Monday, May 2, 2016

May 2- An open letter to the mice living under my stove

Dear Mice,

When we moved into this house, you didn't move in right away. You gave us a year to get settled, to let our guard down. Then, the second spring came with the typical east coast rain, and suddenly you were here.

Each year that you move in (and you sneaky buggers only seem to move in during particularly wet years) there's always about a month period of denial.

Me: Did you hear that in the kitchen?
Rob: Hear what?
Rob: Do you think we have mice again?
Me: Nahhh, we can't.

Part of my denial, please understand, dear mice, is that I don't understand how you can get away with brazenly setting up shop underneath the stove with three dogs in the house! Are you confused about this, too? Do you go to sleep at night thinking "Holy mouse-gods, how did we not get eaten by those barking fiends today?"

The second step, after denial, is bargaining.

Me (shouting towards the stove) : Ok, ahem, yes, hello Mice. I recognize that you're here. I get that it is wet outside and you've just moved in on a temporary basis. I'm okay with this. But let me lay some ground rules.
Me: OK, rule number 1 is that you must keep all of your activities confined to the floor area. If there is any scampering, skittering, or darting, it needs to stay on the floor.
Me: Rule number 2 is about your nesting and bathroom habits. If you could try to keep things tidy, I would really appreciate it. You'll notice that I no longer keep my baking sheets in the drawer below the oven. I've conceeded that space to you. But ONLY that space, understand?
Me: Rule number 3 is about food. If it is on the floor, it is fair game, but if you start nibbling into my supply of nutritional yeast or garbanzo bean flour, that is immediate grounds for eviction.
Me: And last rule, if and when you start procreating, please let your offspring know that you are not in development here. If they start moving out of the oven drawer and into other areas, I'm going to tell you right now, those are not friendly mouse zones. Are we in agreement?
Me: I take it by your total silence on the subject that you understand and will abide by these rules.

The third step, which is where we currently stand, is where you mice start pushing the envelope. You start getting a little more comfortable. You are still abiding by the rules, but in a taunting way. Last night, as I sat at the kitchen island, catching up on some student emails, I could catch the glimpses of movement out of the corner of my eye. No direct mouse sighting, but shadow movements, like the dust sprites in My Neighbor Tortoro.

I want to warn you, dear mice, that this kind of subversive behavior is not kind to your human hosts and providers. I know you think that because I am a vegan and I keep a cruelty free house that you are safe. You are safe, from death traps, those which might break your back, or rip off your skin. But what you are not safe from, dear mice, is me.

You see, I have amazingly fast reflexes when armed with a clear measuring cup. I have single-handedly caught many of your mice forefathers (and foremothers). I have a tiny animal carrier. I will begin rounding you up, and taking you to my running trail, many many miles away. When I catch you, you will go. Do I feel sad that you will probably never meet up with the remainder of your mouse family? Yes. But will I feel like a badass for live-catching you by hand and popping you in the woods? You'd better believe it.

So, mice, this is your warning. You can quietly leave together now. I understand that there are several rotting trees in the back yard which would provide lovely nesting material. I don't even think our feral cat shelter back there is currently occupied, if you wamt to give that a go. Or, if you choose not to leave, you need to make sure every single one of our agreed on rules is followed.

Otherwise, lookout! I'm coming for you!


1 comment:

  1. We just put a bull snake in the basement. We haven't seen a mouse in months. (Knock on wood)