Evidently, we have a mouse problem.
Actually, what we really have is a daughter problem. Our daughter, who lives downstairs, screams bloody murder when she sees a mouse, and it’s annoying as hell. It’s not like we’re inundated or anything; she has sounded the "eek" alarm exactly three times, and two of those occurrences involved the same mouse.
You might be wondering how we can possibly be sure it was the same mouse. Simple: it had really big ears and red shorts. Only kidding. We know it was the same mouse because it was handicapped.
Its back legs didn’t work. It would scurry along, dragging its hind legs behind it, like it was some sort of genetically-engineered fish-mouse from a really bad Japanese sci-fi movie. ("Thrills! Chills! A mouse with gills! It’s…Rodentcarp! Starring Raymond Burr!*") The poor thing was so pathetic, I didn’t know whether to kill it or build it a little cart.
In the end, we trapped it under a pot, which was more difficult than you’d think given that the mouse was slithering more than it was running, and released it into the wild after, my daughter will hasten to add, I accidentally made it bleed by catching its legs between the pot and the cardboard I was trying to slide underneath it. Still, when I let it go, it quickly dragged itself under a bush. I couldn’t help admire that mouse for its will to live, not to mention its apparent upper body strength.**
Anyway, it seemed like the only way we were going to solve our daughter problem was to solve our mouse problem. So we called in Kevin, our pest control professional, who set humane traps at strategic locations around the basement. This is opposed to inhumane pest control, which, I imagine, involves a cartoon cat racing around with a large mallet.
Two weeks later, Kevin returned to show us how all the bait had been taken from the traps. He showed us how, back in the 50's when the house was built, they didn’t bother to seal up the holes in the cinder blocks in the basement, and the mice liked to live in there, doing whatever mice do, which mostly consists of peeing and pooping.
"If the bait’s gone, where are all the dead mice?" I asked.
"They died later," Kevin replied.
"You mean there are mouse corpses piling up in our walls?" I asked, horrified.
"No, no," Kevin reassured us. "They left the house to die. Probably."
Well, I think that was damned considerate of them. At least our mice are nice.
*The future Perry Mason was the star of the original Godzilla movie, but only in the American release. His scenes were edited into the Japanese film after the fact. For more on this, or for people without lives, click here.
**If you’d like to send a donation to my newly-created Fund for Crippled Mice, just send a check made out to, um, me. I promise the money will be put to good use, to have that mouse’s legs surgically repaired (if we can find it alive), or, alternatively, to pay to have our vinyl siding replaced. Your donation will most decidedly not be tax deductible.
For more on our adventures as first-time homeowners at age 57, and moving to Stamford, visit http://theupsizers.wordpress.com/