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A love letter to mice

I feel like I’m about to go on a Jenny Lawson kick — you know, the popular, off-centered Bloggess who’s written two best sellers lately. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened had me crying with laughter. Her latest, Furiously Happy, had my husband doubting my sanity: I was guffawing loudly and constantly with a series of sounds that came from so deep within me that I had trouble catching my breath. The first book has a
declamatory mouse on its cover, dressed in classical Hamlet garb, holding a tiny skull, and the second book, which I just completed, does a sort of glamorization of a wild-eyed, smiling stuffed raccoon, complete with a shower of golden glitter.

Both eye-catching covers.

And now I am in the midst of my own small creature tableaux-vivant: We became the hosts for a family (or a tribe or a clan — whatever they call themselves) of itty-bitty  “mousies” in our house over the holidays. They came for Christmas dinner and stayed! Though, judging from the piles of teeny-tiny waste they have left behind, they may have been here long before the holidays. How can such little critters produce such impressive amounts of… well… crap? They must nibble constantly, as the small ragged holes on the bottom of our plastic garbage bags give testimony to. Nibble, nibble, nibble, until finally my husband was forced to notice what was going on. I still have trouble seeing where they’ve been, and must put on my glasses to be astonished. In some cases, the encroaching blindness of aging is a blessing.

In any event, we must get rid of them.

And this is tough to contemplate because neither Peter nor I can bear the thought of killing anything. Add to that the fact that we got married at Disney World, and we have a real dilemma. I keep envisioning each mouse in our house wearing tiny pairs of shorts or polka-dot dresses. We’d be killing the sweet descendants of Mickey and Minnie, who stood atop our wedding cake and blessed us with their goofy smiles 12 years ago. I know, I know, these current mice would probably eat any clothing I’d try to put on them, but still.

What to do?

We made an initial foray into the world of small-creature murder two weeks ago, and bought a couple of those enclosed traps where, if the mouse gets in and gets stuck, it’s at least covered by a cardboard sort of death house, so you never have to see it struggle. I actually disposed of
one invader that way, and never had to actually look at my handiwork. But then — emboldened by our efforts — we bought some more traps, with no cover around them (it was the only kind left in stock). Early morning, I woke to take the dog out, and heard some plaintive and terrified squeaking in the corner. Mouse distress, no two ways about it, so I looked. What I saw there ruined my day. And so, no more sticky traps.

I thanked the little creature for sacrificing his life for us (the way Daniel Day Lewis did over a deer he killed in The Last of the Mohicans, only he looked gorgeous doing it, while I looked weepy and forlorn in my ancient nightgown). And I took him mournfully out to the trash, apologizing all the way. My day was filled with philosophical thoughts like, life is nothing but one big sticky trap; we are all caught one way or another, stuff like that. It took me a glass of wine or three to get over the dastardly doings of the morning.

Lately, friends have complained about mice in their houses as well, and the unproductive experiences they’ve had with services like Terminix and others. Money wasted, efforts for nil.
And other friends have talked about how eventually, once they found the entrance points for the mice, and then stopped them with steel wool, the mice went elsewhere. So we may try that. Peter envisions capturing tons of them into a large comfortable dwelling and transporting them to some mythic place in Golden Gate Park where mice live happily in the wild. That sounds good to me. Fun even.

Does anyone else have any other ideas? Ones perhaps that involve nothing gooey or cruel, except maybe cheap crunchy peanut butter?

Life is mean enough.

Don’t you agree?

Meanwhile, I will honor, and in this month of the open heart, even, yes, love our little hungry friends, and thank them for visiting, which makes every day, sort of like a day at Disney World around here.

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