Sunday, November 30, 2008

OMG, I Caught a Mouse!

Disturbed by the knowledge of having a rodent residing in my house, I set out on a quest to evict the unwanted tenant. I went to Home Depot to acquire my weapon of choice. Not having waged war against a rodent before, I was overwhelmed by the various methods of extermination. I spent quite a long time analyzing the pros and cons of each enticement system before making my choice. The first method was to leave bits of tasty treats laced with poison throughout the house. This didn’t seem like a good option because I envisioned the little creature eating the poison and crawling back to its nesting place to die. The stench of decaying rodent didn’t appeal to me. Likewise, the second method of destruction was snapping its little head into an old-school mousetrap. The thought of having to clean up mouse guts seemed better than the stench option, but still not desirable. The third method of eradication was to lay down pads of tape for the mouse to adhere itself to. I had a difficult time trying to understand the philosophy behind this method. Is it supposed to be more humane? If so, then what are you supposed to do with the mouse once it’s stuck to the tape pad? Are you supposed to pry it from the tape and let it go? That would mean having to touch a live mouse and risk getting bit. Or are you supposed to wait for the mouse to die and then toss the tape pad, mouse and all? If that’s the case, that seems like a slow, unpleasant way for the mouse to die and who knows how long that could take. Needless to say, I opted for the fourth method which was a small plastic box that traps the mouse inside it.

Shortly after supper I could hear my foe in the kitchen nibbling on something. I determined that the sound was coming from beneath the refrigerator. I nervously got on my hands and knees and shined a flashlight in its direction hoping to spy the little defiant beast, taunting me with its bold gnawing. Since I knew where it was, I took the mousetrap, laced it with peanut butter and placed it in front of the refrigerator, daring my little adversary to enter. I went to the living room and waited for my opponent to fall for the bait. Moments later I could hear the sound of the plastic trap moving across the floor. I quickly ran into the kitchen. I must have caught my rival off guard because for a brief second we both froze and stared at each other. As quickly as my enemy ran back under the refrigerator, I ran back into the living room with my heart pounding in fear. After I calmed my nerves, I had to laugh at myself for being afraid of such a tiny thing. I have to admit, the little guy was quite cute and I was happy that I opted for the box method. Within minutes the mouse had returned to the box and had trapped itself inside. It made quite a clammer trying to free itself.

Now the smart thing to do would have been to go directly to the woods and release it at once. However I didn’t do that because I was not willing to go outside in the freezing temperatures and walk a couple hundred yards into the woods. Who knows what animal could be lurking in the woods in the darkness of night. So I went to bed and left the little mouse in the box all night. I have to admit, I thought the mouse would eventually tire in its efforts to gain freedom, but not so.

Having been deprived of sleep from the mouse’s boisterous attempts at escape all night, I arose before sunrise to shower and dress before readying myself for my trek into the woods. I waited for the sun to rise before I snatched the trap containing the noisy little fur ball and headed outdoors. Now I would be remiss if I didn’t state that my heart was pounding in anticipation of having to slide open the cover and let it escape. I was imagining the horrors that could unfold. What if the little creature freaked out and climbed up my leg? What would I do if it bit me? My hands trembled slightly with fear as I gently slid open the cover and jumped back to watch. A little head with bulging eyes immediately peered out and stared at me. A split second later my peanut butter covered houseguest ran beneath some leaves next to a nearby tree. I scraped out the remaining peanut butter from the box and left it as house-warming gift.

So, who was the ultimate victor in the mouse war? Only time will tell. If the little critter invited friends, I’d have to give the victory to the mouse, as I would eventually have to recruit outside help. As for today, I declare myself to be the Supreme Conqueror and Commander of this house.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Country Living

There’s a mouse in my house. Rats! At least I hope it’s only one mouse and not a family of mice. I’m resolved to terminating the little creature’s existence in my house, but not looking forward to it. When I lived in the west I only had to battle insects – ants, roaches and fleas, never any cute, furry four-legged animals. Somehow it doesn’t seem like murder when you squash an ant or bomb your house with toxic gas, but poisoning or torturing a mouse seems inhumane. I’m sure I’ll get over it, especially if it’s invited friends along. But hey, things could be worse, at least I don’t have to deal with whatever is eating my outdoor pumpkin. Oh the joys of living in the country again :)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

15 Things I've Had to Re-Learn While Living in New England

1. Water freezes at 32 degrees. A bottle of water accidentally left in the car overnight will freeze. It also won’t melt if the temperature doesn’t get above freezing during the day.

2. It takes skill to get in and out of a car with an umbrella. It’s a lot harder than it looks to get in the car and fold up an umbrella without getting water dumped all over you. I’m still not quite sure what I’m supposed to do with the wet umbrella once inside the car.

3. The smell of smoke and the presence of strong wind does not mean, “prepare to evacuate”. The winds may blow like Santa Ana’s, but they’re 50 degrees cooler. The aromas of fireplaces are quite enjoyable now that I realize that it doesn't meant that the town is on fire.

4. Chap Stick is a necessity if you like to lick your lips. I don’t need to say anymore.

5. Drivers are more courteous here. When first in line at a stoplight, expect the driver on the opposite side of the road to make a left turn in front of you before you enter the intersection. Don’t freak out when this happens. It’s an unwritten code of politeness.

6. Sunshine and cold is better than no sunshine at all. Don’t assume that the sun will come out today. Also, don’t associate sunshine with warm weather. Even though it make look warm outside, it’s most likely to be cold. Take advantage of the sunshine because you may not see it again for several days.

7. Weather in New England is fickle. The temperature can change quite drastically from day to day or even within the same day. Never leave home without a coat. It’s a lot easier to wear layers of clothing and add and subtract throughout the day rather than become a meteorologist and try to guess what the day will be like. Remember to check the weather report every morning.

8. Leave an extra 5 minutes early to get somewhere. This allows time to warm up the car. Allow more time when having to scrape the window. I’m seriously considering having a remote starter installed.

9. Produce doesn’t last as long here. Since most of the vegetables ship from California, they don’t stay as fresh as they do when living in California, closer to the source.

10. Getting from place to place is more difficult. No one knows the name of streets. Getting directions involves creating a map in your head of landmarks. “Just up the road” is usually a lot farther than I think. People measure distance in miles here rather than time it takes ‘with’ or ‘without’ traffic. It takes a lot longer to get 5 miles on single lane country roads than it would on the freeway (without traffic).

11. Yellow traffic lights turn red after 2 seconds. When the light turns yellow, stop because you won’t have enough time to clear the intersection and will end up running a red light.

12. The ocean is to the East and South. To travel inland head west instead of east.

13. The true color of my skin is pasty white.

14. Driving at night requires high beams. Country roads do not provide ample lighting, if any. High beams make a huge difference in driving in the country. Unfortunately they can be a detriment as well when the opposite driver forgets to dim their lights to oncoming traffic.

15. There are few Asians and Mexicans here. It’s sad to seldom see any Asians or Mexicans. The real tragedy though is the lack of good Mexican food here.


16. Even though I may have an accent, I’m not from the south. I am not a Texan just because I don’t remember how to live here and I don’t talk like a ‘wicked cool’ Yankee anymore.