Of Mice and Women

I know that mice exist.

I even know they exist indoors.  In places where I live.  Three apartments ago I had my only experience of seeing one run brazenly across my kitchen in broad daylight. I freaked, couldn’t sleep for fear of the little sucker running across my face, and called my landlord, who to my surprise sent an exterminator without hesitation.

When the exterminator came, he said, “Oh yeah, I do this building all the time.” THAT’s a good feeling, let me tell you.

In our current place, we’ve had minor mice incidents. It’s a 1910 building with a zany basement,so it would be denial to think there’s no mice.

Zany Basement

Zany Basement (this is about half of it)

Early on, I made the mistake of leaving a pack of tortillas out on the counter over night and came down in the morning to find little nibbles through one corner of the bag and around the periphery of the tortillas. Being a person of action I bought traps and also one of those electronic noise emitter things that we plugged in in our bedroom. That very night as we lay in bed we heard a telltale PING!

Once the PING! happens I am no longer a person of action and prefer to delegate the checking of traps to Tim, who kindly disposes of them without my having to participate. We leave 2 traps set– one in a kitchen cabinet and one in a crawl space– but since moving in in April we’ve only caught maybe 3 little mice.  Not ideal, but not exactly an infestation either. So mostly I can pretend that they’re not around.

By now you know this is going somewhere, and it certainly is. This afternoon I set about installing some rope caulk from the hardware store around “irregular gaps” in our window frames which are letting in cold air. The chiefly offending window, around which no two edges seem to align properly, is to the left of our fireplace. To press the sealing stuff into the frame, I had to draw the blinds all the way up, which leaves me awkwardly staring into our neighbor’s yard. It’s one of the strange features of our place that the outside of one side of our house, (follow this) is actually IN our neighbor’s yard. As in, I have never been on that side of the house outside, because I’d have had to enter their yard through a gate.  Weird, right? But we rent. And so such things are not, in the end, our problem.

So I’m caulking up the window when I see, running up a little vine that’s growing outside, a mouse. A little, tiny, gray, textbook-cute Despereaux style mouse. He’s got something in his mouth, a leaf maybe, and he runs up the vine and then onto our chimney at which point he’s out of my range of vision. And I mean he is tiny. And cute. And running up my chimney. And I know what that means: he’s going in. There’s some way he’s getting in there and he’s having a little mouse party with his friends, and sure enough, about five minutes later, I see another mouse trace the same path. So… I’m pretty sure there are mice hoping to weather out the winter in our chimney, or in some place they’re accessing from the chimney.  And I’m more than a little skeeved out by this. But I’m not sure what to do, just yet….

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Of Mice and Women

  1. Gil

    I had problems with mice at an older apartment (fourth floor! you’d figure less issues that high) and here’s what I did to fix it:
    – Lots of mouse traps for a short time
    – Ridiculously careful about not leaving food out; creative ways to leave out fruit that needs to be left out without it being reachable by mice.
    – Figure out where they’re coming in, and blocking it off. In your case, maybe there’s something you could put in around/under the chimney to stop them? A spray or something?

  2. Katie

    Man, we’ve got a serious mouse issue at our apartment and an even worse one awaiting us at the house we are buying. For the current place, we have traps, but we have cotton balls soaked with 100% pure peppermint oil on our pantry shelves. More on it here: http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf703999.tip.html
    Our dog eats everything (except mice, which scare her) so all mouse deterrants need to be Molly-proofed.
    It’s a cheap and effective way to keep the critters out of the chips.

  3. Not to alarm you BUT (here it comes): A mouse can fit through a hole the size of a pencil eraser. Pretty much horrifying. Keep up with the traps and cleaning and block what you can.

    Sorry!

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