Still more reasons to dislike field mice

The most entertaining part of this humor column is reader feedback. Sometimes it’s an e-mail telling me how uncharitable and off base I am. Other times it’s a curt phone message from family, “Thanks a lot for revealing my quirks!” And a few people actually thank me for triggering laughter and memories.

Then, there are the inspired-to-action readers who have left a purse on my doorknob after I wrote about pocketbook purchasing perils, a pail of zucchini on my front porch after I redressed vegetable vigilantes, and Fruit of the Loom products among my wedding gifts after I lamented the dismal state of my underwear.

Most frequently I hear from people who want to share a funny story about their own footwear flatulence, couple’s dance lessons, snow blower fiascos, etc. Normally I don’t write sequels, but multiple comments from field mice haters have prompted revisiting that topic.

I was recently in hot pursuit of a mouse enamored with my kitchen silverware drawer. At first I thought she was coming to admire her reflection on a shiny tablespoon until the evidence suggested she was after the paper wrappers on our drinking straws.

It’s hard to believe a mouse would settle for bland straw wrappers versus tasty cereal or snack crackers. The silverware drawer is the last place you want a mouse to hang out because it makes you take everything out and wash it. Repeatedly.

So in my infinite wisdom, I placed a glue trap in the cupboard under the silverware drawer. I had learned from a previous episode with a tea bag drawer-frequenting mouse of their propensity to explode all over everything when the wire guillotine of death comes slashing down.

Within minutes of positioning the glue trap, we heard an awful commotion from the kitchen. “Mom, it must be a really big one!” said the kids.

It was. The same size as our Siamese cat. She had smelled the bait and opened the cupboard for a better look. We learned never to trap a cat in glue. It improves neither nerves nor temperament. I’m guessing the same would apply to raccoons.

So I removed all the tableware (except the wrapped straws) from the drawer and stuck the now cat fur-laden glue trap back in the drawer. Within hours, I had my rodent. Out of courtesy, I threw the glue-mired mouse to the cat. Decorum prevents me from describing what ensued. Let’s just say it justified our not having a satellite dish.

When I moved to Kalamazoo in 1993, I still had my lake house in Branch County. A raucous ring of rodents mistook my absence there as an invitation to set up winter camp. This necessitated rounding up an unwelcoming committee consisting of my (then) nine-year-old nephew, Chase, and an assortment of traps and poison. As Martha Stewart to the mice, I graciously served a little something for everyone.

One of the traps we set was a mini live trap, a see-thru plastic tunnel with a trap door. I’d never seen its like. Chase and I awakened early the next morning to a rapping sound that proclaimed successful trapping. We’d caught a shrew. Now what to do?

“What’s it say on the package?” I strained and read, “Discard used trap in trash.” The thought of leaving a live rodent for dead in the trash clearly disturbed young Chase.

“Let’s take it way down the road and set it free,” he suggested. As we trudged knee-deep along the road covered with snow and our good intentions, I pointed out the creature was likely to freeze to death. “I know,” he said. “But this way we can at least pretend it survived.” Ah, sweet denial.

A co-worker reported her neighbor favored a more direct solution when he’d had a problematic silverware drawer mouse. He opened the drawer and opened fire on it with a shotgun. While I can’t say for certain, alcohol just may have been a factor.

“What did his wife say?” I had to know. But my co-worker couldn’t remember if it was before or after his divorce. Must have been before. You’d want to hang onto a guy with problem-solving skills like that!


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