Of mice and me

I’m not particularly afraid of snakes, am not too squeamish to help process deer, don’t mind getting my hands dirty when it comes to digging in the garden or helping with a vehicle engine and have been thrown up on and worse by sick or small children. But I am totally grossed out by removing a dead mouse from a snap trap.

Something about their little smooshed bodies really bothers me, and I have this irrational fear that the mouse is going to wiggle back to life while I’m trying to get it out of the trap. And then go for my jugular vein or something.

I’m not afraid of mice. I will admit, I don’t like the way they scurry or how they pop out of places unexpectedly. Seeing a mouse doesn’t bother me, but having one run up my arm gives me the heebie-jeebies. I know, because I have had it happen three times in the past 16 years.

So, a few weeks ago I was in a cooking mood, and was about to try a recipe I had gotten from a friend. I went to grab my mixer from underneath the kitchen sink and a mouse scurried through the cupboard, over my hand, up my arm a bit and across the kitchen. I shrieked, toppled over backward and landed on my butt on the floor.

Part of it was the surprise factor. I haven’t seen a mouse in the house for years, but the field behind our house had just been combined, and my husband Eric had just done some plumbing work under the sink which resulted in the hole around the pipe being a bit too large. It’s not a huge surprise to see a field mouse or two in the house after the corn goes out — it has happened before. So a few probably got into the basement and scurried up the pipe and into the cupboard under the sink. Not a huge tragedy.

But they are not, in no uncertain terms, supposed to run around on me.

I immediately called my husband, who was at work, and told him all about it. He had the audacity to not offer me the tiniest bit of sympathy after my harrowing ordeal! So I called my daughter and she was properly commiserating about the experience.

Eric brought home a couple of snap traps and set them up in the cupboard. I had taken my mixer out, and all that was in there was a bunch of old vases. Does anyone else have a collection of vases you have received over the years with various flower offerings? I do, and that is where I leave them.

So I set up the traps, and about an hour later, SNAP! I made Eric empty the trap, which he did giving me a baleful eye and muttering about my shortcomings. Because there is no such thing as mouse, I reset the trap. The next day, Eric told me on the phone he had removed another tiny corpse. Then he reminded me he wouldn’t be home that evening. He had to go to the cities for some work thing.

That evening, I heard something rattling around in all my vases, then came the SNAP! Oh oh. Now I have an issue. I thought about just leaving it there, pretending to be unaware and telling Eric later it must happened when I wasn’t around, but then decided I couldn’t be that much of a wimp. Time to cowboy up, put on my big girl panties and be a brave soldier in the war on mice. And to use a bit of ingenuity.

After doing the icky dance around the kitchen the first few times I tried to pick up the trap, I eventually grabbed it with a set of kitchen tongs and lowered it into a plastic grocery bag. Then I carried it into the garage, used a set of pliers to pick up the base of the trap while it was still in the bag and a needlenose to pull back the snappy part of the trap, then let the dead mouse (that I had carefully avoided looking at too closely) slide back into the bag. What a great use of tools! I was rather proud of myself. I even rebaited the trap and put it back under the sink.

I think we ended up with a grand total of five kills in a three-day period, and the traps haven’t gone off since.

After thinking about it a bit, I decided this is what separates humans from the “less intelligent” animals. Not the ability to use tools, but the fact that we actually care if there is a mouse in our living space.

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