"Not all those who wander are lost" J.R.R. Tolkien

Monday, December 20, 2010

Of Mice and Men

So I went to get something out of the RV the other day.  As I was innocuously gathering the needed items I discovered that we had squatters.  You know the term:  someone unwanted, living in a space not their own and definitely not paying rent.  Unless you call hundreds of mouse droppings "rent."  Silly me, I had left a box of oatmeal and a roll of paper towels under the sink.  Apparently these are two very desirable items to mice since they happily chewed the heck out of both. 

Now our RV has a fully sealed underbottom.  We have no idea how the little suckers moved in but they brought their friends and neighbors.  Of course, the fact that the RV is parked in the middle of the prairie means that there are only about 5 million field mice all around.  Vigilance is now our watchword.  We drove the 30 miles to town and the only mouse trap the feed store had was a large, plastic box containing a sticky, attractively-scented-to-mice pad.  We bought it and put it under the sink.  The next morning I thought Donald and I were going to have to play "Rock, Paper, Scissors" to determine who was going to check it.  As I was already dressed, I bravely made the trip. 

Those of you who know me well know that I like things like gutting fish, skinning rabbits and killing chickens.  Blood is not a big problem for me and neither is the death of God's creatures.  This makes living with three men much easier.  However, I was not prepared for what met me inside the gray box.  Stephen King could not have created such carnage.  We aren't sure if all the blood smeared around the inside of the box was flung from the mouse in his death throes or if he had a partner who tried to a) eat him or b) free him.  It was truly horrible.  We couldn't even see the dead mouse's head.  We think maybe it was twisted backward and broken under him.  We could see jutting teeth from where his head should have been.  His legs were twisted stiffly in the air, a sympton of rigor mortis or the freezing temperature.  Maybe both.  I left the box and went to report to the untraumatized troops back in the warm house.  My story was greeted with gleefully bloodthirsty yells of "Can we see, Mama?  Can we see??"  I let Donald do the honors because I certainly didn't want to look again.

The next morning there was still evidence of the enemy having set up camp in the RV so we went to my parents and begged some regular mousetraps and steel wool with which to plug any opening we could find.  Oddly enough, as I entered the building where my step dad was working he was pulling a mouse out a trap!  After emptying the RV of anything the mice had possibly touched (and spending about an hour washing all the dishes) we baited the traps with peanut butter and oatmeal.  Then we waited.  Just before bedtime I heard a crazy tapping at the window and when I looked out, Donald was standing there in the dark, wildly waving two traps in the air, grinning dementedly.  A dead mouse hung from each one.  He disposed of the mice and rebaited (rebated?!!) the traps.  Within an hour he caught another one.  Having successfully launched the war, we went to bed in hopes of eliminating the enemy.

Two days have passed and I think it safe to say we won the battle.  There is no evidence of reinforcements. The war isn't over but we can't let up our vigilance; we are keeping the traps baited just in case the enemy thinks they are taking back the RV.  So far, so good!

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