Saturday, June 26, 2010

Vigilante Justice

What I was going to say was that Huck was sent out of town last week.  Because it's summer vacation, of course. And that means the kids are home and Huck's gone.  He was at Hanford, helping out a with that Super Fund, instead of here, helping with the Super Fund in my kitchen.  This seems to be more and more obvious (but so far no one's saying much about it): before we do things, we should first know how to clean them up.  Take oil drilling, for instance.  PBA's.  Mining.  Space junk.  Or nuclear waste making.  If you can't clean up the mess, don't make it.  Rules I learned in Kindergarten.  And should learn in the kitchen.

And then I was going to tell you that while the cat was away, the mouse tried to play.  I bought myself a Rose', a wine type that Huck hates.  It was from France.  Unfortunately, it was a very crappy thing.  Either the French have totally lost their vintage touch or they just don't get the $5 range AT. ALL.  I mean, there are decent wines in the $5-$10 range and this was not one of them. It had such a cute label.  I can just hear the French: "Zee Americanzz, they juzt like the bicicletta, in zee pink, wiz zee bubbles on zee label.  Tahehehe.  Ziz is zhit.  Total zhit wine, I pizz it when I pazz zee kidney ztones.  Zee? American Rozze.  Heh. Heh. Heh."

But then, I realized that this 109 year old house makes enough creepy noises with Huck here and if I told the world, or all five people reading here, that he was gone, the house would probably make even weirder noises.  As it was, I barely slept.  Lights on.  Such a ninny.  I was so tired during the days, I fell asleep on the park bench "watching" the kids.  It's not like we didn't do 3 whole months like this before... and this was but one week.  I've lost my grit.

And while that cat was away, other mice did play.  These pests always emerge when the man of the house is absent.  When my dad left town, we ALWAYS had a bat in the attic.  Count on it.  Mom would scream and we'd all know just what it was.  Maybe it's the testosterone pheremoney things those men exude that repel rodents. 

It happened so fast... I was in that much denial.  First there were a few tiny pellets on the counter top.  But maybe they were flax seeds.  And then there was the beheaded and disemboweled mouse in the hallway and a proud, bloody cat.  And then, the final straw on Wednesday:  I opened the silverware drawer and there was this little brown mouse with big chocolatey eyes and the longest eyelashes I've ever seen.  It squatted and gazed up at me, this big pathetic, hopeful expression, "Hi, my name is Fivel and I'd like to be your pet.  Do you have any spare wheels or balls or anything around here that needs to be incessantly turned all night?  Something squeeky?"  If it hadn't been so placid in the face of something 2000x its size, I might have just shut the drawer and continued on my little Denial Way.  Mouse?  I saw nothing of the sort!  Just a brown straw slipping behind the forks!

Although we live not in squalor, we've gotten a little lax, not sweeping before bed, leaving dishes on the counter over night.  Upon moving in we noted: old house + big field = mouse heaven and we vowed our vigilance.  We'd done battle with the mini-beasts before.  In Pullman.  One night, Huck returned from the shed proclaiming that something VERY LARGE had taken up residence in there over the winter.  It'd been months since we could open the door due to, actually, five full feet of snow and then some.  The next morning, we smelled, we saw, we marveled.  And the brown shag carpet draped all over the shed turned out to be mouse droppings.  You see, our cat needed special food for his urinary blockage problem, and our vet-friend scored us a bunch for free.  So we'd stored it, in it's original and secure paper bag.  Mousey gluttony ensued.  And those mice had the best damn bladders and urethras of the mouse kingdom.  And with such an infinite source of food, they felt their future would be bright enough to feed no less than a thousand kids. We suited up and scoured that shed, and made it to shine like the top of the Chrystler building. 

What could the suddenly starving mice do now but rush the house?  Within hours, there was crap in the pantry and sighting hotline set up.  We stopped feeding the cat until he pulled his weight, which wasn't hard.  These mice were so slow and stupid.  It's like what we'd all be if something should happen to our tenuous food supply chain.  We'd all just wander the streets going: "doh, de, doh!  Were'd the food go?"  Until some giant man stabbed us with a garden stake...just like Huck.  Traps.  Plug in anti-mice sound machines.  I foamed up all the holes around the pipes, causing massive stink bombs under the house a few days later.  Ick!

So we knew.  Yes, we knew all about mice.  We have the trash and compost cans they can't get in to.  And trap expertise.  Yes.  I may be mostly vegetarian, but when mice (and outside: gophers) get into my food stash... it's war and war is not pretty.  Even so, the physical and glue traps creep me out.  I mean, who would want to listen to a stuck mouse cry for four days before it finally gives up the ghost?  And the traps that hold up to five live mice?  What are they going to do in there until they starve to death? Well, what would you do? Breed.  ICK!! Doomed mouse orgies under the fridge and I'd have to listen to it while making dinner.  I don't think so.

So, we've got this black box and the mouse goes in, completes an electrical circuit, usually in some very bizarre position, and bam! Instantly fried, its little sizzled tail pointing out the back.  I open the lid and drop it into the trash.  Viola.

After admitting to myself that I'd been running and screaming for five whole minutes.  I had to come to terms with what was now fact: mice had invaded my drawers.  I searched the nut, seed, rice, bean drawer below the flatware drawer.  This is the drawer where, when we moved in, I vacuumed up "flax seeds" and a few stray lentils.  And I guess, subconsciously, it registered as a "suggested serving"  and I stuck my dry goods back in there.  And bought blond flax seeds.  So I spent the night vacuuming out drawers, dumping torn open bags of rice and beans, scrubbing, pouring unscathed food stuffs into glass jars, sweeping, mopping and setting traps. 

Sweaty and exhausted, Huck rang then to tell me, of course, that he was at a winery tasting the best wine he's ever had (not this Pepe le Pew crap I've been trying to come to terms with) and the best meal and a fabulous stroll along the river and he misses me.  Well.  @#%$&^*.  I miss you too, honey, but for all sorts of different reasons.  No... it was sweet of him to call; the right message, but at the very wrongest time.

So, I killed them.  Two.  I think that's all.  They're in the trash together, side by side, the beautiful one with the doe eyes and the blander one too.  A pair, and hopefully they weren't too busy in those walls eating and pooping and breeding. 

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