Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mouse in the House, Among Other Things

A minor crisis recently developed in the household; the wife discovered mouse droppings under the kitchen sink. Her slightly disturbingly thorough follow-up seemed to indicate that it was isolated to that location and that it was a recent occurrence. We purchased mouse traps (the old-fashioned type, thank you; it just wouldn’t be the same without the threat of snapping one on your fingers, or in my wife’s case, on her stomach) and poison and steel wool for sealing the possible entrances, and emptied and washed out the area, including the drawers.

I must note that all of this activity was at her command, simply because I have had almost no experience with this. I do not recall ever having to deal with a rodent invasion of any place I have lived as an adult, perhaps because I haven’t lived anywhere long enough for the cracks and crevasses necessary for their entrance to develop. It’s also possible that they were there and I was blissfully ignorant, since I had to take her word that what she found was in fact mouse feces, even after I saw it for myself; it looked like dirt to me.

She was proven correct that very night, as one of the traps – baited with peanut butter - snagged a little critter. I was given the task of disposing of the carcass. I first considered just throwing it into a nearby ravine so something could eat it, but since there were signs it had partaken of the D-Con before it stuck its nose into the trap, I decided to put it in a plastic bag and send it out with the trash. We are hoping that this was the only one, and that our preventative measures have put an end to further encroachment, but the traps are still set.

Emptying the drawers reminded me of something slightly unusual about my life. When I moved to Vermillion from Rapid City in 1994, I was able to use my mobile home (not as mobile as they used to be, but still equipped with the necessary hardware) as a shipping container, which eliminated a lot of the sorting and packing normally associated with moving. When I moved up to a larger mobile home, it was just behind and to the left of my old one, so a lot of stuff I could just grab and haul. Only the larger furniture required assistance. The move to Pierre was essentially a repeat of the the move to Vermillion – I even used the same mover to tow the house. The result of that convenience, and the fact that I kept the house after my two divorces, is that a lot of things that would probably have been thrown out had I had to pack them got to come along, and many of the smaller ones ended up in these drawers.

There were a number of kitchen utensils I didn’t know I owned, and that my wife had never seen. A couple of cheese cutters, two paring knives that looked as if they would be prime tetanus carriers, and various other kitchen tools that I had never used. Old rolls of tape, small candles, pens and pencils, batteries of unknown vintage, various pieces of household hardware, and an ancient pocket knife also took up space along with roughly 200 twist ties that came with long-gone garbage bags.

I threw away quite a few of these things. Others I relocated to the appropriate storage area. But many of the items went right back into the same drawer, some because they actually belong there, others based on the old that-may-come-in-handy excuse that clogs up space worldwide. I figure I need to leave something behind for my family to throw away after I die, assuming they doesn’t just leave the place “as is”, which would be in keeping with family tradition.

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