Mouse Wars: Who Pooped In My Pantry?

lightsaber mouseSeven years ago, we moved from a trailer that was just a few years old to a house that had over a hundred years under its belt.  We had no idea what we were in for-we did not know that we were trading frozen pipes every winter for other problems of a completely different nature.

It started not too long after we moved in with evidence that we might have a couple of mice running around.  This was confirmed by my mother one night as she was watching the children for us. Not that this should have been surprising to either of us.  An old house in front of a cornfield is prime real estate for field mice, especially as the weather gets cold.

The first clue for me that maybe we needed to do something was when a mouse tried to steal a piece of cheese off the end table in the living room.  It wasn’t like it was the middle of the night and I had simply forgotten to put the cheese away.  I was sitting RIGHT THERE (brave little rodent!) The second and last straw was when I reached into a drawer to pull out a dish towel and instead grabbed a mouse.  The resulting jumping, shrieking, and slamming the drawer shut is something that my husband still makes fun of to this day.

Since then we’ve spent a lot of time plugging up holes and making it at least more difficult for the little buggers to get into our house.  Our cat was an expert mouser, for as big as he was and as much as he liked to sleep, he kept those that did get in check.  But last year our beloved mouser died suddently.  We now just have the cat who believes that catching mice is totally beneath her.  How dare we trouble her with those filthy furry things!  Our dog tries to catch mice, and occasionally is even successful!

We've set traps but they haven't really worked as well as we'd like. Maybe this is why...

We’ve set traps but they haven’t really worked as well as we’d like. Maybe this is why…

We honestly hadn’t seen a whole lot of evidence of the mouse population this past year. Then it all started up again this spring.

Our dryer began having problems a few weeks ago.  The display wasn’t real bright.  Then the display quit “displaying” altogether.  I did everything you’re supposed to do, checked the plug-in, cleaned the lint trap, and begged and pleaded for it not to die.  It was only 16 months old, barely a toddler in the appliance world.

When we returned from a trip home to visit parents, I dutifully got right to work doing laundry so that I wouldn’t be behind the next week.  When the washer was done, I immediately put it into the dryer (which is shocking).


Several panic attacks and online searches later, I was charged with the task of calling LG about the problem.  After being cut off twice, I talked to a very nice young man who was very helpful.  But it was obvious that the dryer was dead. He gave me the number of the local LG repairman.  I laughed when the repairman answered the phone and identified himself, because it was the same person who had come out and declared our last two appliances dead.

The owner, a grumpy old man, and his very enthusiastic grandson came out to check out the dead dryer.  They spent a lot of time arguing about the best way to do things.  I was sitting two rooms away, chuckling because it was almost cute.

Not too long after the arguing subsided a bit the grandson came bringing me the control panel from the dryer.  He gleefully showed me the problem: Mice had eaten through the wires!  That made perfect sense with how the whole thing started to go and then stopped working. Thankfully, all they had to do is sauder the wires back together and be done with it.  Boom!  It was fixed.  They had definitely earned their money by the time they had left.  I was poorer but happy to have a method of drying clothing that did not result in towels taking off a layer of my skin every time I used them.

This made the whole scene from a month or so ago make more sense.  A mouse was running around the living room.  It ran up to both pets who DID NOTHING but stare back at it.  There was obviously something wrong with the mouse.  It was almost acting like it was drunk.  Now we know, we think it got a shock from chewing on all those wires!  I guess if I had been wise to this fact I would have looked for his little hairs standing straight up on his head.

Needless to say, we went right out and bought a lot of mousetraps…

Not gonna happen.

Not gonna happen.

Earlier in my blogging career I shared another story of me vs the mice, the whole reason why I won’t eat chocolate sprinkles.  The answer to this mystery can be found by clicking here.



Where Appliances Die, or Are At Least Seriously Injured

Our appliances don’t suffer such odd fates, They just kick the bucket or have lots of broken parts.

Welcome to our house, where large and small appliances go to die.  Or at least are seriously injured.  Maybe it’s not just after me?

Today we added the garbage disposal to the list.  It hums, but not any tunes, which would be really cool.  It doesn’t do anything else.  Time of death was 5:13 pm.  It went much like our other appliances did.  It worked fine yesterday, and then it was gone.  I guess you can live without a garbage disposal.  Or at least I’m going to have to learn to live without one.

This is the third death in that part of the kitchen in recent memory.  And that’s not counting the dead mouse I stepped on in the basement doorway (I’m still trying to figure out which pet was the mighty hunter).  One night recently Evil Genius and I were watching TV.  About 10:30 we heard a popping sound followed by the sound of water leaking.  At first we were stumped.  Where the hell did that come from?  The last time we heard that sound was when the 60 gallon hex aquarium in our trailer sprung a leak.  THAT was fun (not to mention a BIG mess!)  This time it wasn’t the aquarium.  After a little hunting, we figured it out it was coming from under the sink.  An old under the sink water filter that someone had installed before we moved in had ruptured.  Water, water everywhere!  We never even used the thing, mainly because we never could figure out how it actually worked.  Thank goodness my husband is pretty handy-he was able to figure out how to disconnect the dang thing.  I tossed it in the trash, it’s not like we were using it or anything.  It took a good couple of days to dry out everything under the sink.

No plumbers of any species were called in to rectify the situation. We figured it out all on our very own.

Then there is our dishwasher-it has been dormant for over a year.  I’m really hoping it’s just in its pupae phase.  Anytime now it’s going to turn into something better-like a new car.  Much like the garbage disposal it also quit suddenly.  It started making horrible noises and then that was that.  So far we have found no repair person who will work on it reasonably, nor can we replace it.  So it sits, dormant.  We still have a dishwasher-Me.  I hate doing dishes-but if you read my blog regularly this is not new information.

Our woes have not been confined to the dish region of our house.  Our refrigerator has multiple issues.  We bought what we thought was a nice stainless steel side by side refrigerator when the one that came with the house bit the dust quite suddenly (one day it was working, and then suddenly it was gone).  It was on clearance because it had one little dent in the side.  I love the fact that they will take a couple of hundred dollars off of something just because it has a cosmetic imperfection.  It makes you wonder how much more they could really take off of it.  It now has many scratches on it, thanks to kids playing with magnets and a husband who brought an industrial strength magnet home from work and scraped it across the front (that made me sooooo happy).  The bottom shelf on the door is broken on the right side, so it kind of hangs there.  However I’ve found that if you put stuff on the left side it kind of stays in there (hey I need the storage space!)  It usually holds my big honkin’ bottle of wine I buy and that’s about it.  The fruit and vegetable drawers aren’t really drawers so much anymore, due to the supports breaking on each side.  They are more like baskets stuck on top of each other.  The vegetable drawer has a big hole in the front.  This doesn’t help at all with keeping vegetables fresh, but it is convenient when asking a four year old to get something out of one of the drawers “It’s the drawer with the big hole in the front.”  “Get in the vegetable hole and pull me out the carrots, please.” We haven’t fixed these things because I researched prices and they were RIDICULOUS!  Over $30 for a little shelf.  Almost $70 for one drawer.  Eventually if we get caught up on everything else perhaps.  For now we’ll just deal with it.

There are days when I wish Zuul was in my refrigerator. Maybe things would get fixed in there.

Oh and there is one thing that actually has been fixed on it-the water dispenser lever.  I broke it with my brute strength trying to get, well, water out of it.  Snapped it right in half.  It was fixed, but we can’t actually use it for water, because we need to retap the line.  We have ice, just no water.  I pour water from the tap into a red ice tea dispenser type container, which we put in our fridge so we always have cold water.  Yup, it’s a red redneck water dispenser.  How cool are we?

You’d think we’re hard on stuff or something.  Perhaps… At the same time we had our water dispenser thingie fixed we also had the door handle to our stove fixed.  Not only do I have superstrength, so does my husband.  He broke the handle off on the stove by *gasp* pulling on it.  We have also replaced our washer and dryer this past year.  The washer wouldn’t wash.  The dryer wouldn’t dry.  It was truly a clothes cleaning conspiracy.  At the time we were in a position to actually replace the darn things.  Thank goodness-I can’t quite picture myself using a washtub and one of those washboards.

Maybe I otter start me a band…

So we’re currently trying to figure out what is going to happen next.  Is the stove going to blow up? Probably, considering it’s the only appliance we haven’t replaced yet.  It was the only one that traveled with us to this new house.  And so far, so good.  Maybe if I go sit in front of it and try to reason with it then I can expect a few more years out of it.