In other news, I can report that
peppermint-essential-oil-soaked cotton balls did not deter the mutant rodents who invaded my house.
I love and respect all life. I do.
I’ve shared my home peacefully with Delores the Basement Spider all Summer. She is polite, and quiet, and stays in her funnel web.
The giant, hairy, nomadic basement spiders get air-lifted outside. They don’t hurt anyone (except basement bugs). But, they’re creepy and I never know where one will turn up. That’s why I like Delores the Basement Spider, she doesn’t sneak around.
Then, the mice came. We heard them first. Scratching in the attic and scurrying in the walls. We should have acted then. We should have done something.
Then, we began finding evidence of them, tiny droppings along the walls and under the stove. I did a little research and placed peppermint oil soaked cotton balls in the back of cabinets, under the kitchen sink, and laundry room. The house smelled like a candy cane factory and my eyes stung.
This should have worked
The peppermint oil was beginning to work on me. All of the Eco-friendly websites claimed this would work. I was about to move out, myself. I don’t like peppermint oil as it turns out.
I left my family for the weekend and eventually the smell wore off. When, I came back home I found that mice had taken over the kitchen. Three days in a row, Dear Husband had found a mouse trapped in the kitchen sink. He carefully caught each one and released them across the river. Secretly, I suspect he may have caught one mouse three times and given him three exciting rides.
These mice would not be deterred with essential oils.
It was time to get serious
We could either defend our home or move out. We couldn’t afford to move. We had one option. Well, two actually, but I’m allergic to cats.
A few days later, Dear Husband and I found ourselves standing, slightly stunned, in front of the rodent death aisle at our local hardware store. The aisle seemed to go on forever with packages showing happy rodents, happy hunting cats, or tiny red explosions with mouse tails and variations on the words ‘Power Kill!’.
I was torn between feeling appalled and fascinated at both the sanitizing of and sensationalizing of extermination.
They call it the ‘pest’ aisle. If they’re just pests, why the dramatics?
I love and respect all life. Unless it poops on my spoons
On the other hand, I had just had to sanitize all of my kitchenware, every single kitchen drawer, and cabinet; the mice had crossed a line. No one gets to poop in my kitchen drawers. In light of this, we could call this the disease vector aisle and that would, at least, justify the violence.
We loaded our cart with two each of three types of instant kill traps and a handful of, hopefully, environmentally friendly poison packages.
They were warned
I want to note that before we left for the hardware store, I stood in the middle of the house and hollered for all of them to either leave today or die. I considered giving them a time limit, “Get out by 6 o’clock tonight.” but realized that the invading mice may not, in fact, be able to tell time. So, I settled for giving them until sunset. Except Delores the Basement Spider, Delores could stay. But for the rest of them it was time to move out.
And so there we were, pushing a cart loaded with murder-y traps and poison-y poisons feeling both self-conscious and horrified at the dark turn our lives had taken. They had pushed us into this, after all. If they’d stayed in the attic and out of the kitchen cabinets, we’d be happily coexisting. They could visit Delores the Basement Spider and we’d all get along fine. But, no. They had to invade the kitchen, they brought this on themselves.
I considered what else could we toss into the cart of destruction to deflect attention from our arsenal. So, into the cart went batteries, gardening gloves, fertilizer, and bleach. That made it worse, somehow.
Owning our actions
I thought about whether this could be considered self-defense or first degree murder. I did warn them, after all. I gave them an afternoon to pack their little suitcases, contact their friends with pick-up trucks, and get out of town.
And, then we were checking out and preparing to commit atrocities. The young teller’s eyes widened as he scanned the arsenal across his counter. “Ummm, rodent problem?”
I locked his eyes, “Not for long.”
“Not for long.”
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