“There’s a mouse in the house, get it out!”
My late uncle Gerald had that old Richmond/Tidewater accent that is slowly fading away in which “ou” sounds are pronounced more like the Canadians do. I don’t know if he ever actually uttered that phrase, but my dad uses it when story-telling about adventures had in Richmond in the late ’60s, mimicking the accent.
It came to mind recently when we discovered a mouse (at least we hope just one) had sought shelter from the chill of fall in our house. We had a mouse last year when we moved in, but it was quickly caught and no more evidence was found til about a week ago.
First we thought he was hiding in the space below the gas logs and put glue traps out on the hearth, baited with potato chips as that had worked for the first mouse. This guy managed to extricate himself from one trap, leaving furry evidence behind. We left a second trap there, hoping it would still work. Meanwhile, I purchased some holiday candy, including Butterfinger bells, and put it in a decorative bowl on the counter. You hear of using peanut butter to bait traps, well, peanut butter plus chocolate is apparently irresistible to mice.
The next morning, I found two partly unwrapped bells on top of the stove. The gap between the stovetop and the control panel where the oven heat dissipates is where last year’s mouse liked to hide. This guy concurred. He’d also been in the fruit bowl nibbling on an apple. So we baited new traps with unwrapped bells, one on the counter near the stove and one on the floor. The candy, the fruit, and any other tempting morsels were moved well out of reach. That cheeky mouse, however, had stashed some bells elsewhere, and I found a half-unwrapped well-nibbled one on the stove the next morning, traps untouched, almost as if he were taunting us.
But either the allure of the unwrapped bell was too much, or he was unlucky in his travels and landed on the trap on the floor the next night. He was then dispatched and disposed of. End of story, right?
Not so fast. Today, on a much-needed day off from work, I’m attacking the dust bunnies and such that have threatened to start nipping at our heels. In the course of moving the couch to get underneath it, I decide to also flip some cushions and vacuum up the crumbs that gather underneath. It’s a nice L-shaped sofa, we spent a lot on it, so I want to take care of it. Lo and behold as I pull the corner cushion out where I sit most often, what do I find in the corner but nibbled on chunks of Butterfinger bells!! That cheeky mouse had been getting cozy in the sofa, enjoying his pilfered treats! Right behind my comfy spot!!