I may have one tiny problem

All was quiet in the deep dark wood, a mouse saw a nut and . . .

What! A mouse! Jumps on ottoman.

I am not a morning person, so imagine my delight as I noticed a small dark shape run across my kitchen floor only to disappear behind the couch first thing Monday morning. This is not how I like my Adrenalin served. Admittedly it might not have been a mouse. I’d only caught a glimpse of movement in my peripheral vision, but I really wasn’t keen on validating that first impression with another sighting.

No problem is so big or so complicated that it can’t be run away from!
– Charles M. Schulz

Lamont assured me that he would take care of the problem as soon as the boys were safely at school. I went to work and attempted to settle my nerves, however, all I could think of was the witch from Hazel and Gretel. “Nibble, nibble, little mouths. Who is eating my house?” Yes, I would be the witch in this example. And sure, one could argue that she was asking for it when she made a whole house out of gingerbread and candy, but let’s not get side-tracked blaming the victim.

When Lamont arrived home, he brought a highly recommended trap, which he placed near where I thought I saw our little uninvited guest. A day passed. Then another. There has been no sign that the trap has been disturbed in any way.

Gaming Mouse

Image courtesy of Flickr

Now the paranoia is starting to set in. Each thump, bump, creak, or tap of the house settling is making my heart race. What was that?! Oh, just the neighbor kids playing kickball nextdoor. I hadn’t enjoyed my coffee yet that morning. Now I am starting to question myself. It was a Monday. Had I really seen anything at all? Or is the creature simply mocking me?

The whole incident has reminded me of a story I read a few years back about a rodent infestation on a massive scale. An estimated two billion rats were displaced as land was developed. Considering there has been only one unverified sighting in my house and I am freaking out, it is hard for me to imagine how someone could even start managing that kind of issue. I would likely be frozen in some combination of disgust and terror. So what did they do? Go with the knee-jerk reaction? Call in the national guard? Torch the countryside? Poison every potential food / water source? No – someone got creative.

Problems are only opportunities with thorns on them.
– Hugh Miller

The powers that be created a contest for the best recipe featuring, yep, you guessed it, rat. Some of the recipes proved to be quite popular, and soon area restaurants couldn’t pay the locals enough for the rats to keep up with market demand. In addition to eliminating the rat problem, the locals were paid handsomely and stomachs were filled. It was a surprisingly organic and elegant solution for what appeared to be an overwhelming problem.

It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.
– Douglas Adams

However, I have no intention of trying out one of those recipes any time soon. Just because their solution worked for them, doesn’t mean it will work for me. The point is that by thinking creatively and trying something new, they were able to come up with a solution that not only solved their immediate problem, they were able to address two other issues that on the surface were unrelated.

Progress is obtained only by exploiting opportunities, not by solving problems. When you solve problems, all you do is guarantee a return to normalcy.
– Peter F. Drucker

The trap remains baited, but now I am seriously considering caving into Kiddo’s demand and bringing home a terrier, or at least borrowing the neighbors. I hear pets are good for reducing stress. In any event, I am open to any creative solutions (minus recipes).

Mouse catcher

Image courtesy of Flickr

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26 thoughts on “I may have one tiny problem

  1. Urban legend has it that there are more rats in NYC than people (supposedly they did a study that shows there are only 2 million rats there and that means people outnumber rodents 4:1. For now.)

    I’m voting for getting a cat. They’ll take care of your problem and you won’t even know about it (they get rid of the evidence, even without a recipe). Do dogs eat them? I’m a cat person, and don’t have much experience with dogs, except they bark at me when I run. I don’t think I want a dog bringing me dead rats. I had hamsters as a kid, and still remember Nibbles fondly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Unfortunately, my mom is feline-phonic so bringing home a cat would eliminate any chance of free babysitting and so this would be the nuclear option only. Terriers, on the other hand, were specifically bred to eliminate vermin.

      Thank you for providing me with a reason not to move to NYC.

      (post pub edit – I meant phobic, but Karen’s comment made me laugh so I will allow the original comment to remain as written)

      Like

  2. This whole post reminds me so much of a Kay Ryan poem:

    On the Difficulty of Drawing Oneself Up

    One does not stack.
    It would be like
    a mouse on the back
    of a mouse
    on a mouse’s back.
    Courses of mice,
    layers of shivers
    and whiskers,
    a wobbling tower
    mouse-wide,
    with nothing more
    than a mouse inside.

    Like

  3. I always tell my husband if I see a single mouse in our house, we’re moving.
    I’m dyslexic, so I didn’t even notice your mom being cat-phonic until you pointed out your own typo. My mother is also a cat-phobe and that feeling has pretty much percolated down to me. I don’t fear them, but I don’t like them. I probably prefer them to mice, but not much.
    I have 4 dogs, and 1 is a yorkie, and though he’s only 6lbs, he’s a definite ratter. As we don’t have vermin, I buy stuffed rats for him. He has 3 or 4, and he’s always carrying them around in his mouth, making really vicious snarls and kill shots (I’m pretty sure he’s not meaning to be adorable, but that’s how it comes across). It’s still unsettling to have him drop a damp rat on my chest, but this is the best gift he can think to give (plus, he needs to put it down occasionally so he can give me kisses).

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    • My house backs to a natural area, so occasional visits from the local wildlife are expected. The trap, however, is still undisturbed so now I am really questioning my mental state that morning.

      I’m not a cat person either. They are too aloof for my taste. I like pets that appreciate me being part of the family as much as I appreciate them.

      I can picture your Yorkie. Sounds adorable… I mean fierce.

      Like

  4. I’m kind of an expert when it comes to eradicating mice from your house, having suffered through many an infestation back in the day. I can tell you one thing for sure: they cannot resist peanut butter. Bait your traps with that stuff, and you can’t miss. Good luck!

    Like

  5. Very enjoyable post. We have two cats, and have had a mouse in our house only twice in nearly 12 years (we live in a rural community). Oh, and both times, the one who caught them was ME! However, the cats are excellent for catching and eating moths, crickets, grasshoppers, and other insects that get into the house.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow okay! Rat pie…not sitting well with me that one! I had that exact thing once. These critters are so speedy you think you are going mad when you see what appears to be a brown ghost of a shadow whizz by in peripheral vision – especially if you’d never had them before.

    Then one day sitting in the room at around midnight, this little critter (mouse not rat) poked it’s head under the door. Firstly it was quite a relief to know that I wasn’t going mad! Secondly I thought, ‘My! How cute!’ – To be fair much like royalty it is by dint of birth that we seek to eradicate these cuties. Five to ten times larger and it would be a cute puppy. Or if it was born to a breeder it would be a pet mouse. Anyhoo, I (perhaps childishly) thought we might be friends but that speedy whizzing thing had to go along with mousey, as every time it whizzed by it kept making me jump out of my skin.
    I didn’t kill it, just blocked up the holes better and I guess it found somewhere else to whizz! And there-eth endeth my mouse story.

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    • I believe the winning recipe was a type of kabob. Once again – not running out to try it.

      The second night I saw it, I was able to clearly make out paw and ear, so unless my imagination is really upping its level of detail, I am more confident that I am not going mad. Small comfort.

      Unfortunately, I haven’t yet figured out where it is coming in from which I know I will need to address in order to prevent a sequel. The mystery continues.

      Like

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