Friday, October 31, 2014



Our Mouse Number One 
I emptied my clothes out of the washer and before I closed  the lid, I looked down, and there was a shape - an unmistakable shape.  It was a drowned mouse.  Yes, of course I  freaked out.  Wayne took the mouse away and rewashed my clothes for me. 

Our Mouse Number Two
I was in my basement cave where this computer and all my other stuff stand around in a permanent state of disorder. Shadow was in the basement with me, sleeping on the printer most of the time, but I noticed that she was up and moving around. 

Shadow fits into this family very well.  She’s a Clyde.  She runs into walls, falls off the bed, and doesn’t always land on her feet.  In fact, I’m not sure she’s a cat, but I love her anyway.  

Now she was up and moving around,  fast,  bumping into things.  Where is my camera when I need it, because all at once there she stood - mouse in her mouth.  I freaked again, screamed, and she dropped the mouse.  Mouse ran under the couch. Shadow spent the next few hours sitting (when she wasn’t sleeping) in front of the couch waiting for that mouse to come out.  

I decided to let nature take its course and worry about the little visitor later.  I knew the mouse was smarter than Shadow.  I’ve watched Tom and Jerry.  First with Wes and then with Charles.  We had a whole DVD of Tom and Jerry cartoons.  Mouse never got caught.

Our friends Gay and Ted had a couple of mice at the same time.  Gay wouldn't release them near their house, so they and the mouse and the better-built mousetrap took a ride out that narrow, two-lane road where Charlie Williams restaurant was a long time ago.  Gay got stuck sideways on the road, and a school bus came along and had to wait for her to turn around.  Took so much time, the mouse was probably back in her kitchen by the time they got home.  

Our Mice Numbers Three Through Twelve-plus 

If you wanted to hear two old people giggle, you should have been at our house a couple of weeks ago.  Mouse-catcher has caught ten or more mice, using increasingly complicated methods. 

Procedure #1
He was catching them in better-built mousetraps, overnight two at a time and taking them all the way to the creek to let them go.  Don’t worry.   I was reading about them (Remember that’s what I do, I do not catch, I read about and write about.)  It seems that mice can swim and if you flush them down the toilet, they think they’re on some Disneyland Water Ride.  Wayne thought about doing that, sending them toward our friends a few blocks away, but we didn't want to lose friends, just mice, so he continued to use the better-built mousetraps.

We had counted catches of up to nine or ten in the basement, two at a time, on successive nights, and I had encountered a couple of them racing through the basement, so I went down to clean up.  I do that, too, but I still do not catch.  There’s a small closet in the bathroom down there and I had some bedding stacked  on the bottom shelf.  Guess who had a nest inside my nicely folded comforter.  After a very fat mouse ran past me out of the closet,  I did a lot of cleaning.  I threw away everything from that closet.  The mice had been going in under the door.  I don’t know where they are now. Maybe they're circling back into the house. 

I read about and clean up after, but I do not catch -- that is until mouse-catcher decided to go to his 65th high school reunion in Illinois, leaving me with two set traps.  I was a catcher for one night, and the trap was tripped.  Took me thirty minutes to get up the nerve to slide that trap into a plastic bag and take it outside.  It was empty.

Since the catcher arrived home, he continued his method of setting two traps every night.  But now, every morning the peanut butter was gone and the traps were tripped and empty.  That’s where the laughing started.  He came upstairs saying, “We’ve got one or two really smart mice down there."  He described to me his  advanced, continually refined, method of mouse catching.  We labeled the usual effort Procedure #1.

Procedure #2 
He began by putting sunflower bird seeds in front of the traps.  Then - aha! - he could tell if a mouse had been there.  They are very messy with the seeds, crack them open, eat the inside, leave the shells. Caught a lot of mice in pairs, then for two nights he, she, or they ate the seeds, got in the traps, ate all of the peanut butter and then left the scene.  

Procedure #3 
No seeds.  Nothing but peanut butter for our visitors.  They ate the peanut butter and left. 

We opined about the mice, whether one or two, male or female, both . . .?   Boy I wish I knew how to set up a camera.  We thought maybe two of them were working together, you know, one held the trap door open for the other one to eat the peanut butter, and then the other one returned the favor with the other trap.  I don't know if mice are that congenial.

Wayne wanted to do the good cop/bad cop thing that Amy and Marykay had perfected.  They had earned a great deal of success and admiration for their technique, but I don’t know how that would have worked with mice because they don't understand people talk.  So I reminded him that the process only worked with two women and also that Saturday was Gay Pride Day.  So we decided they are smart mice who hitched a ride to Athens after the parade.  No doubt Marykay or Charles gave them our address.

Now we know for sure, we have two lesbian mice in our basement and we’ll never get them out of there.  You know about their high IQs don’t you?   Lesbians have very high IQs, so high, there’s no point in arguing about which one is smartest.  Couple of standard deviations above the mean and differences don’t mean much.  

Wayne is thinking.  I’m not sure he’s smarter than the mice, but he’s older and has more insurance. 

Procedure #4 
Wayne is off to Lowes for a couple of the old-fashioned mouse traps that go WHAP when the mouse goes for the cheese.   To be continued . . . . . . .


  1. Once I sprinkled some Warfaren pills around the mouse trails. WELL the pills showed up in a neat little pile on my wife's pillow. I took the hiint.

    1. I looked up Warfaren, and found it was once used to kill rodents. Did you mean your wife didn't want you to kill them? I've become more sentimrntal or more environmentally concious. I don't think we should be the next link in their food chain, but we've got that all screwed up anyway.

      We lived next to a large corn field in Illinois. I think they came in to get warm, but we had traps set all winter. I lost count. They are funny little creatures and I liked it when Jerry won -- which was always. And yet I'm a cat person.

  2. Mice---Ugh! I've tried traps and those devices that are supposed to make sounds we can't hear but that scare mice away. Our mice didn't mind those noises at all. Finally what worked was putting metal cloth into the spaces they were sneaking through. No more mice for quite a while now. (Knock on wood.)


    1. That'll teach you to move away from us. We miss you, you know.

      Did you read Blogging and Grieving, fourth and fifth paragraphs down?

  3. I used to find already dead baby mice in the basement (when I lived in Wisconsin). Perhaps they died of starvation? I don't know. But I always knew when to venture down those creaky stairs to look for their stiff little bodies because the smell that eventually reached upstairs was unmistakable. I wouldn't go near a live mouse either.
    Chris, your writing is delightful! Keep it up, my friend.

    1. Thank you Other Chris. Are you still traveling? I think you ought to stay curled up by a fire reading all those books you don't have to edit, or does that edit pen just come out uninvited? Time for an email exchange, so I know what you've been up to.


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