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).

THE DRYER WAS DEAD.

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.

 

 

TSBWG Exclusive Guide to Getting Ready for the Holidays

Some Christmas trees will just stand there and stare at you if you don’t decorate them in a timely manner. This is kind of creepy.

I lied to all of my readers.  I said we always decorate the day after Thanksgiving.  As it turned out, we got busy doing other things and did not get around to it.  However, Saturday morning rolled around and it was obviously time to prepare for another holiday.  Time to decorate!  Princess Christmas made sure that Evil Genius was aware that it was time to set up the tree.  She marched upstairs, went into the bedroom where he had just awakened (because we are very nice to him and let him sleep sometimes) and informed him that he needed to “Go downstairs and get the Christmas!”

In our house there is a certain way that you need to prepare for the upcoming holiday.  It’s very important to follow the steps.  I thought I’d publish this very important guide to getting ready.  You know, just in case you need some guidance.  As you read this, just imagine you’re hearing a little four year old voice saying “Let the Christmas Tree decorating COMMENCE!” (She really did say that…)

 

 

 

1)  Getting Started:  Say the words “Christmas”.  That’s all you have to do.  When you have little kids and you say the word, it causes planets to align and sets everything in to motion.

 

Christmas!

2)  Decide where the tree is going to go this year.  If your house is like ours this changes from year to year.  Make sure that you choose the most inconvenient location in the house.  This year Evil Genius chose to put it in the living room.  This is fine, but we had to move a half dozen pieces of furniture that we don’t have any place for.  That’s ok, do we really need to get out our front door or go into the adjoining room?  Nah.

3) Bring the tree and decorations up out of the basement, or wherever you store them.  Try not to kill yourself doing so.  If you’re one of those people who isn’t deathly allergic to pine like I am (my eyes swell shut and everything) then go chop down a tree.  THEN try not to kill yourself bringing decorations out.

4) Inspect containers for stowaways.  Last year I went down to the basement to get the wreath hanger.  I opened up one of the Christmas containers, and a little mouse peeked out through the Christmas lights at me, as if to say “HEY I’m SLEEPING in here!”  I made my husband go through the container looking for mousies after the fact.  He didn’t find any, but he did throw something small and mouse sized at me and made me FREAK OUT!

It was not this cute.

5)  Restrain the four year old.  Duct tape works well.  If you don’t, every decoration that you own will be taken out and inspected, and then left on the floor.

6)  Put up the tree.  Realize you put it together wrong.  Undo.  Redo correctly.

7)  Put the lights on the tree.  See how many bulbs are burnt out.  Take the lights back off.  Replace with lights that work.  Our lights would not light up on one side.  The Grinch would have had a perfectly good reason to steal our tree.

He could have so taken our tree. Then we fixed it.

8)  Decorate.  We start with “the big necklace” (which normal people refer to as the garland).  Then add the ornaments.  Half will be dropped.  Some will be broken.  There will be yelling.  This year at one point Princess Christmas tried to hang just hooks on the tree.  No ornaments on them.  Because they were there, of course.

This one turned out pretty sweet. The picture, I mean. She’s pretty sweet too sometimes.

9)  Take pictures of the decorating.  Because you can.  I took 57 pictures and had not one shot that I would consider Christmas card material.  Yet.  My children will be forced to pose for at least 28 more times before I let them off the hook.  I AM GOING TO GET GOOD CHRISTMAS CARD PICTURES THIS YEAR IF IT KILLS ME!  I can’t order a card with different shots on it from Target this year.  I can’t afford it.  I must make them myself.

10)  Booby trap the area.  Do this so that no one can actually approach the tree and contaminate it.  Use ornaments, hooks, and decorations.

11) Rearrange The kids do this to the ornaments about every 36 minutes or so.

12) Turn off the overhead lights.   Stand back and admire your tree.  Remember what the room looked like in the light, because for the next month you will not be allowed to turn on any lights in there except for the ones on the tree.  Your children may or may not have vision problems as a direct result of sitting in front of the tree and staring at it.

Ooooooooooooooooooo….

13)  Now, go decorate the rest of the house.  Like that matters!  The tree is up, my kids care about nothing else except that and the stockings!  Spend the rest of the weekend on Pinterest, trying to find ideas to accomplish this feat.  I’m trying to find ideas to make a wreath.  I’m thinking shiny and noisy-jingle bells and Christmas balls.  Stay tuned.