Monday, May 20, 2013

Too Much Nature

Fortunately and unfortunately, our lives are not all great food and fun travel. Sometimes normal nuisances are the most exciting part of our week. Last week we got to experience nature in a way that was a little too close to home, literally.

(I always think if the show Monk when I talk about "nature" in a negative way. We like Monk.)

First, for some context, we live in a basement apartment. So we definitely get more bugs than in our former, 3rd story apartment, but at least we can stomp around as much as we want without our downstairs neighbors complaining. So the first thing that happened last week was that one morning as Jason was opening the blinds he saw a baby bird in our window well staring back at him, chirping away. We figured it would fly out, but it was still there by the time we were ready to leave for work, and I started dreaming up scenarios of how it probably couldn't fly, and it would starve if we didn't do something about it, and maybe we should have a pet bird. Jason opened the bedroom window to try to pop it out the top of the window well when we realized that (1) dang, the little guy sure could hop fast and (2) there were actually two birds in there. It is kind of an awkward motion you have to make with your arms to simultaneously grab a jumping bird while trying to keep it from jumping into the house via the open window.

Long story short (or shortened since I have already dragged it out quite a bit), our initial attempts, though entertaining, were unsuccessful in the short amount of time we had. I was a little worried about leaving them. I mean, they were kind of cute, so i didn't want them to die, and let's be honest, I especially didn't want them to die so close to our house and make things smelly and dirty. They were still there when we got home from work so Jason opened the grate covering the top of the window well and scooped up the birds while the adult birds screeched at him rather violently. Baby birds rescued! (Ok, that was still a long story.)

Our second encounter with nature occurred the next day when I was home alone for a few hours. I was sitting on our couch when out of the corner of my eye I saw a mouse dart across the floor and run BEHIND THE VERY COUCH I WAS SITTING ON! Obviously I did what anyone stereotypical woman does: jumped onto the coffee table, called my husband, and then called my mom.

I kind of surprised myself with how afraid of this mouse I was. I've had them in our houses before, but I think this time was more unsettling since I couldn't exactly close the basement door and retreat to another level of the house. I even started to give myself a headache worrying about this mouse so much.

Jason said if I got traps from the hardware store he'd set them when he got home so I immediately went to our local Ace. I got the regular snap mouse traps and disposable latex gloves so we wouldn't actually have to touch the mouse once it was caught. The salesperson and a nearby shopper said in their experience the mice were too clever for the snap traps and resorting to the glue traps was the only thing that had worked for them. I did buy some just in case, and spent the rest of the afternoon in various stages of horror since googling "humane ways to dispose of mouse in sticky trap" was much more traumatizing than helpful.

Once I got home I saw the mouse scurry behind our TV stand and screamed to myself about it. I tried to think positively like how it was probably afraid of me too, and it is probably friendly like the mouse in ratatouille (well I guess he's a rat), and how it kind of looked like our neighbor's pet gerbil, all the while trying to keep an eye on it in the corner behind the TV stand. It's actually a delicate balance to try to get close enough to see it while staying as far away as possible. I decided I could not wait for Jason any longer and needed to take matters into my own hands. While wearing work gloves (because I was afraid of the traps snapping on my finger, obviously), I used peanut butter to set the traps. (Apparently cheese isn't actually as much of a mouse thing as cartoons make it out to be.) The mouse was still behind the TV stand so it made sense to me to put the trap as close to that as I could. However, I was really afraid if I got too close it would be startled into attacking me. I resolved this dilemma by using a pole to slide the mousetrap across the floor towards the TV stand. Somehow the mouse did not immediately jump into the trap as I was expecting, so the remainder of the afternoon I avoided any potential mouse attacks by standing on my kitchen step stool to do dishes and sitting on the kitchen counter.

Jason finally came home and witnessed the perpetrator zipping into the utility closet, so he thought that putting the mousetrap in there would be more effective. His idea was a good one, because when we got home that night, it had been caught. Jason emptied the trap and that was that.

So, it's not like I wanted the mouse to die out of hatred for them, but since there didn't seem to be any other options once this one knew how to get in our house (we suspect through a connecting walls we can't access) just bringing him back outside wouldn't solve the problem. I think for the rest of the night I interrupted our conversation every few minutes to express how relieved I was especially that we didn't have to resort to the glue traps. All the tension I hadn't even realized was in my back and shoulders started to dissipate. So that is the story of the mouse in our house. And with all this rhyming I'm thinking I could change the ending and make it into a children's story.

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