of mouse cleaning/disposal duties.

So@24 said...

Mickey! Nooooooooooo!

Katelin said...

oh man that would drive me crazy. i am such a wuss. hopefully that's the end of your rodent mishaps though, shudder.

Rachel said...

My rodent adventures involved my cats finding them and torturing them until they died. Simple but disturbing...

cdp said...

I swear on all that is holy that there is a mouse in the walls of our master bedroom. Mark swears that I am insane, and of course he never scurries around when Mark is either 1) in the room or 2) awake.

It is driving me directly to the brink of total INSANITY.

Daisy said...

Playing Mouse Trap in real life just isn't as fun is it? What a shame. That game is like heaps-cool.

S'Mat said...

You guys made some great plays.
I always ended up releasing the mouse my cat caught back into the apartment to help foster some skill development (for both parties). I know rats tell each other when environments are hazardous, causing all others to avoid the area from then on. Apparently doesn't work as well for mice.

eric1313 said...

Yes, you both get credit for letting the little dude live. After all, he was WAY more scared of you. Tiny animals see big ones and only think one instinctive thing:

OMG! It's going to eat me!

I'd have to say that courage is allowing your "nemesis" (hehehe...) to live another day.

And I shall look for your other posts. See you there!

Brett said...

Fantastic had me laughing out loud.

Salt City Mistress said...

You two could write a book on how to build a better mouse trap, take two determined individuals, a tons of books, pennies by the handfull and an old poster tube!

t.k.foster said...

To quote Sex and the City ...

"Where there's one, there's more."

I have found that true recently with my troubles with Roaches.

Lauren said...

Wow! It was literally a game of cat and mouse (only...human and mouse?) I'm glad you set him free and didn't kill him. I'm sure he appreciates it.

Sass said...

I came across your writing on halfdesertedstreets. And I have to say...I'm hooked. :)

You're an amazing writer.

~sass

JessWrites said...

Haha, too funny.

My apartment in Chicago had COCKROACHES! Ugh.

No one likes to share their place of residence with unwelcome guests.

SMARTBuddy said...

Nice work! Ive always been impressed how high mice can jump when ive tried to trap them. I think the double team is the way to go. Well done.