Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Mouse in Da House

Living in Philadelphia is wonderful. I don't need a car to get where I'm going, the neighborhood bar is open during hurricanes, things move quickly, people are interesting and colorful, I walk to small and large markets (and sometimes the grocery store and CVS) to buy the things I need, the arts scene is vibrant, the food scene is outstanding, and the rent is so affordable I actually feel bad telling my friends in other cities what my roommate and I pay to rent a full rowhome in South Philly. Sure, there are things to complain about (murder, corruption, poverty, humidity, freakin' Septa) but overall I love it here. But there's a certain cycle that I do not love: pests.

Winter: mice
Spring: those weird tiny red bugs that are on absolutely everything outside
Summer: roaches
Fall: here come the mice again

My roommate and I discovered a mouse in the house a while back. Probably not A mouse, but let's just be optimistic for a while. It's not the first time, of course. We live in Philly. It gets cold so the mice come inside to warm up. Yesterday was particularly chilly, so I wasn't terribly surprised when around 9:30 pm my lovely roommate sort of gasped and told me she had seen a mouse in the kitchen. I was calm, I sort of laughed it off, and made a couple of comments that, in retrospect, sounded condescending. I feel bad about that today. I felt bad about it at the time. I was just trying to be strong for her because I was also pretty freaked out by the mouse sighting. But why!? Mice are kind of cute!

 cute enough, like my first couple of boyfriends

I refuse to be sucked in by the cute, though. One time, in my first apartment (which had MANY mice) we saw a little baby mouse running around. It was SO cute. We called it Squiggles. Unfortunately, though, for us and for Squiggles, we had recently set out some glue traps because we didn't know they were evil. Squiggles was ensnared and we had to spend hours listening to the baby mouse scream its head off.

After that I developed a fear of mice. Naturally.

insert some sort of commentary about the evils of humankind

There was one time, a million years ago, when a mouse got trapped in the kitchen trashcan. My then-partner was away for an extended period of time and I was home alone. Worse, I had not yet closed and locked the door to the apartment. The door to the apartment which was located in THE KITCHEN. Dun dun dun. All of a sudden, the walk from the couch through the dining room to the kitchen went from a 45 second roundtrip journey to something resembling this:

please keep in mind that this is a 
doubly intimidating photo for me because I hate nature

All I could hear was the sound of the mouse trying to fight its way out of the large kitchen trashcan. With each passing moment, the size of the mouse increased in my mind until I was sure that there was vermin the size of a golden retriever waiting to eat me as soon as I stepped foot into the kitchen. In my terrified imagination, it was the largest mouse of all time. Actually, no. It was huge, gross rat with beady eyes.

and it was very concerned with labor unions

So I did what any mature, self-assured, twentysomething-year-old woman would do: I called my boyfriend in hysterics. He was in DC, working on nuclear physics a play and as I sobbed out my tale of woe he very kindly did not laugh at me. Or he only laughed at me a little. But when I demanded that he immediately leave DC and come back to Philly to deal with this mouse, he did not comply. It was just a mouse, after all. Probably the bigger problem was that his girlfriend has lost her damn mind.

artist's rendering of me on the phone that night

Certainly this is not one of the stories I tell potential suitors. Obviously I felt really dumb about it after. But last night, when I heard the tone of my roommate's gasp upon seeing our unwanted housemate (mousemate? too soon?) I knew completely and totally how she felt. Even though we could see it, even though it was clearly very small compared to us, it was scary. So instead of being scared last night, I decided to be calm. I closed up the house while she ventured upstairs. I turned out the lights even though I'm usually afraid of the dark. I laughed only a little.

PS, we're borrowing our friend's cat to try to catch the stupid mice. Of course the temperature also rose about 25 degrees today so the mice will probably clear out. Just in time for the roaches to move in. Philadelphia, y'all.


  1. I didn't know about this crazy cycle. Thankfully I haven't seen mice or red bugs yet. But oh, the roaches. Exterminator says "It's ok, it's just Philly. Your house isn't dirty. They are water bugs. This is why we have a contract." Ok, sir, that's all well and good. But I still feel dirty :/

  2. I think the roach thing would freak me out most of all. *shivers* I can't even stand the thought. I did not know about the evils of glue traps though. Hearing that would have scarred me for life!

    ~ Jen Lovelace

  3. Mice are scary (and cute). Glue traps are evil. I have on two occasions saved a mouse from a glue trap. I will spare you the ridiculous details, but if you pour vegetable oil (or olive, whatever is handy) on the trap then the mouse can get free.
    And even if the kitty doesn't catch the mouse, the feline-y smell helps keep mice away :)
    Let me know if I can help!

  4. Horrifying mouse story #1: One got into our oven when I was a kid and got stuck when my mom turned the oven on. The poor thing proceeded to shriek until it burned to death.
    Horrifying mouse story #2: The most humane way to deal with a mouse in a glue trap is to drown it. I had to deal with the glue traps at a former place of work :(