Mousecution

Back when the Husband and I first got married, we were on a desperate search to find our first apartment together in San Francisco. I didn’t have a job yet and the Husband was still finishing college and working part-time, so our collective income was somewhere between surviving on ramen noodles and exchanging wedding gifts for cash, which meant that finding a landlord to rent to us was near to impossible considering the average rent for a one bedroom apartment in 2005 was about $1,400-$1,500 a month (try $2,800-$3,300/month now).

But still, we had to live somewhere.

Which led us to the in-law apartment. An in-law, if you don’t know, is a dark, recessed basement-like hell named for a place where one can comfortably stick your parents-in-law when they come to visit. They are usually located on the ground floor or basement, which is always bad news in a city, and also usually illegal, making the owners almost as desperate as us.

mousecution 1(Our in-law was much dirtier than this one.) Despite the fact that the in-law had no windows in the kitchen or bathroom and the living room only had a window to an enclosed hallway, we thought we were getting a good deal. After all, it was only $1,000 a month and it included access to a washer and dryer (only on Fridays, I guess the landlords thought making two young newlyweds do their laundry on Friday nights would be funny?).

It wasn’t long though until we started to run into a lot of problems though. Including, but not limited to:

  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Resistant to everything mold (we had to constantly run a dehumidifier and filled up two buckets of water a day, OUT OF THE AIR, and our sheets were still constantly damp)
  • Bats
  • Mice

This story is about the mice. (The bats really deserve a post all of their own. The mold was probably the most sinister of the group, but was also the most boring, unless you want to hear about my repeated trips to the doctor.)

I first discovered we had mice when I was home alone sick and feverish (see mold reference). I heard a noise in the kitchen and looked over to see a mouse curiously peeking through to look at me through a burner on the stove. Then I saw a mouse crawl out of the toaster.

Like any rational person, I screamed.

Actually, when I was young I had a pet mouse that I saved. My brother’s snake decided not to eat it and I decided to save it – it was a feeder baby mouse from the pet store and probably not intended to actually survive its infancy and after a few months it lost all its hair and died. I was devastated. Moving on.

I really had nothing against mice in general, they were fine when they kept their diseased selves outside, but I took it very personally that these mice were in my kitchen and crawling around in my once nice hand-me-down toaster, which of course I now had to throw away.

I was especially afraid of mice running over my feet when I was barefoot. This was not a rational fear. Nothing bad would especially happen to me if this happened, but I was still terrified. I laid awake at night wondering if there were mice in my bed at that moment.

The mice had to go, but how?

Most people would probably go to their landlords, but for whatever reason we were afraid to, probably partly because we hated confrontation and also because they were a little crazy and usually drunk, so we did what any non-confrontational person does and took ourselves to the hardware store.

There are actually a lot of ways to kill mice.

mousecution 4 mousecution 3 mousecution 2

But like I said, I didn’t hate these mice. I didn’t want them to suffer. And I especially did not want to see their dead, broken bodies all over my kitchen floor. Still though, it didn’t really seem prudent to do a catch and release. Wouldn’t they just come back into our apartment? Where did one even release city mice? What if they had diseases? Didn’t the city have enough mice?

What I’m trying to say is, I intended the kill these mice, the question was, how does one humanely kill a mouse?  (This was before I had cats, obviously. Not that cats kill humanely, but at least I could blame the carnage on them.)

As I perused the shelves of mice killing devices, only one seemed to pop out at me. Probably I had watched too many mob movies as a child where some guy didn’t manage to get away and got the State’s justice.

No, I wasn’t going to hang the mice (although now that I think about it a miniaturized scaffold with tiny nooses sounds oddly cute (feel free to unfollow me after this post if that disturbs you, I LIKE MINIATURE THINGS OK)). (See Figure 1.)

mousecution 5But I was going to electrocute them.

Electrocuting something to death is surprisingly easy. You just need a current to pass through the heart, which means both hands paws need to touch the two electrical contacts (full disclosure, I’m not a scientist… or an electrician… or most things). For a human, this would require a lot of juice. For a small mouse, a couple of D batteries.

mousecution 6(I made up this diagram, please don’t reference it for anything.)

The device basically worked by sending the mouse through a tight maze, lured by the scent of peanut butter (or whatever your mouse prefers), which is on the other end of a small electrified plate (there might have been two plates actually, I don’t really remember).

mousecution 7The first night we set it, I wasn’t sure if I was more nervous if I would catch a mouse or if I wouldn’t catch a mouse, but I dreamed all night of angry mice vying for retribution.

mousecution 8

But I shouldn’t have worried. Even mouse warriors can’t fight science magic. When I woke up the next morning, the green light was on, and it would be on for many more mornings to come. (I made the husband dump the bodies so I wouldn’t have to see them, but one time I saw a small tail sticking out and it made me sad. Or grossed out. I can’t remember.)

Now, before you think I’m a monster, I… um… well, actually, I’m probably a monster. I don’t even know why I told this story, it just ends with dead mice. I guess I mostly just wanted to share the name I made up for the trap, but the name isn’t as fun without knowing the story. So, there you go. Mousecution. The end?

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28 Responses to Mousecution

  1. Mice drive me so, so crazy. We had mice in Ohio, and I literally stayed up half the night in my kitchen with a baseball bat just waiting for those little suckers to come out (they didn’t.) They were too smart for all the traps, so we got a cat from the local shelter. He had an “M” on his head, which everyone knows means “mouser,” so I thought we were saved! Yeah, no. He watched them scurry around without the slightest interest and now I was stuck with a cat AND mice. Yuck. We moved and I still have that lazy cat. God, he’s lazy.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. PS- My daughter is home sick today and was looking over my shoulder while I read this. She loves your mouse drawings and thinks you should write a whole book about mice.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Rae says:

      I actually have a half-written idea about a story from a mouse’s point of view! I couldn’t decide to make it for kids (mouse lives) or for adults (mouse dies).

      Like

  3. Why is Mousecution not on the market? When we had a mouse infestation in the house we rented a couple of years ago I lost every small appliance I had to those critters. I lay awake every night knowing they would walk across me the first chance they got. We tried every manner of those diagrams above, well, not the little noose thingy. We called in pros who were as perplexed as we were as to why they continued to infest. We eventually moved to get away from them. I still have an irrational fear of them finding me. Please don’t judge, but I would have sooooo enjoyed using that electrical device.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We also had a pet mouse for a while; my brother brought it home from his science class when that lesson was over. The mouse eventually died, but we all became quite fond of it.

    But we knew that mouse was there. There have been two occasions when mice have decided to come into our house, and those vermin were much less endearing. The more recent time was about four years ago, and this is when I learned that while I am able to calmly locate, package, and transport a severed fingertip and its owner to the emergency room, I scream like a stereotype when I see a mouse.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The woman in the apartment below us made the mistake of setting sticky traps and forgetting about them when she went on vacation for three weeks. During the summer.

    She came home to Apartment 102: Mouse Funerary Sauna and Museum of Unpleasant Smells.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I would worry more about baking the mice in the toaster. ICK! The mousecutor sounds like an ingenious invention.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Eda says:

    Mousecution. I may have to borrow that for my blog. Or maybe mousecutioner.

    Previous cats, previous house: There was once a strange smell in my study and I mentioned that it smelled like dead mouse. (How do I know what dead mice smell like? My dad used to pay us a nickel a pop to collect dead ones from the attic.) A few days later, Husband found the culprit buried in our laundry basket. It wasn’t moving, but the things on it were.

    We haven’t had any mice since we moved to this house, but I have no doubt Twitchy would make short work of them. She’s already proven herself effective with roaches.

    Ugh. Please don’t “like” this message. I need to go take a shower.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Elyse says:

    I love this story. OK, so I am apparently sick too. But still. It is hilarious, and reminds me when I was young, sick and poor and Goliath invited all the mice on Capitol Hill to our house to live. I may have to tell that story …

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Outlier Babe says:

    Somehow, exactly 40-hundred months ago, WP dropped you from my Follows and I didn’t notice : (. Today, I did, and came here, and read this. You are brilliant. And the other commenters who said “market it” are correct.

    I had a pet mouse, a white one, The Sheik of Araby. My sister’s cat got him, the evil thing. I think mice are adorable. But loose in the house, they must DIE!!.

    Had I not been away so long, I would have self-linked to my own posts: One about a visit from Christmas rats who brought their own decorations (for reals!), and likely sang carols, and another about a tiny mouse gallows I really built (called the Man Trap). But it’s so tacky to self-link after so long awa’. : )

    Liked by 2 people

  10. graynoted says:

    I’m always leary of any ninja! To include turtles.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. You could have saved yourself the expense of the mousocutor by just racking the lever down on the toaster real quick before the mouse got out. It would have had about the same effect, but with more dramatic fur-burnage. (I think I just made myself ill). The trick would be luring mice into the toaster . . . so perhaps not the best idea after all. And I’m not sure I’d ever toast a Poptart in there again. Burnt mouse-fur flavored Poptart, num num. (Yes, I definitely just made myself ill) =P

    Liked by 3 people

  12. See my Weird Wednesday – Stewed Rat post. LOL. We also had mice at one point, and I bought a catch and release trap. The problem? I forgot to get rid of the traps before going away for a few weeks for the summer. Poor little mice died of starvation. I’m an evil monster…

    We also had rats. I poisoned them, because after the mouse thing? Nope. I didn’t know about electrocution traps.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Pingback: Mousecution | Lizard's Journal

  14. I had a rat infestation in an apartment I was renting a couple of years ago. Well, it wasn’t really an infestation, this tiny little mouse was more like an on and off visitor, he would come, scare me no end for a night or two and take off, only to return a week later. He was definitely one of the most dependable relationships I’ve had.
    On one of these occasions, my room-mate was out and I was home alone. He showed up. I remember standing up on my bed and doing the intimidation-dance, you know arms flailing , feet stomping, swearword hurling and the works. The little shit just watched me from under a table. I packed my remnant dignity and moved to another apartment.

    Oh and here comes a follow! Your cartoons are hilarious!

    Liked by 1 person

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