Of Mice and Mess 1/23/22

Thoughts with Richard Bleil

The truth is that I am not a good housekeeper.  Depression, when it hits, makes it hard for me to do what many people would consider to be the bare minimum in housekeeping.  I tend to leave plastic garbage on the floor, as well, as plastic grocery bags.  I figure I’ll get around to them later, and if it’s not biodegradable, it’s no big deal.  It won’t rot or smell, so I can just grab it when I’m up to it.  Sadly, the more garbage that ends up on my floor, the bigger the job, and the more it feeds into my depression.  Right now, my house looks like a tornado hit it.  It’s all my fault, and, again, it’s not stinky garbage, so it’s not all that bad.  But it’s still rather depressing.

Part of the problem, too, is that I don’t have actual plastic food containers.  This is suddenly a much bigger problem for me.  Maybe not suddenly, though, because I have a mouse problem.  They’re so very cute, but it’s still a problem.  I wrote about one that I caught last year previously, a little guy I called “Rocky”.  Well, you know me.  There’s an old saying that if you see one mouse, there are a hundred that you don’t see.  Most people would say that I need to address the problem, but it’s bigger than the mice.

In my basement, where they had built the third and final addition onto my house, they knocked a huge hole in the brick wall.  Whoever did it did not do it well.  This wall is maybe six foot wide by three feet high.  It goes underneath the flooring of the third extension, which did not have foundation laid for it.  Instead, it was built on pillars, not unlike those that you would find under a backyard deck.  The idea of the hole was to be able to send water pipes and duct work into the extension, which was not done well either and doesn’t work well. 

This means that there is a huge hole for critters to walk into my basement.  In my mind, it doesn’t make sense to put in serious effort to get rid of the mice until I deal with that huge hole in my house.  Instead, I’m trying to just mitigate the situation.  It’s my desire to try to keep the mice from getting out of control, but I think I’m too late.  I’ve purchased a few humane traps, and whenever I catch one, we go for a little trip, and I release them alive. 

So far, this winter, I’ve released three.  Star cornered one, and she showed me that one had been caught in one of my traps.  The third was today.  I finally got some plastic food containers that I will be keeping on top of my refrigerator (just limited space in my cabinets).  About an hour ago, I started going through my cabinets, and separated out food I could keep (with packaging not chewed through) and that which I had to dispose of.  Moving a box, something fell onto my hand, jumped onto the counter, and ran away.

It would be our third capture of the year.  Not at first.  The mouse was very well adept at evasion.  As it scampered into small openings that I could get into, it made its way to the other end of the counter.  It jumped onto the floor when Star made a grab for it, but sadly, the cabinets are not well sealed.  It ran under the cabinets, and I assumed it was gone into the basement.

But it was not so.  Star was simply transfixed on the crack into which it ran.  I continued picking up garbage and transferring safe foods into plastic containers.  Suddenly, Star jumped, and the chase was on.  It scampered (of all places) underneath her food bowl.  Star was ready, and I told her (as if she could understand me), “when it runs out, you catch it!”  I lifted the food bowl, out it ran, and she caught it.

Star is so good.  She doesn’t actually kill the mice, but she does capture them.  She gave it to me, and I took it out. 

But I think that there is a lesson here.  This mouse, brash and brave, certainly wasn’t very fast.  It wasn’t strong.  It couldn’t outrun either me or Star, but it knew its strengths.  It could hide.  It could scamper into small places that Star and I couldn’t reach, until it’s final mistake of running under a dish that I could lift, and even then, to took the skills of both Star and myself to finally end the hunt.  All turned out well, the mouse is alive and well (and oh, so cute), and out of the house, but it knew it’s strength and kept to them.  It eluded capture by keeping to its strengths.  Maybe this is the way of success in general.  Maybe, if we keep to our strengths, we would be more successful in life. 

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