Monday, May 25, 2009

Of Mice and Man and Woman

We moved into the house we are living in now, 20 years ago. Our oldest daughter was 7 when we moved in and we wanted to buy a house in the country.

It was our dream home though a bit of a fixer upper!

Actually, it was a little more than a fixer upper, it was more like termites holding hands! So we gutted it and rebuilt it.

Then after the construction it was our dream home.

The first incident seemed insignificant at the time, nothing but a small glitch. It could happen to anyone in the country. We found a mouse in the shower. He was using my wife's shampoo and all of the hot water.

OK so I am stretching a truth a little. He was but one mouse and according to our daughter we had to give him a name. We did not name him Mickey or Stuart, but rather Emile the Mouse. We did explain to our daughter that we would let Emile live though he would have to take up residence outside in the barn. After a few tears were shed, we managed to catch Emile in a garbage can and released him in the barn.

Our daughter set some granola bars outside for Emile should he become hungry and we all went about our lives.

A year had passed since we had found Emile in the shower before the second incident occurred. This time it was somewhat more significant!

It was a Sunday morning and I awoke first at my usual 5 am and went into the kitchen to make the coffee. After making the coffee I was going to take out the trash, and I heard some noise coming from the trash can. I looked inside, and there in the trash were 7 or 8 mice.

Apparently Emile had been rather busy over the past year!

I shut the trash bag as fast as the draw string would let me and headed for the door, bag in hand . As soon as I plopped the bag into the trash I went into the bedroom to tell my wife we had a bit of a problem.

It was decided that we would get a humane trap and release the mice into the wild for the benefit of our daughter who was happily naming every mouse that we caught. Before long we were catching 3 or 4 mice a night.

The night before my wife and I were going to leave for a horse show, we sent out daughter to stay with her grandmother. She was really not into the horse show scene and grandma had offered to take her for the weekend. We finally got into bed around midnight after getting the trailer loaded, we shut off the light closed our eyes for a few minutes and heard a rustling noise in the bathroom. We turned on the bathroom light and in the bottom of the tub was one of those squeaking little bastards trying to jump out. We sprang into action and grabbed the trash can from the kitchen and turned it upside down on the mouse. We could hear the little bastard jumping up and hitting the side of the trash can. It was decided that we would get a piece of cardboard, slide it under the upside down trash can, flip it over and take the mouse outside. It worked......... but not so well!

As soon as we flipped the can over the mouse stopped making noise all together. Bright boy, that's me, decided to move the cardboard back a little to if the mouse was dead. He wasn't!

The little bastard jumped put of the can ran down the hall and into our daughters bedroom, with my naked wife hot on his little heals!

Before I could catch up to the scene, there was a blood curdling scream that came from the kid's bedroom. The mouse doubled back and ran over my wife's foot............

By the time I caught up to her she was already hopping up and down on one foot and I was laughing so hard I almost peed on the floor. After that scream, I thought for sure one of the neighbors was going to call the police and report a murder.

Needless to say, it was at this time we realized we needed rodent intervention!

We had a problem!

The mice would run from one room to another and showed no fear of us or the dogs. One night a mouse ran right over one of the dogs and the damn dog just kept on snoring and twitching. Probably dreaming of running away from the mice.

I happened to see our neighbor a few days later, yes you know the one. He said we needed to get a cat. I am the first to admit that I am not a cat a lover in any way shape or form. But, he was right we needed to get a cat. The house was beginning to smell like a hamster cage and they were getting into everything. The carpet was ruined and we were going to have to replace that as well as patch the holes in the walls where the mice had come into the house.

A friend of ours was moving and was willing to give is her cat, supposedly a good mouser and not afraid of the dogs. Perfect!

The cats name was Betty, a lovely tabby that would take up residence and the very scent of her would scare the mice out of our house. I felt it only fair that we warned the mice that Betty would soon be arriving and they best get out while they can. After all, they had been living with us for a year or more at the time. It got to the point that we would here mouse races in the duct work overhead. I have to admit it was rather comical hearing them run from one end of the house to the other in the duct work!

I placed yellow sticky notes throughout the house at what I thought would be eye level for the mice warning them to 'Beware, Betty the cat would soon be arriving'.

Betty the cat arrived on a the Monday of Memorial day weekend and soon went to work. The first night she caught 2 mice, the second night she caught 3 more. Things were looking up.

Out daughter was in love with Betty and would let her sleep on her pillow next to her. As soon as she would come home from school Betty would greet her at the door and never leave her side. (By now Emile was only a distant memory)

Betty had been with us for about a month!

I went to work in the morning and only had to work for a few hours that day, and my wife was at her job and our daughter was at school. I came home at about 11 am and noticed a strange odor in the house. I followed the foul odor and found that it was emanating from our bedroom.

I went into the bedroom and there on the floor in front of the dresser was Betty the cat, lying dead and stiff as a board. The TV was knocked off of the stand and laying on the floor next to Betty, it too was dead. The pillows had been knocked off of the bed and the clock radio was on the floor next to the night stand along with the lamp and a book that I was reading.

The dogs were not in the house so I know they had nothing to do with poor Betty's demise. It had to be the mice, they must have staged the Great Rodent uprising and poor Betty was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I had heard the mice squeaking about the uprising, but only figured that these were the Rants of Rebellious Rodents and we were safe. But after seeing poor Betty lying on the floor, I realize now that I was tragically wrong. Poor Poor Betty!

I was wondering how I was going to tell our daughter and how I was going to get the odor out of the house when the phone rang.

"Hi Baby" my wife said.


"Whats wrong?" she asked.

"The TV in the bedroom is dead"

"What is wrong with it?"

"The cat broke it, along with the clock radio and my reading lamp"

"Where is the cat?"


There was a pause....

"What?" my wife asked.

"The cat is dead and our bedroom smells like old dead feline"

"She is in the bedroom?"

" Yes, that is why the bedroom stinks"

"Your an asshole" she said."What happened?"

When I first answered the phone, it was 'Hey Baby!', now a it's 'Your an asshole'. Apparently I was demoted!

" I do not know and I sure as hell can't ask the cat. But she is on the floor in front of the dresser and the TV is on the floor next to her!" I said. " I suppose I need to make funeral arrangements for the TV and the cat".

" Do what you need to and we will tell Sara we buried the cat out back"

" Do you still want to replace the carpet in the bedroom?"I asked.


"Yes, what are you going to do?"

" Well the only way to get the smell out of the carpet is to pour some diluted bleach on it".

" Go ahead."

" I have to go take care of this, I will talk to you later."

We hung up the phone and I went about the task at hand. First I needed a coffin for the cat. All I could find was a large empty dog food bag, and placed her inside. I know, you don't need to say a thing, though there is some irony there!

I took the TV from the bedroom and put it in the garage. I buried the cat outback, went into the bedroom with the bottle of bleach and a spray bottle with some water in it. I started to put the bleach in the spray bottle and a decided to pour straight bleach on to the area where Betty had expired.

The smell of the straight bleach burned my eyes and I could not see for a little while, but the smell of dead cat was gone. Of course, I couldn't breath!

By the time my wife got home, all you could smell was the bleach, and the only trace that the cat was ever there was the bleached outline in the carpet where the cat was. Reminded us both of the chalk outlines at a murder scene.

Eventually, when we found out my wife was pregnant again, we decided we had to call and exterminator to get rid of the mice. And we did replace the carpet a couple of times over the years, finally settling on wood flooring as it is so much easier to take care of.

We have not seen a mouse in years and for that we are grateful. However, when the night is still and the moon is full, we can still hear the sounds of the mice running through the duct work!

We never did replace poor Betty!


  1. I feel for your wife there Bob! I can't stand mice. I once hit my best friend in the face with a corn broom in the middle of the night at summer camp because there were mice in the cabins.

    I don't care how cute they can be when they carry diseases.

  2. toadstool bob you are funny.