Company that Won’t Leave.

When we moved into our house in 1973, it was in ill repair, but we didn’t worry. We were newlyweds and we thought our love could surmount any problem presented to us.  Young love is so naive, isn’t it?

The first problem came along within a few days of our arrival and remained on and off for many years. Even now, nearly forty years later it occasionally returns. The problem has four tiny feet, a long tail, two beady eyes and a penchant for making me scream. Yes, it is a mouse and every time one scurries across the floor or pops its head out from behind a cupboard, I am ready to divorce the love of my life for bringing me here.

Certainly, I’ve heard all the trite axioms: it’s just one little mouse; or it can’t hurt you; or (the one most bandied about) it’s more afraid of you than you are of it.

First of all, it is not just one little mouse. That’s as ridiculous as saying it’s just one little ant.  There is never just one little ant. There are a million little ants, uncles and other various relatives waiting on the sidelines. And there is never just one little mouse. They come in hordes, which incidently is the technical term for a group of mice. They can also be called a mischief of mice. I prefer a tyrant of mice, myself. So don’t tell me it’s just a little mouse, because you are wrong.

It can’t hurt you, you say. Oh, really? Have you ever climbed up on a chair only to have it slip out from under you and you crack your head on hardwood floor? Well, me neither. But it could happen. And I’m pretty certain it would hurt!

Now for the most preposterous statement of all: it’s more afraid of you than you are of it. Give me a break. Has any one actually found a way to test a mouse’s fear? Did they have it sit in a chair viewing pictures of cats and humans? I am positive no one has ever strapped me to a chair, stuck electrodes into my brain and dangled a mouse in front of me to record my fear level.  I know I would remember that. Therefore there is insufficient data to conclude who is more afraid. But I remember quite clearly the evening I sat innocently watching TV when, quick as a mouse, a mouse ran along the crease of the couch directly at me. When I screamed, it stood on its hind feet, looking like a little furry ninja, and jumped at me. I left screaming. Don’t tell me who was more afraid.

Actually, I’ve always been afraid of mice. One of my earliest recollections of a mouse encounter was when I was around five. My brothers and I were playing in a snow-covered field. My one brother fell and was laughing gleefully. Seconds later he was jumping around and hollering like a banshee. A mouse had ran up his pantleg. EEK! If my brave brother was afraid of a mouse, then surely I should be hysterical.

A second incident cemented my fear of mice. I was about fourteen. It was one of those years when mice were at the peak of their seven year breeding cycle. There were hordes of them. Tyrants of them. When I walked to school, I could hear them rustling in the hedges. I realize now they were organizing a ninja gang attack. Fortunately, I foiled their plan by walking down the middle of the street, preferring to take my chances with vehicles. Once I got to school, there was a different problem: a group of disgusting boys waiting near the school doors with mice.

If necessity is the mother of invention, then fear is the daddy of ingenuity. I quickly developed a strategy. I joined a group of popular girls as they walked by, knowing the boys would rather drop a mouse down their shirt than mine. It worked.

As I sit and write this blog, I can hear mice in the walls. They can’t get into the house, but they have set up a race track along the studs. Yes, I know studs are vertical, but in our quaint home the studs have been restrapped horizontally for some reason. Regardless, the mice hold drag races in the evenings and well into the night. Apparently there is a lunch counter by the amount of chewing that’s going on. It is very annoying!

So now you understand why I hate mice. But mice are only one of the many challenges our old house has presented us.  I remember once there was a different noise in the wall. It was extremely quiet, but I could hear it …

I think I’ll tell you about it next time.

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Galen Rose
    Sep 24, 2012 @ 02:28:27

    If you lived closer I would loan you my awesome mouser, Imp. He is an excellant mouse destroyer. I love hearing about your old house!

    Reply

    • Carol Ritten Smith
      Sep 25, 2012 @ 04:54:55

      We did have a great mouser for a number of years, but some still got by her. She was an indoor/outdoor cat and as she got older she shed more and more hair. After she passed away, I said no more house cats. We could get a few barn cats, but I’m too soft and always invite them in during the winter. Once they’ve been inside, you can’t keep them away from the door and, voila, we have another house cat. I so don’t want to go there again.

      Reply

    • Carol Ritten Smith
      Sep 25, 2012 @ 05:00:25

      Me and my manners! Thank you for stopping by, Galen, and for leaving a comment!

      Reply

  2. Tara Mills
    Sep 24, 2012 @ 22:29:21

    I cannot stand mice. I get the shakes something fierce. I actually threw my boxed wedding crystal when I was carrying it into the house and a mouse popped right out of the folded in flaps right by my face. I broke so many beautifully etched wine glasses I wanted to stomp that critter dead. Scared the life out of me – figuratively. Winters, as you know, always bring those scurrying varmints indoors and into your car. My parents’ neighbor lost his little MGB in his garage because the rodent menace ate the insulation on his wiring and started a fire in their attached garage. They were lucky they didn’t lose their entire house. You know what we ended up doing? We got a python. Yep, a python. This woman here, who jumps at her own shadow and runs screaming from the lawn when she sees a garter snake, was suddenly living with python named Zoe. Her large tank was in my living room. Luckily she’s down at college with my son now but still, as much as they talked her up about eating live caught mice, I wasn’t tickled to almost step on her going to hit the light switch in the living room either. They all know I’m a screamer. Maybe that’s part of the fun.

    Reply

  3. Peggy Bird
    Sep 24, 2012 @ 22:56:01

    When I lived out in the outer ‘burbs years ago, we had field mice galore–they’d run up the walls behind our bed–ugh–and crawl up the pipes under the kitchen sink. My daughter’s cat would “hunt” them, learning to open the cabinets so she had free range. Unfortunately, she’d carry their little bloody carcasses into my daughter’s bedroom and leave them as morning presents. I have never been so happy as I was the day I moved from that house.

    Reply

    • Carol Ritten Smith
      Sep 25, 2012 @ 04:58:54

      We live on a farm so leaving the house isn’t an option. Maybe if I win the lottery, we might build a new one, but I kinda like this old house now. It’s grown on me. Just hate the mice! Thanks for commenting, Peggy.

      Reply

  4. Carol Ritten Smith
    Sep 25, 2012 @ 04:46:20

    I’m just as afraid of snakes as mice, so a python in the house would totally creep me out. I’m shuddering just thinking about it. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Tara!

    Reply

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