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The Mouseman Diaries

mouseman

Day one

There’s a mouse in my house, more than one, probably. They’re bad for your health. Mouse wee stinks, their faeces carry bacteria and parasites, and mice can be covered in ticks. Do you really want them anywhere near your food, or where you prepare food, or where you lay your head to sleep?

No, mice aren’t great house-guests, they keep you awake at night, listening to their scratchings and meanderings. You imagine them running over your face, nibbling your earlobes. It’s all very room 101. I like mice, really, I do – they’re quick, nimble, spookily intelligent creatures possessed of supernatural senses, but you don’t want them loose in your house.

I have a trap, of the humane tipper variety, because I’m a bit sensitive that way, but felt compelled to borrow more, three of them in all – just to be sure of catching it or them. These were of the regular snapper sort. I don’t like to kill creatures if I can help it, but once mice settle in they can cost a fortune in raided and ruined groceries, and they can make you ill, so I felt I couldn’t afford to be choosy. There’s a limit to what’s sensible in terms of compassion. So I set the traps, baited them with bits of Yorkie Bar and gave my guests a choice between the way of life and the way of death, all be it with the odds by way of fate stacked heavily in favour of death.

It took a day before we heard the first trap snap. It seemed the mouse had chosen death, but on closer inspection we found it had escaped, almost, the trap coming down on its tail, so it was flailing, dragging the trap with it. I don’t think it was after the bait. It was just wanting to clear the trap with a leap and hadn’t quite made it. Mice it seems are not partial to Yorkie Bar.

A dead mouse isn’t much of anything really, other than a relief when you’re plagued with them, but one desperate to escape while dragging a trap by the tail cannot help but garner some sympathy. It also slowed it down sufficiently to allow me to catch up with it. So I took it outside, took it up the street before releasing it. But I wonder now if I took it far enough because the little brown blur of a thing seemed to head straight back in the direction of my house.

Day two

There’s nothing in the traps first thing in the morning, so I’m hopeful the problem has gone, but then my good lady texts me at work to say she was startled by another mouse in the kitchen – she’s a mousophobe, or something. Did it have a crooked tail? I asked. There came no reply worth repeating. So, I don’t know if it’s the same mouse or not. I’d like to think not, because then I’ll feel stupid for not killing it. How does one kill a mouse, anyway? With a shoe? A hammer?

More traps ordered from Ebay. Of the humane variety.

Day three

We spent a troubled night last night, mice wearing clogs thumping across the bedroom floor. I switched the light on around 1:30 am in time to see one dropping from the curtain. It shot under the bed, then seemed to vanish into thin air. What with lying awake listening to the house and stiffening at the slightest sound, then snapping on the light and tearing about the bedroom in pursuit, I managed just a couple of hours sleep, then up at six thirty and out to work again.

I’ve felt wobbly tired all day.

I picked up several more traps from B+Q on the way home – they only had the regualar killer variety but by now I’m not so squeamish. We have eight traps, all armed and primed with a special bait that comes in a tube – you place a blob of it on the trap and the little rodents can’t resist, apparently. I hope we have a better night. It’s odd, in twenty years, we’ve never been troubled with mice at this house, but after last night it’s feeling like a plague. Worse, my good lady has now moved out, moved back to her parents, until they’re gone.

Evidence of mice? Yes, one was sitting on the pillow of my son’s bed, bold as brass, as if to say what are you looking at? Another one came skittering across the kitchen floor and disappeared behind the fridge – or it might have been the same one. I couldn’t get the fridge out because the numpties who fitted the kitchen have jammed it in tight which makes me wonder how we’ll get it out when it breaks down. Odd how these things come to light.

The longer term solution to all of this is a cat. My mother always kept one for this reason, but cats bring their own problems and anyway, I’m allergic. I just need more traps, and a good night’s sleep.

Day Four

Didn’t sleep much better. There were more scratching and fidgetings in the bedroom, going up for midnight. Putting the light on seemed to subdue this activity, so I slept with the light on low like a scaredicat until morning but I don’t think this is conducive to good sleep. You know you’re tired when you wake feeling hung over and you’ve not been drinking.

All eight traps were empty. So much for the special “irresistable” bait. The traps I ordered by post could not be delivered because no one was at home. Delivery will need to be rearranged, or more likely I’ll have to waste my Saturday morning queuing up at the sorting office to collect them. Sometimes I hate internet shopping!

By three pm I can feel myself shutting down, wanting to sleep. I’m tempted to succumb, even at the risk of being sacked, just for the sweet delirium of it – except I’d probably be dreaming of mice.

Researches online point me to Peanut butter, or chocolate as bait – Maltesers in particular. But I’m not so sure. I think these mice have come from outside and are used to feeding on birdseed, so I bait the traps accordingly and hope for the best.

I inspect our foodstores, a tightly sealed pull-out larder. All looks fairly secure – no tell tail holes nibbled through the cereal boxes. No mouse droppings. I remove the bird feeder from outside our back door, dispose of the seed – I imagine the birds look glum, and I’m sorry, but this is war and there is always collateral damage.

Traps set, off to bed.

Goodnight all.

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