Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Well, Hollywood is at it again, confusing yet another generation of impressionable youngsters.

The Tale of Despereaux is just the latest misleading tale in which rodents are portrayed as empathetic characters with human traits, rather than the vermin that they really are.

I guess you could say I don’t like mice very much.

That's because--unlike those portrayed on the big screen--in my experience mice are not brave, funny, friendly, inquisitive, or intelligent. The ones I’ve encountered are usually just trying to eat my food, chew on my home’s electrical wires and leave their droppings in the kitchen cabinets.

Right now we’re in the midst of a battle with some rats who took up residence in our garage. We’ve never taken on rats before, so we finally had to call in reinforcements. The pest control guy said he had never before seen a rat actually chew through a Rubbermaid container to get to the dog food inside. (When the pest control guy is impressed, you know you are in trouble.) But he did say that they love the taste of plastic. This became evident as we moved things around in my messy garage to find that the rats had taste-tested an assortment of plastic containers.

But a few rats in the garage cannot compare with the drama caused by one troublesome little mouse a little over two years ago. My daughter was just a tiny baby, and we were trying to adjust to life with three children and no sleep. As if they could sense our vulnerability, the mice chose that winter to make their move from the garage into the house.

In the battle of man vs. mouse, the mouse was prevailing. It stole the bait off the traps we set and drove the dogs crazy by scurrying around all night just out of their reach.

Finally, my husband successfully ensnared the mouse in a trap under the kitchen sink. There was just one small problem. The trap had caught its tail. The mouse tried to escape through a hole. However, with its tail still attached to the trap, it didn’t get very far.

So we had a dilemma. The mouse was not coming back through the hole. The trap was not fitting through the hole. If we left it there it would eventually die, but then we would have a dead mouse stuck in the cabinetry and stinking up the kitchen.

My sleep-deprived husband came up with this solution: While the kids and I retreated upstairs, he would cut off the mouse’s tail with a kitchen knife.

Carrying out this mission caused my husband so much trauma that he lost his appetite for quite some time afterward. We can only assume that the mouse was traumatized too, especially when it was caught and killed by our dog the following day.

When I thought about it later, I wondered why my husband didn’t just lift the trap off of the mouse’s tail to let it go free.

I never have asked him. Somehow I've never found the right time to bring it up.

1 comment:

Maureen said...

EWWW, and I've been in the same boat. HATE THEM! I'll have to tell you my story sometime....don't let me forget!