JUST THINKING: The mice are messing with me

Just Thinking | Julie Stafford

Let me start by saying I am not afraid of mice. If I saw one in my house, I wouldn’t stand on a chair or shriek for help or lay awake at night with worry.

They’re kind of cute little creatures, really.

My problem with mice is the mess they cause and the droppings they leave behind. And then there’s the whole thought of mice rummaging around in my pantry. Yick.

That said, I’ve apparently got some kind of ninja rodent living in my garage — and possibly more in between the walls of my daughter’s bedroom. And I’m fed up.

Backtrack a few months. Early in the summer, my daughter started hearing something rustling in the wall between her bedroom and the bathroom next door — always late at night. It stopped after a while, so I was thinking we were good. But recently, just after I’d turned out the light for the night, something scurried across the ceiling in the attic over my room and ended up causing quite a scuffle in its nest between the walls.

I’ve seen at least one of the culprits — a small fuzzy, round, gray critter that dashed over the stairs and under one of our storage closets in the garage. This is where my problem lies. Now he’s not simply a pest. He’s got personality, in a mousey kind of way.

About a month ago, I began studying my “pest control” options. I could use d-Con, which mice apparently ingest and then die a slow, thirsty death — hopefully outside, but perhaps within the walls of your house. Yucko.

Or I could lie out several of those sticky trays that my little friend would try to run across and get stuck on and die a long, drawn out and — presumably — scary death, I assume from starvation and dehydration. Then there are the good ol’ cheap, snap traps that you bait and cause a quick death when set, at least in theory.

For my first go around, I chose the most humane option and set a live trap in my garage that came complete with its own enticing treat — a green block of something. After two and half weeks, we discovered the crafty critter was somehow sneaking into the trap, nibbling what it needed and then exiting just as easily as it entered. OK, check that option off the list.

I just can’t bring myself to use the sticky stuff or the d-Con — not only because I might have to witness mouse death up close and personal, but also because dragging out suffering goes against everything I am about.

So now, my son and I have set four snap traps in our garage, using peanut butter as the draw. A couple days ago, I asked my son if he indeed had loaded the traps with Jif because at first glance, it looked as if they were clean. After much scoffing and a few “Do you think I’m stupid?” comments, he finally went to look for himself.

“I think someone’s messin’ with me,” he said, after discovering that, sure enough, each of the four traps was clean. And so he loaded them again. By the next morning, they were empty.

Now I’m at a loss, not to mention that it seems to be a waste of perfectly good peanut butter. I know the traps have been set correctly because I touched one with cardboard and it snapped — ker BAM. How this mouse is getting away is a mystery. They say a good game of cat and mouse can go on for a very long time. I, however, am on a mission. Game over, mouse.

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