Saturday, November 6, 2010

Skittering ...

We either have mice or ghosts, I realized when the invisible skittering in the bedroom woke me up at about 5:12 a.m. Friday. You would have to be a pretty big asshole to not know that I'd prefer the latter like nine hundred fold. I've been super conscious of every noise in this house since Rodent Security floated off to the great big bag of Iams' Weight Control in the sky.

I had a false alarm less than a week ago when I woke up to a similar noise coming from the foot of the bed. This constant rustling. I tuned into my CSI-whatever and realized that a Benetton receipt was being pushed across the floor by the force of air from a vent. That got a pretty hearty internal laugh.Silly rodent-phobe, I thought. This is what you get for buying an argyle sweater.

Just because it wasn't a mouse that time didn't mean it wouldn't be a mouse in the future.This place is almost 100 years old. There must be at least one dime-sized hole with a blinking cartoon-ish Vacancy sign somewhere on the premises.

I do not like small things that wiggle.I'm not going to hold a frog/worm/gerbil. And I don't want to see a mess of them squiggling around either. Mini punctuation-shaped beings in motion. Peach fuzzed bodies. Pink eyes. Tails.

I texted Chuck about the skittering, and I believe he spent his work break investigating mouse karate. Horror stories about mouse nests and dryer fires and elimination tactics. He's had mice before. They licked his peanut butter jar clean a few years ago, so he used something he generically referred to at the time as "Rat Poison." Then one time we woke to find a mess of them had gone loco-diabetes on Candy Corn we'd left in a bowl on the table.Still more Rat Poison.

Despite my lentil lean and unwillingness to do things like, oh say, ram my hand into a chicken cavity, take the skin off salmon, or readjust a slab of pork tenderloin once I've squirted it out of a bag, I have no problem with dead animals. I'm not going to chain myself to McDonalds, in less it is in support of, say, Year Round Shamrock Shakes! A dead mouse, in my opinion, is better than a live mouse. Best of all, if it dies having never made eye contact with me. Alone, mummified, little claws making a mini-rawr in sign language.

A cat would fix this. Chuck's allergic to cats, and this non-cat era of our relationship has done tremendous things for his lung capacity and mucous moderation. I don't want another cat. Cats weasel their way into your cold heart, and leave you in a bubbling pool of snot when they spin themselves senile and die in your arms on a crappy old couch in the back room of the vet's office. Plus, I hate thinking of bringing a furry being into this house that would likely still be skulking around the baseboards when we are 50.

"Some 50 year olds have cats, you know," Chuck said.
That's not the point.

Maybe if we could get a cat that understood its role as work horse. If we could just maintain a professional relationship. Debrief when necessary. Shake hands. Walk away. Maybe then.

ADDENDUM: There is a third option. That skittering noise might be coming from a drafting bedroom window and some scratchy blinds.This option came to me at about 5 a.m. this morning, my sleep again broken by that noise. I spent a sleepless hour imagining mice nipping at my toes, and weaseling into crooks of my body for warmth. I played some Cloud Cult to distract me. I turned on the light. I stared at the offending corner. I readjusted the blinds, and didn't hear another peep.

We might still have mice, though.


feisty said...

skittering blinds sounds right.

we used to get mice every fall/early winter in our last house. it was the only time in my life i swept every day in teh kitchen. i always thought: mice will leave your house if they don't find food, right?

chuck said...

Well, I'm not getting into details, but I've confirmed that we have mice, which is a big relief for me, because at least we don't have squirrels. Yet.

Getting rid of food won't get rid of the mice, but making the house less mouse-friendly definitely discourages them from starting up a mouse Baby Boom.

Kate Bee said...

You have my sympathies. As a child of the prairie who grew up in a poorly build rambler, we had mice every year. My dad would trap them and throw them in our wood stove, which was better than when they'd eat poison and die in the spot below the burners of my mother's electric range. (THAT is a smell you'll never ever forget.) Eventually my dad sealed up all of their entrances and they stayed in the garage.