When people move out to the country and then get annoyed by the bear or deer presence (knocking down garbage, eating shrubbery), I always think, "Well you can't get that mad. The animals lived here first."
I suppose that's the same approach I should use when thinking about the mice in my house. Our house was built in 1787. That means the local mice have become accustomed to sneaking in here for winter warmth for two hundred and twenty eight years. It's encoded in their DNA by now, it's become instinct to know all the tiny secret passages into this structure.
And I'd be fine with them coming in at night and eating all of the crumbs. We could have one of the great symbiotic relationships: I provide warmth and food, they clean my kitchen. But they don't just eat. They shit. They leave tiny disease ridden fecal surprises in places you truly don't want them (is there a place you might actually want them? No I guess not.)
In our house, my husband and I have jobs we each refuse to do. I absolutely won't iron. He doesn't take care of the mice. So in the past twelves years of living here I have had a lot of experiences with mice. Here are some of them:
1. From our first year here. Heating vent, upstairs bathroom. Strange sounds and then this:
|Heating vent: 1, Mouse: 0
2. Somehow they figured out a way to get in to our old dishwasher. We'd always set it to run at night and sometimes in the morning I'd wake up to a wet, soggy, dead mouse in the dishwasher. (The "soggy" part was too much for me. I whined about it so much that was one of the only times my husband agreed to doing the disposal.)
3. They also have figured out how to get into the oven. I can't prove they were the ones that chewed through the wires and broke it but I have a sneaking suspicion I'm right.
4. On more than one occasion, they have gotten caught in the trap but not killed. A paw, a tail. just a bit of them. Guess who has had to deal with thrashing non-dead mice, too?
5. This winter I was getting sick of traps and decided to set some poison around. I thought we were doing all right--I hadn't found any mouse poop in any of the usual spots, so I figured the poison was working. Then a few weeks ago I went into my cabinet to get the food processor. Nothing eventful happened, as one would expect. Then a few minutes later I went to put it away and as I pulled out a plastic bag that was in the cabinet A BIG FAT LETHARGIC MOUSE CAME OUT WITH IT. I'm really not scared of mice but COME ON! Where did it come from? I had just been in there! And why was it just sitting there not running away??? I put on gloves and swept it into the dustpan and threw it outside ("So it can sneak right back in," my husband said.) So now the traps are back and I'm catching a mouse every night. And that, my friends, is what you refer to as "Old House Charm."
|Why is he not running away?
Tune in again for an upcoming Five on Friday: This Old House Edition and I'll tell you some non-mouse creepy things that have happened here.