It’s a text message I’m sure you’ve gotten a thousand times:
“So we found a mouse and it bit Parker, but we’ve got it covered.”
This particular message came from my daughter, who was home along with her brother when the bite happened. They had called me, but I was in a meeting and missed the call. They then called my sister, who called my mom, who handled triage remotely.
Why, you may ask, did they not call their mother? Not surprisingly, my wife had the same question. I think my daughter’s answer was fairly reasonable: “Because we knew you’d freak out.”
Alas, I knew this day was coming, based on the conversation I had the other day with my son in which I said, “If you pick up a mouse again, it’s going to bite you. And it’s going to hurt.” As I often tell the kids – I can see the future.
This particular rodent encounter came courtesy of a critter that had taken up residence in our house. We knew there was a mouse in the house the other day when, well, a mouse went darting across the room. Kinda tough to debate that one.
I set some live traps around the house to remove what I was certain was a lone bad actor. My wife said that she heard them elsewhere. I told her a single mouse is very quick and could easily be making noises in different parts of the house at what seemed like the same time. I told her we had a mouse problem, not a mice problem. She gave me that look. She gives me that look a lot.
I know lots of folks like to eradicate a mouse problem with the fatal snap of a trap, but I am of the mindset that they get one chance to get out alive and never come back. This stand is not universally accepted as the correct one in my house, but was our first course of action.
After the first night, one of the traps had a mouse, which you could tell because you could hear its little mouse claws scrambling against the inside of the trap, most likely tapping out in Mourse Code (see what I did there?) vowing that, if set free, it would never return to our home.
My son took the trap and emptied it into a large bin with an ill-fitting top. I told him that was a bad idea, as the mouse would get out. Just let it go outside, I told him. No, he wanted to show mom. I told him that his mother did not want to see the mouse and that it would get out. He would have none of it, as at that moment he was the world’s foremost mouse expert. Fine, I said. But remember I can see the future…
Sure enough, when my wife came downstairs, he went to show her the mouse. Her first question, naturally, was why he would think she would want to see the mouse. Anyone care to guess what part of the predicted future came next?
So released back into the house, the traps were set again. In short order, the sound of claws on metal was ringing through the house. This time, Parker immediately went outside. Lesson learned.
He took the mouse to the back part of the yard and released it. It started scurrying back toward the house, and my son, showing catlike reflexes, grabbed it by the tail with one hand and then behind the head with the other, and then gently escorted it much farther from the house. Actually, I guess if it were actual catlike reflexes, he would have eaten it.
Calling the mouse problem solved, I declared victory. My victory was short lived.
I now acknowledged that Mouse #1 had friends, and they had to go, too. We trapped another one that was let go, after my son demonstrated his mouse catching skills again. It was at that point I advised him he was pushing his luck.
Cue the third catch. And the bite.
I have since acknowledged to my wife that we do, in fact, have a mice problem, and if the final two traps don’t end the problem, I will allow for the “other” solution to our little issue.
I’m hoping that this will take care of itself, as I’d rather not kill them if I don’t have to. Unfortunately, I think I know where this is headed. After all, I can see the future.
Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, you can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.