Posted tagged ‘mice’

“I have a very bad relationship with mice.”

October 6, 2017

When I went out with the dog, the air smelled of wood burning. It was morning in Ghana. All that was missing was the rooster crowing.

The day is again remarkable. The doors and a few windows are open. The sunlight made me squint. I felt like a mole emerging from my underground burrow. It is a day in October wearing the best of a summer’s day.

I slept in this morning, waking up at 10:30. It was close to one when I went to sleep so I was surprised by how long I’d slept. My mother would have said I must have needed it.

Yesterday, Leandro, one half of my cleaning couple, went into two lower cabinets to clean them. I suggested he might want a mask as those cabinets are where the mice used to live. He actually had one with him as well as gloves. He started pulling out everything: the pots and pans, paper goods, Tupperware, baking supplies and dishes. He vacuumed the bottom of the cabinet as he uncovered it. He mentioned my mice must have been diabetic given the number of empty Equal packets he found, each chewed at the top. He checked the expiration date of the food he found: all had expired years ago. I didn’t even remember food was there protected by Tupperware. I was hoping he would find two of my favorite missing kitchen tools: my apple peeler corer and my old double loaf pan, the one I always used for my date nut bread. He didn’t find the pan. I was disappointed and perplexed. I can’t imagine where else I could have put it. Lee found a good size mouse nest made of paper towels, dust and pieces of cardboard. It might have been the home of the three dead mice he found, all mummified. One clogged his vacuumed. That was the only one I saw. I had him throw away some worse for wear pots and pans I never use, didn’t even remember they were there far back in the cabinet. They are as old as the house and were gifts from my aunt when I moved in. I filled the dishwasher twice.

It rained last night just after I’d turned out the lights. The window beside me was open, and I could hear drops hitting the leaves though it took me a minute or two to figure what I was hearing. That was the sound which lulled me to sleep.

This will be a quiet weekend.

“Always be smarter than the people who hire you.”

July 14, 2017

The windows and doors are all closed. The day is dark, damp and chilly. When I took Gracie out earlier and waited until she was done, I got cold. I was thinking sweatshirt weather. It may rain.

The first summer I ever worked was just after high school. With college in the fall, I had no choice but to get a job. I worked at Woolworth’s in Hyannis, a huge store on Main Street. I had no specific job title but moved from the cash register to counter after counter except for the lunch counter. I spent the most time in the corner where the small animals were housed. My job was to clean the hamster and mouse cages, feed the fish and refill the inventory. It sounds like a gross job, but I was by myself and seldom bothered by the manager which made it ideal. I learned to separate the mother and the babies from other hamsters because if the mother got nervous she’d eat her babies. They were ugly babies. Most of them lived but I never took credit for raising the inventory. Once I worked the souvenir counter which was filled with the tackiest souvenirs, most made in China. A guy once came and bought something then tried to scam me with dollar bills. He kept a running commentary of the amount of money between us hoping I’d get distracted or confused so he could trade a few dollars for a 20. It didn’t happen. He took off quickly when I called for the manager. My favorite part of that job was the lunch counter where I ate most days. The hot dogs in the grilled rolls were my favorites.

Every other summer I worked in the Hyannis post office. It was good money in those days. My job was to sort piles of mail into smaller piles of mail for specific destinations. I started working the primary board where all the mail started. I had a rubber thumb to help me sort the mail. The stool was angled toward the board. The slots in the board were open in the back but had some rope across so the mail wouldn’t fall on the floor. Sorters would come and take the mail back to their boards for further sorting. The mail for sorting came in two foot trays. The worst was a tray of postcards. I swear there were thousands of them on a single tray. I did have some fun as any postcard which had a message but wasn’t addressed I’d sent to a friend or a neighbor. Postcards with postage due also got sent. The worst thing about those post cards was when they were cancelled. Because they were so thin, a pile would go through the machine at the same time and only the first postcard would be cancelled. I was a quick sorter so the foreman would bring me the postcards. I told him they’d better be cancelled. Many weren’t so I just tossed them on the floor. They piled around my stool. The foreman would come, say nothing, pick up the postcards and put them through the cancelling machine again. The last summer I worked there, going into my senior year in college, I was offered a full time job. I didn’t take it.

I spent the next summer in Ghana.

“Summer has set in with its usual severity.”

July 2, 2017

Every Sunday, at 10 am, I call my sister in Colorado. Today that call lasted until 12:41. We discussed the family, politics, MSNBC, our gardens and lawns and her grandchildren. She and I are political clones of each other. Actually, all my siblings and I agree politically. I think it has to do with us growing up through the 60’s.

Next door is empty. The car I saw must have been the cleaners getting the place ready for renters. There were workers there for a few days last week putting on shingles and doing some work inside which necessitated the hammers and saws I heard. There was also an exterminator. That made me laugh. I figured my mice have packed their bags and moved next door; however, I did catch another mouse in my trap in the kitchen which makes it  3 mice caught who lived in the cabinet. That sounds like a children’s book title: Three Mice Caught Who lived in the Cabinet. I can envision the book cover with the mice sitting in their living room while mama mouse is in her rocker knitting. I just hope number 3 is the last. Just in case, though, I’ll again bait the trap this week with peanut butter. Number 3 was let go a couple of miles from here. I wished him Bon Voyage.

The humidity surprised me this morning at 7 when Gracie woke me up to take her outside. It had rained during the night as the road was wet, but I don’t think it was all that much rain. Gracie was quick to finish so we both came inside and went back to sleep. I slept another 2 hours. I just took her out again, and it is hot. I’m thinking staying inside with the air conditioner blasting sounds the best way to spend the day. Fresh air is overrated.

“And in this moment, like a swift intake of breath, the rain came.”

May 25, 2017

The weather is back to dark and damp and really chilly, down to the low 50’s. It is raining now and the rain isn’t going anywhere. It will stay rainy and raw through tomorrow and there may even be thunder. I really need a sweatshirt even in the house.

With all this rain, the grass seed on my lawn is sprouting. The green shoots of flowers have appeared in the front garden. Some have even bloomed into purple and white delicate flowers. I don’t know their names. I never do.

Next week I will purchase the herbs and flowers for my various gardens, pots and window boxes. I have a list of some flowers to buy, all perennials. I know which herbs as I buy the same ones each year, herbs I use in cooking. I love being able to go to the herb garden and snip what I need for dinner. Doing that always makes me feel like the consummate cook and gardener.

I just had my first sign of summer despite the cold and the rain. My guy came and turned on the irrigation and the outdoor shower. I figure it will be a long while before I’ll use the shower outside given the cold and especially because the shower area is a spawn of Satan hangout. It has a huge pile of stripped pine cones. They cover the floor and the bench. This is on my factotum’s to-do list.

Critter Control came yesterday. My cellar is inundated with mice, a few of which have made their way to this floor as well as to upstairs. One lives in a kitchen cabinet. The critter guy left food traps where the mice munch, eat their fill, leave the traps and shortly thereafter depart from this world. The cabinet mouse’s poop in the utensil drawer was the straw.

I did errands yesterday then rewarded myself with Chinese food for dinner. I got jumbo shrimp for a dual purpose. I ate some and shared pieces of the cooked batter with Gracie and some of the shrimp with the cat. I sneaked her pills into Gracie’s portion. She didn’t figure it out, and it was an easy way to give Gracie the pills. We’re having leftover Chinese for lunch today and I’ll trick Gracie again.

It was after midnight when I took Gracie out for the last time before bed. Every house was dark except mine. The house across the street had disappeared. Clouds hid the moon and the stars. I could barely see my driveway, but luckily my star and the white lights off the deck and fence still shined and lit the way to the backyard.

It’s time to finish. I’m getting hungry.

“If one mouse is a spark…then ten thousand are a conflagration.”

May 19, 2017

I should be outside singing Oh What a Beautiful Morning. I see the scene somewhat like the opening of The Sound of Music: me singing about the morning as I walk and twirl down the street.

The sun is bright, almost shiny. The sky is breathtakingly blue. There is a strong breeze keeping the morning cool and the heat at bay. The high today will be 78˚, quite warm for May on Cape Cod. The low will be a seasonal 52˚.

When I brought Gracie to the yard, it was 7:15, and the morning was alive with sound. The birds were singing all around me. I heard the lawn mower cutting grass in the backyard next door. The air was sweet with the aroma of that cut grass. The dog across the street was barking. Gracie stopped to listen then continued to the backyard. I could hear her walking on the top layer of dead leaves. She finished then ran to the steps and up onto the deck. She used the dog door to come into the house then waited for her treat. She has new biscuits: a combo of peanut butter and carob. She loves her biscuits.

My house got cleaned yesterday, and my furnace and air conditioning unit were also cleaned. The guy who cleaned my furnace said there was a lot of mice poop. That’s it, the end! I’ve had enough of those wee varmints so I called an exterminator who will come next week. Of all things, the events in Watership Down did pop into my head.

I have an empty dance card for the next few days though I do have one errand today. It will be a quick out and back. I’m in the mood for a lazy day. I think it’s the sun’s fault.

“Progress isn’t made by early risers. It’s made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.”

February 24, 2015

Already the day has been a long one for me. First I had blood drawn for which I had to fast. Having no morning coffee meant I was caught in Dante’s circles of hell. I’m think it was the fifth. Next stop was the library and returning books, but that was pleasant and I got four more books. After that was an hour of PT, and I’m tired. My knee hurts which is weird as I go to PT for my back. My last stop was to prove I am alive. I had to have a form notarized to send to the retirement board. That was my favorite stop. It was my bank where I got the form notarized, and I had a cup of coffee and a donut before I left. My mood changed after the coffee and I am almost pleasant.

The sun is shining. The sky has patches of blue. It feels warm even though it is just 16˚. I am looking forward to tomorrow’s heat wave. It should reach 31˚. I’m thinking my Hawaiian shirt and my clam diggers, which to Mary Tyler Moore were Capri pants, but that sounds far too fancy for my wardrobe. Too bad the deck is still filled with snow. I could lounge.

This winter has given me several days of indolence. I don’t really need an excuse to be lazy, but I’ve use this winter anyway. Most people nod their heads in agreement when I say things like I’m stuck inside as the roads aren’t plowed or there’s no reason to get dressed as I can’t go anywhere anyway. Last week I think I drove 28 miles. A tank of gas lasts seemingly forever.

My animals are older now. The cats are 16 and the dog turned 9 last November which is older than any of my other boxers were. Gracie’s muzzle and the fur around her eyes are totally grey as is some of the fur on her back. She is, however, really active and still feisty and loves to play fetch. The cats nap their lives away, but that’s what cats do. Every now and then they show a spark of kitten and attack string or ribbon. There hasn’t been a dead mouse in a while, but I’m hoping it is because there are no mice except in the cellar where there are always mice but the cats don’t go there.

I had a busy morning. I’m thinking it is almost nap time. You know how it is in winter!

“Grown up, and that is a terribly hard thing to do. It is much easier to skip it and go from one childhood to another.”

June 17, 2014

The streets were wet this morning so it rained during the night. The morning started out as cloudy, but the sun is in and out so I hope it might just end up being a pleasant afternoon.

That was one exciting soccer game last night. The US scored in just the first forty or so seconds but Ghana later tied the score. After the US broke the tie, I sat on the edge of my seat for what seemed like forever, but Ghana didn’t score. The US won 2-1.

I have only caught 4 mice in the cellar trap. The fourth was released last night. He had been in the trap about a day and was totally scared, even in a panic. It took a while before he’d leave the trap. I hope he finds some friends in his new neighborhood. I’ll bait then return the trap to the cellar later. Mice do like peanut butter.

Every time we went to the beach when I was young, I collected shells and a few dead starfish. The shells I got to keep but not the starfish. They always started to stink and out they went. Sometimes I’d find a really neat stone by the water, a flat, round stone with different shades of gray across it, and I’d save that too. Those shells and stones were my first collection.

I’ve noticed that being a kid and being older have a lot in common. I know if I wore plaids and prints or plaids and poker dots people would just think my ensemble was chosen by an old woman who has lost her fashion sense. When I was a kid, we didn’t have any fashion sense. I wore what was in the bureau drawer, and matching wasn’t taken into account. At stores like Woolworth’s or Grant’s, I always took my time choosing what to buy with my dime or quarter. My slowness probably drove the adults crazy, but I never noticed their impatience. I do notice old people in stores and how slowly they walk or push their carriages, and I’m often caught behind them. They stop in the middle of the aisle. I say excuse me so I can pass but most times they don’t move. I figure they didn’t hear me so I ask more loudly. If they don’t move,  I just backtrack and change aisles. I wonder sometimes if I am looking at my future and one day I’ll be in the middle of the aisle. Kids and old people are discourteous at times. I used to think old people felt entitled because they had lasted so long. Kids just do what they can away with doing.

It occurred to me that there is a name for this phenomenon, for this similarity. First there’s childhood then second childhood with all its rights and privileges.

“We pledge to fight ‘blue-sky thinking wherever we find it. Life would be dull if we had to look up at cloudless monotony day after day.”

September 27, 2013

Looking out the window this morning, I knew the day would be chilly. It is definitely bleak. The trees are silhouetted in the darkness of the day, in the grayness of a sky filled with clouds. The lighter limbs at the tops of the trees are blowing in the breeze. The heavy oak tree limbs barely move. The birds are elsewhere, somewhere sheltered. I will follow their example and stay warm and cozy.

I find myself talking to the television. Luckily I don’t hear it talking back to me so my sanity is not in question. Mostly I correct grammar. I have a friend who says it doesn’t make any difference if the grammar is correct or not. I totally disagree. So many people watch TV that using good grammar is essential just so people can hear it spoken. Him and I is very common. That makes me cringe. My friend is a musician, and he objects to music badly played or songs poorly sung on television. I don’t get it: I don’t get why he believes only music need be done well and grammar can be whatever. I guess I never will. I love the sounds of language well-spoken just as he loves the sounds of music well-played.

Gracie gets to come with me today while we do errands. We have three stops to make, and she gets to come inside the last stop, Agway, with me. She loves all the smells and she greets everyone. It’s a big shopping day for us at Agway: canned and dried dog food, dog biscuits, pine cat litter and canned cat food. I’ll need a loan to pay the bill.

I think I’m going to put out my mouse trap. I haven’t seen any indications they’ve returned, but I figure with the cold they might be looking for winter digs. My bedroom will be first because that’s where the bulk of them lived last winter. I just hope this time the trap remains unoccupied.

“Love the animals: God has given them the rudiments of thought and joy untroubled.”

March 14, 2013

Yesterday was a delight. Though it was a bit chilly, the sun shined all day. I left my self-imposed hibernation and went outside to do some yard work and Gracie came with me. When I’d finished, I stood on the deck for a while and watched Gracie try to figure out how to carry a slightly deflated basketball in her mouth. She managed and ran around the yard in triumph. I did a laundry, changed my bed and the cat litter, filled the feeders and went on an errand. It was an industrious day all brought about because of the sun. It was like I had my battery recharged. Today is cloudy.

The mouse trap sat in the cellar for over a week, and I only caught two. It is now on the kitchen floor, and I haven’t caught any. Once there were mice. I cleaned out a kitchen drawer and found cloth and cardboard had been gnawed into small pieces, and the mice had left their familiar droppings. I threw stuff away, put most in the dishwasher and hand-washed other stuff. When I took out the drawer, I found piles of chewed paper and more droppings underneath it. With a vengeance, I scrubbed the drawer and under the drawer, and now that everything is clean, I keep checking both drawers, but there are no more tell-tale signs of current mice in residence. I’ll leave the trap for a few more days, but I’m guessing it was Maddie who rid this floor of rodents.

I never saw wild life when I was a kid. I don’t even remember seeing a skunk. I saw lots of fireflies, grasshoppers, tadpoles, frogs and a few snakes, but that was it. The only wildlife I saw was in the zoo. It never occurred to me I was missing anything. I got to see the cows at the farm and the horse in the pasture not far from my house, and that was enough. Here on the Cape I have seen   coyotes, foxes, deer, possums, raccoons and skunks. The latest are the wild turkeys. They are numerous and don’t mind strolling down the street as if in a parade. I love it when I see any of these animals. It means the Cape still has space for both of us.

“I don’t believe in reincarnation, and I didn’t believe in it when I was a hamster.”

February 4, 2013

About an inch of snow fell last night. With the sun glinting off the ice crystals, the morning is a pretty one, but it’s cold out. I swept the snow from the walk and my car windows, got the paper then ran inside to the warmth of the house. I’ll have to venture onto the deck later as the feeders are empty.

No mouse was in the trap this morning though the trap had been sprung, but the peanut butter was still there so one of the cats could very well have been the culprit as the trap is so sensitive to touch. I’ll reset the trap and put it back in the eaves, but I haven’t found a mouse in a few days. Gracie is a bit disappointed. She enjoys her late evening mouse runs. The last mouse was my favorite. It was let loose near some woods and to get there it ran, hopped, ran and hopped again. I watched it until it disappeared into the woods. As always, I wished it well.

I had hamsters once. The guy at the pet store swore they were both males; he was half right. Those hamsters had several babies, but I did find homes and then put the two of them in separate cages. Those cages were in my bedroom. The female hamster learned how to open the cage and escaped often even after we closed it with more wire. One of the cats captured that hamster and was playing with it in the bathtub. The hamster would try and climb the side to get away, and the cat would bring it right back. It was like the Myth of Sysyphus without the rock. My mother saved the hamster which, you find later in the story, was a bit ironic. I had one of those furry rugs popular in the 60’s. It was a round one on the floor in my bedroom. The rug was bright pink. The hamster pulled it close to the cage and chewed off a section of the rug for her nest. It was one pretty colorful nest, and I had a rug with a circular piece missing. People saw the rug with the missing piece but never asked. I would have been curious. Eventually the male hamster died and the female escaped. It lived somewhere in the house, but we didn’t find it until later, until its demise. The hamster had been living behind the stove, and when my mother turned on the stove one time, the hamster, the same one my mother had saved, bit into a wire and was electrocuted. We called my mother the Lord High Executioner for a while. She never really warmed to that name.