Posted by: Chelsea Novak | February 9, 2008

Of mice and superwomen

I read Kari’s post today and realized that we had a mouse again last week and I didn’t tell you about it. A mouse. Sorry. I need a moment to calm myself.

I’ll admit I’m not great with some of my fears. I had a stint where I couldn’t even think about graveyards, there was the whole clown thing, dogs, polyester… I have a few things I’ve feared in my days. But I’ve overcome them. Now I’m a pretty level headed individual fear-wise. I’m the spider killer in the house. I investigate when things go bump in the night, maybe because I’m more curious than sensible.

There is one thing though, that makes me silly with fear. That makes me jump and scream like a helpless damsel in distress. Yes. The much dreaded mouse. Mus musculus as it is known in Latin. Like seriously, just looking at the mouse on that wiki page made me shiver.

And then I have flashbacks to the moving experience when I moved back from Prague, in a storage locker in Kingston, preparing all the things I’d stored for three years for the move to Toronto. The wonderful experience of being reunited with your things for three years, until the moment where you’re looking through your old stuffed animals, and you have a deep, deep affection for said stuffed animals, and all of a sudden a mouse jumps our of the stomach of one of your white bears. And you’re all alone in a storage locker complex and there is no one to hear you scream.

Anyway, now we live in a really old house and tenants on the lower floors have seen and killed many of them, but Zeus has generally done his job as a mouser and we haven’t had to deal with them, except for these two times.

The first was in October when I was about to bake some cookies and went for my white flour in the cupboard only to find that it was almost completely eaten. As I stood in the kitchen staring at the now empty bag in disbelief, I looked up to the cupboard to find a mouse sitting on top of my baking power, I swallowed my scream and ran into Matej’s office. It returned into the hole it came into, I taped up said hole, washed everything serveral times and started storing my flower in Tupperware.

The our landlord brought in an exterminator, so we thought out mouse visits would be over. But Zeus was still on the job. Most nights he starts guarding the closet in the hall. The closet where we use to store the peanuts that M would feed birds with (silly on two levels, storing peanuts in a closet and I’m allergic to them, duh!), where I had discovered all kinds of broken and eaten peanut shells when cleaning. I’ve never seen a mouse there or been able to find evidence of a hole, but clearly there was evidence that at least one had been chowing down.

This brings us to last week. M and I are nestled into bed, starting to drift off to sleep. We have two sets of pillow on our bed as we use ergonomic ones for sleeping (as it’s better for our necks and M likes anything with ergo in it) and leave the regular pillows on the floor. Suddenly Zeus tears into the room and starting clawing, biting and generally kicking the crap out of M’s pillow on the floor. This is not normal behaviour for our cat.

We turn on the light and watch him for a moment, occasionally giving each other the “aren’t you going to take care of that” look. M pulls Zeus off the pillow and I, with most of the strength of will I have, flip the pillow over. There is nothing there, the mouse isn’t under the pillow… no the mouse is now in the pillowcase with the pillow. Of course this has to be confirmed, which takes the rest of my will to do. But I do it, slowly lifting up the end of the pillow case to peer in, pressing down the pillow and finding a little brown ball of terrified terror. I get only a glimpse, as that is all I can handle and report to M that “Yes. Yes there is a mouse in there.” and I just stare at the pillow and pillowcase, like if I stop looking at it, the mouse will run out and get me.

At this point it is very clear that I have been as useful as I’m going to be so M takes over. I supply him with work gloves and he goes about removing the pillow from the pillow case and catching the mouse. I hide around the corner while he gives me play by play. He then says “It’s really cute, you should come and have a look at it.” I opt not to and he proceeds to take it outside to release it.

I’m kind of proud of myself for just washing the pillowcase and not setting it and the pillow on fire after it was all said and done. It’s been quiet on the mouse front since, though Zeus still stands guard each night. Of course now I’m pretty sure there’s a squirrel stuck in roof. which, oddly enough is less distressing than the mouse.




  1. Aaaah! In the bedroom!! Aaaah!

    And see, I was thinking that getting a cat would solve our problems. ‘Til I learned that Rob’s parents’ cat brings live mice inside the house and then lets them go.

    The very day I posted the mouse story, Rob greeted me when I came home with, “You’re going to freak out. There’s a big mouse in one of the traps.”

    THEN he said, “I left this one for you to take out, since I got the last one.”

    Yeah, I don’t think so. I betrayed my gender and said, “I do girl things like laundry and dishes for the precise reason that you then have to do guy things like take out the mouse carcass.”

    We’re getting an ultrasonic pest deterrer.

  2. mesmerising!

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