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.

 

 

The Scoop on the Poop: Why I Won’t Eat Chocolate Sprinkles and Other Revelations

This looks like a great blog, for me to poop on!

I’m afraid that people are going to think I am obsessed with poop and toilets.  I’m not, but it is quite a big subject at our house.

It’s getting cooler out.  Therefore I have to start dealing with something I haven’t had to deal with for awhile.  You see, I won’t eat chocolate sprinkles.  And there’s a big reason for that… chocolate sprinkles look remarkably like mouse poop.

Our house is 112 years old. We live in front of a cornfield.  Therefore, when the weather starts to turn cold we have many unwelcome guests.  They are really cute guests, but quite unwelcome.  They get into lots of places we don’t want them and either chew something of value up and eat our food.  They poop.  They poop a lot.

Believe me, we have tried many different things to try to keep the little buggers out of our house.  I’ve shoved steel wool in holes and sealed it up with spray insulation.  I’ve put anything that might be tempting into containers.  My husband swears it’s impossible to keep them out.  I’m of the opinion  that while we probably can’t eradicate them completely, I’d like to make it as hard as possible for them to get in.

Our mouser died this past Easter, so I am a little worried now that it’s starting to get cooler outside.  I haven’t seen any mouse evidence for awhile.  All of our food is pretty much in plastic containers, but even then they try to get into them.  At least the old Tupperware ones.  I couldn’t believe it when I found that a mouse had been trying to eat its way through the tupperware container that we were using to keep our bread in.  I replaced it with a different container, and set a trap back where I found all the “chocolate sprinkles”.  It didn’t take too long to catch the sucker.  Then I spent a day vacuuming all of those sprinkly looking poops out of our pantry shelves.  I’m not really looking forward to that.  As much as I love this weather, it’s making me a little nervous!

Incidentally, I still like rainbow sprinkles.  If our mice start pooping rainbows I’ll really start to worry…

Thank goodness the cat goes in the litter box.

I won’t complain too much, because I know that my parents have their own source of poop frustration at their house.  They have BATS!  I’ll take mice any day over bats, because mice can’t fly over your head and swoop around you.  They poop everywhere too.  But getting rid of bats isn’t quite as easy as getting rid of little field mice, because they don’t just have any bats, they have endangered bats!  They have to catch them and release them.  I’ll stick with my mousies, thank you very much.

This is what would happen if the mice at my house met the bats at my mom’s house.

It’s not just the mice that are the source of my poop predicaments at our house.

Princess Poopypants has had trouble “going” pretty much as long as I can remember.  She will hold it in until she is ready to explode, while pooping just a little bit at a time in her panties.  One of two things happens, she either goes so much she fills up the potty, or it’s so big that it really hurts her.  She has been on medication for quite a while to help her out.   It’s just a powdered stool softener that we put in her juice every morning.  As long as it dissolves, she can’t even taste it.

This is where we run into issues.  We have made sure she knows that this is the stuff that helps her poop easily.  She knows that if she waits too long, and I’m talking close to a week, that it’s not going to end well.  As long as she is taking this stuff regularly, there isn’t a problem.  However, lately she has been fighting us on taking it.  She either refuses and puts it back in the refrigerator, drinks a little of it and pours it out, or pours  the whole thing out.  I realize that since we’ve had to cut some corners we don’t have quite the selection of flavors of juice that we used to.  Target brand seems to have the best price, and since they almost always have a coupon that’s what we get.  She really loves apple juice, so I didn’t really seem to think it was a problem.  But lately she has been wanting some different juices.  And she hasn’t always liked what I’ve bought.  I’ve tried remedying by mixing the other juice with apple juice, but that girl is really smart-she just knows!

It’s actually a stool softener but I doubt Kirk would know the difference anyway.

So when she gets backed up and has to go, we have the shrieking.  Not just crying, SCREAMING!  I’m sure our neighbors think I’m absolutely killing her.   As well as people in public places.  I’m surprised we haven’t been banned from Family Video after one of her screaming incidents.  Earlier this week after one such traumatic potty episode I tried explaining to her that this is why she needs to just drink the darn juice and she wouldn’t have such issues.  I can relate-I have to eat fiber enriched cereal just so I can go.  I regret the days when I decide to have a pop-tart or something less filled with fiber.  I’m hoping that she’ll see the light this next week.  We have enough screaming from her already.

You could say after viewing this particular blog entry that some things in my life really stink sometimes…  I kind of feel like it’s all going in the toilet some days!  I’m sure though that this too shall pass.  Oh my, the puns just won’t stop!

“I’m the Pah-ty Poo-pah”.