Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Of Mice and Men

Two nights ago I was sitting on my lounge soundly beating The Hustler on Tiger Woods 2005 on the PlayStation 2 when a little dark shape ran between the side of the lounge and the box of children's books against one wall, a distance of about two feet.

At first I thought "cockroach". They are a common enough occurence in themselves when the power of the roach baits begins to fade. I made a note to change them soon. I birdied the next hole to go 2 up, and lined up the next drive off the tee.

The shape travelled back the other way. Quickly. It was too quick to be a cockroach.

"Ah, no...mouse..." I said. I looked under the couch. No sign of him. No surprise.

I went up to bed after winning 4&3 over The Hustler, and mentioned it to the Good Lady. She has an inherit distaste of mice, having lived with mouse problems during her teenage years. I, however, dont mind them so much. Of course, they are to be dealt with at the earliest opportunity.

After work yesterday, I scouted for my two mouse traps, loading them up with peanut butter and leaving one under each of our two lounges. I checked them as I went to bed a few hours later after I'd given Stuart Appleby a lesson at St. Andrews and taken him for a $60,000 side wager. Both traps were there. Waiting.

This morning, as I got ready to catch the bus to work, I thought "I'll just check my traps". Grab my torch. Look under one couch. Trap still waiting. Look under the other couch.

Trap is gone.

Not set off. No mouse. Gone. Completely. This is interesting.

I look around under the rest of the lounge. Not here.

So, the mouse has gotten caught somehow, and wandered off with the trap attached. Last time I used this trap the mouse didnt even know what hit him. How am I going to find this in the five minutes I've got before I have to leave? I didnt really want the Offshoots or the Good Lady finding it amongst the toys on the floor. I had a quick look and couldnt see it, so I gave up. I went to the kitchen and packed my bag, dropping it by the door.

Then I heard it. The sound of metal being scratched at. Little mousey claws. Luckily there was only one thing metal on the floor. A tin lunch box. Open.

"Why is that lid so far off the ground? If its open, it usually hangs down further..." I crouched and looked. Here was my mouse. Front foot trapped, struggling to drag the device.

Still alive. Still struggling. I wasnt about to put him in the freezer, like they do with cane toads.

"Right...outside!" I picked up the trap, the mouse hanging from it swinging wildly as he thrashed about mousily. His leg didnt look great, but he wasnt protesting. I took him into the yard, unclipped the trap and he fell into the garden, bounding off rapidly as he tasted freedom. Broken leg or not, he wasnt being hampered by it.

I went upstairs and related the tale to the Good Lady who reacted with "well he'd better not come back in!" The mouse is free, the other trap is there, rest easy.

I dont usually like to kill animals that wander into the house. Spiders get left, if they're harmless or not near the Offshoots. The big, ugly or dangerous ones get stomped, sprayed, or a combination thereof. Cockroaches are fair game any time you see them, though. So I've let a mouse free, and I guess I've got to be careful to shut the inside garage door. Either that or the Offshoots have to be more careful about dropping food on the floor when they're watching television.

One mouse free = a thousand in six months? If he gets that far. There's a few cats near us, and him with a gammy leg.

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