Friday, 1 December 2017

A Better Mousetrap

If you've been reading along the last few weeks, you'll know I fell on Halloween evening and hurt my back. It's feeling much better now and I can even put my socks and sneakers on without wincing. But that one-second slip has caused ripples in the pond of life that continue to spread outward and swamp the small and the innocent.

My car had to go to the garage this week to have snow tires put on and some regular maintenance done. When I picked it up, the service guy went over the items on the bill with me. The last charge was for replacement of the cabin filter, which is the air filter between the outside and the interior of the car. The mechanic had found and removed a nest from the blower motor.  A nest made by a rodent who was, fortunately or unfortunately (depending on who you are), dead when the mechanic found it.

All I could think was "poor little mouse." I wrote a couple of posts about mice in our house, HERE and HERE and even HERE, and the gist of those is that while I am not a mouse-lover (more of a mouse-liker, or a mouse-accepter, or maybe just a mouse-admirer-but-not-in-my-house-person) I hate the thought of causing any animal to suffer, no matter how small. I suspect the mouse set up housekeeping while my car sat unused in our lane during the time I couldn't drive, and I also suspect it died the first time I went for a drive after that hiatus.

In addition to the burden of death that is now on my hands, we paid just under a hundred bucks to have the little corpse and its home removed and a new, clean air filter installed.

And no, I didn't smell a thing.

*****

But now I'm super aware that another mouse could get in, and I spend most of the time I'm driving at night imagining that there is a mouse inside the car and that it is going to run up my pant leg.

The main reason I worry about that particular scenario is because of the story my father told me about his job working at a commercial hen house in the 1950s. As you can imagine, there was a constant rodent problem around the barn which housed thousands of chickens. My understanding is that they couldn't put out poison because the chickens would get at it. So rodent control consisted of a pitchfork and a person. A horrible thought, but it was a fact of life and part of my dad's job. One day as he was dispatching mice, one intrepid fellow ran up one of his pant legs, across, and down the other leg. My dad would always shiver when he told the story, even though he was half-laughing at the same time. (Not about the stabbity part, just the up-across-down part.)

I really, really hope I don't have a close encounter with a mouse in my car while I am driving.

*****

Have a good weekend, people. May you be mouse-free in both house and vehicle. And especially in person.


I hope this is what "my" mouse is doing now, in a different dimension . . .

(Picture: source unknown)





48 comments:

  1. That must be what mouse heaven looks like :)
    I've had a couple of heavy falls this year, one I blogged about, and recently another. Now I'm beginning to slow down and be more careful. Don't want to spoil my record of no broken bones.

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    1. I remember reading about one of your falls, River; you had such bad bruising it made me wince to look at it. But no broken bones is definitely something to be relieved about.

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  2. Awww, poor mouse. But these things happen, don't they? I'd feel bad too, so I get it, but it's not like you intentionally caused it harm!

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    1. True . . . I still feel badly, though!

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  3. Reading the story about your father and the traveling mouse gave me a shiver also. YIKES!

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    1. I know, right? I don't want it happening to me!

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  4. Fingers crossed there is no up across and down in your future while driving. That might have a ripple effect of another sort altogether.

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  5. 🙂 I didn’t realize that mice could get into cars like that. Cats do I know. To scare a cat who may be under the hood, hit the hood with your hand. It scares them out of there. I wonder if it would work for mice.

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    1. Yes, I've heard about hitting the hood to get cats out of there, although I admit I never do it (I keep forgetting). Maybe I'll remember now.

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  6. Many people have a mouse story similar to your Dads. In the west there are many mouse stories from harvest time in the old days when men "hauled bundles" from the field. There was a high mouse population in the fields at tht time.

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    1. I hadn't considered that but now you mention it, I'm sure it was pretty common!

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  7. I quite like mice, too... as long as they're not in my house. As soon as they cross the threshold I get stabbity. And bludgeony. And mouse-trappity. Then I feel guilty as I throw their little corpses out the door to lie there and decompose as a warning to others. (Okay, not guilty enough to stop doing it.) But I do feel kinda bad for the poor little things - they think they've found a nice warm dry Mouse Heaven, and then wham-o! But maybe then they really do go to Mouse Heaven to swing on little teeny mouse-swings.

    And I'm laughing and shivering at your Dad's story - what a horrible sensation that must have been! Brrrr!

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    1. The thing is, no matter how many mice you kill, there will always be more. I figure it doesn't make any sense to kill them if I can just catch and release. That's easier said than done, though. And in the case of the one in my car, I didn't know I'd CAUGHT the dang thing, so releasing it wasn't in the cards.

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  8. I had a friend in New Mexico who was driving down the highway when a mouse ran across the dashboard from the passenger side across and behind the steering wheel, she never saw where the mouse ended up because she was busy trying to not crash as she slid to a stop on side of the road and abandoned the van.

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    1. It's funny in the retelling but I'm sure it wasn't funny at all when it happened to her! This is the kind of thing I worry about - my uncontrolled reaction if a mouse decides to appear when I'm driving.

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  9. I lost sympathy for creatures with inadequate smarts when a herd of baby raccoons chewed through the electrical wires under my car, to enjoy the taste. They were so cute, running around out there. Six hundred dollars to replace the wire cable was not cute.

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    1. I hear you. Mice chewed through the wires in a friend's car and it wasn't cheap to have it fixed.

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  10. I'd hate to have a mouse run up my pant leg, wow! Cute mouse on a swing, I like hamsters.

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    1. Now I'm wondering if that's actually a hamster! I'm not an expert :)

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  11. I'm sure I may have mentioned that I have researched my family history. My Great Grandfather's brother, Henry was working in a field in Oxfordshire with the new combine harvesters or the then equivalent of, when he tried to rescue a mouse from going under the blades. My Great Uncle's right arm was severed from the shoulder!
    This happened the day before he and his family were to emigrate to New Zealand to start a new life. Needless to say they didn't go.
    Instead, the vicar, squire and farmer paid for the purchase of a donkey and cart so that he could become a pedlar. Pedlars in remote villages also delivered and picked up any large parcels to the nearest bigger villages/towns.
    So you could say that a tiny field mouse changed my Great Uncle Henry's life and that of his family.
    His severed arm was buried in the churchyard next to his Grandmother's grave and Henry went on to live to 93 years.
    I'm presuming the mouse survived.

    Joan (Devon)

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    1. Oh, Joan! What a dreadful thing to have happen, all because he was such a soft-hearted man. His life certainly was changed, as you said. That wasn't just a ripple in a pond, it was a tidal wave.

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  12. Briana has been known to let a mouse run up her sleeve and take it to the outside garden department of Home Depot to let them go. I guess that was her idea of mouse heaven.
    Mice are one thing, but rats are quite another. We had rats in the foundry building, and I eventually had to trap one, but before that one there was one that crawled right up into my bed, twice. And to make that even creepier, it was white, and the foundry building is surrounded on all sides by the Bayer Complex.
    Then there's this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNZzVnGzB8c

    -Doug in Oakland

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    1. You know, when you mentioned before about Briana doing that, it occurred to me to wonder HOW she got the mouse out of the store and into the garden department . . . now I'm almost sorry I know! Hopefully I won't dream about that . . .

      So are you thinking that the mouse was from a lab? Could be. Could have been someone's pet, too :)

      I just watched the video ............... gah! but then it redeemed itself :)

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  13. Reading your story about dad's encounter with a mouse reminded of a similar encounter I had with a mouse when my fraternity had a mouse infestation. Just typing it made me shudder. Have a great weekend and hope the mice stay far, far away.

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    1. Oh no, Mr. S!!! It would make me shudder, too! And the same to you :)

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  14. Poor mouse...It was probably just looking for warm shelter...I'm glad it did not come into the car and frighten you!

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    1. Me, too, e :) Although if it HAD shown up in the car, it might have gotten away with its life. I'm sure it did just want a warm place to hole up, as you said. Sniff.

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  15. Aw.Poor little guy. And I'm adding your dad's job as chief stabber to the list of jobs I hope I never have to work at.

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  16. And I'm sure he's on a farm somewhere eating whatever it is mice like to eat most, don't worry. I hope your dad's not there.

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    1. LOL! Thank you for that laugh, Chicken :)

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    2. I'm trying to work up the courage to visit Doug's website.

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    3. It's okay, Chicken - just make sure you watch the whole thing because the ending changes everything :)

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  17. Oh that poor thing. And I totally get you about not wanting to cause suffering to any creature. I go out of my way to save a creature from suffering. We've had to deal with mice in the past. They didn't hang around long because the cats would catch them. It was a silly scenario, really. The cats would chase the mouse. The cats would catch the mouse. The cats would release the mouse so they could catch it again. I'd chase the cats. I'd eventually trap the mouse. The cats would be excited thinking I'd give the mouse to them. I'd release the mouse in the greenspace near our home. The cats would stare in disbelief. The end.

    That story with your dad was hilarious. And chilling. And the job he did was horrifying! Oh my gosh, I could never do such a thing!

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    1. Me neither, Martha.

      I love the line "the cats would stare in disbelief" - I just bet they did :)

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  18. i felt sorry for the little guy and hope after spending so many bucks you won't meet another in your car dear Jenny!

    i am glad that you are feeling fine now and enjoying your normal activities again.
    wishing you more health and peace in life dear friend!

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    1. Thank you so much, baili - and the same to you, my friend!

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  19. Aw ... poor little mouse. I'm like you - I hate to hurt any living creature, and avoid killing unless I absolutely have to (think intestinal parasites, fleas, ticks & sick fish, etc), but I'm more of a "rodents are very sweet but not in my house" sort of person. I've used humane traps to remove them.

    I just had a conversation on a wildlife forum about rats coming to the bird feeders. Some (like me) say "discourage them by any means you can short of harming them", others say "but they are wildlife too, let them be!".

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    1. Welcome, Jay - thanks for reading!

      I have both of those arguments inside my one head!! There's something to be said for both of them :)

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  20. Great, thanks for this, I had no idea mice would get into my car and run up my pants. Mind you I wear skinny jeans so I hope that would put them off a bit.

    To be honest, I obviously don't share the 'feeling sad about killing a mouse" gene, as I'd be quite relieved to find the mouse under my bonnet was dead and not alive.

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    1. I'm hoping for your sake that skinny jeans would foil a mouse . . . although they CAN make themselves awfully small . . . :D

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  21. When we lived in the country in Illinois we had a terrible problem with mice. It reached its climax when my daughter was home from school and she sat down on the couch in the family room on Christmas morning only to discover a mouse was sitting next to her. Mice were literally falling out of the kitchen cabinets, too. We called an exterminator, who plugged up all their entry points and put out those sticky traps. But then the mice caught on the sticky traps in the garage brought the snakes. I understand that you don't want to harm any creatures, but I make an agreement with everything that doesn't belong in the house or in my car. Stay out and don't bother me, and I won't kill you.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. With an infestation of any kind, a person doesn't have the luxury of feeling sorry for the trespassers. I understand. I don't want them in my house or car, either - not even one little one.

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  22. You dad's story makes me shiver too. I am a bit mouse phobic so I surely hope no more mice try to make a home in your car. Also, I am glad your aches from the fall are continuing to heal.

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    1. Thanks, A :)

      And because you are mouse phobic, I really, really hope no mice end up anywhere near you!

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  23. Poor wee thing! I once opened the door housing a fire hose and there was a frog skeleton locked in the box. I imagine I felt then much as you did about the mouse.

    At one point one of our cars had a very large huntsman spider living in it. I was always terrified it would make an appearance at an inappropriate moment. Eventually we managed to evict him.

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    1. OH GAH . . . I don't think I would be able to drive that car at all! Okay, then, thank you for making me feel better about the possibility of a mouse!

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