Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Not a Creature Was Stirring, Not Even a ... Wait ... Aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!

All right, peeps, I'm putting myself out there in a big way by sharing this story with you!  But for the sake of my ugly pride, I do have to let you know that we really are clean people!  Granted, if you've ever been to my house and taken a peek in my bedroom, there is mountain of cleaned-and-dried-but-never-folded-or-put-away clothes at the foot of my bed, but other than that we really do keep it fairly straight around here.  So our adventures over the past few days have definitely taken us by surprise, to say the least!

It all started around 9:30 Saturday night when I was in bed editing a friend's book, just minding my own business.  (Fortunately, the girls were already asleep.)  Suddenly, I heard Greg say, "Oh my goodness!  Was that ... HONEY, come here!!!"

I ran into the living room and saw Greg strategically standing in a place where he could see both openings that lead out of the kitchen.  "I think I just saw a" —well, he finished the sentence, but I still can't quite bring myself to say the word in a connection with a story that took place in my house.  So we'll just call it "Ralph S."  Or "Stuart Little."  Or "one of those three blind guys."  You get the idea.

He told me to go by the door in the living room, and he went by the door in the breakfast area.  Between the two of us, we were gonna catch that little dude by surprise and throw a plastic shoebox over it to trap it.  (Yeah, not really what great stories are made of, but it's all we had handy.)

So we each manned our stations and prepared to attack.  Our eyes were scanning furiously with each baby step we took, but the next thing we knew, we were face-to-face with each other with no ... you know ... "Ralph" ... to be found anywhere.

Let me just tell you how much it'll make your skin crawl to know that a critter is somewhere in your kitchen, but you don't have any idea where.  Our new fridge only has about 1/8 of an inch on either side of it.  There was no way he could have squeezed through that opening.  Even so, we pulled it out just to see if he had somehow gone underneath it to hide.  No luck.

Now we were really puzzled.  Greg just built our kitchen cabinets about a year and a half ago, and because we did the construction ourselves and knew how they were built, we knew there was no way ol' Ralphie could have made his way into the cabinets. But we didn't know where else to look, so we searched every last one of them.  Nothin'.  Grrrr!

The only other place we could even imagine was on the side of the dishwasher.  That opening is around 1/4 of an inch.  Rather than messing with the plumbing, Greg said, "That's it.  I'm going to Wal-Mart to get some traps.  You stay here and watch the kitchen and see if he comes out again."
I set up a work area on the kitchen counter so I could still edit but my peripheral vision would allow me to see any sudden movement.  About 10 minutes later, I saw a gray blob come out from next to the refrigerator.  (Don't even ask.  I have no idea.  Honestly, the gap is 1/8 of an inch.)  I went from "calm, collected, quiet, adult" mode to "panic-stricken, jumping-up-and-down, squealing-like-a-second-grade-girl" mode in about .0005 seconds.  But I saw it.  It ran between the dishwasher and the kitchen sink cabinet, and I knew where it was.  Things were not gonna end up well for ol' Ralph.  He had picked the wrong house to try to move into.
I called Greg to tell him the latest news and ask him to please rush home and save me from the savage beast! 
He showed up about 3 hours 10 minutes later with every kind of trap Wal-Mart sold and proceeded to put two sticky traps out, one on each side of the dishwasher.  "Ha!" I thought.  "We gotcha now!"  It was really just a matter of waiting, so we tried to sit and relax and watch TV.  ("Relax."  Yeah, right.)  I eventually ended up going into the school room to do some work on the computer, and Greg stayed in the living room.
About 20 minutes later, he said, "Oh my goodness!  It just ran under the ottoman!"  We spent the next 30 minutes chasing that little devil all around the living room and into the school room, moving every piece of furntire we own in the process, and we finally—finally—caught it!
As a homeschool mom, I felt it was my responsibility to take pictures of the mouse for nature study.  And as a blogging homeschool mom, I felt it was my responsibility to take pictures of the chaos so you could share the experience with me.  (You're welcome.)

Right after Greg trapped him with the plastic shoebox.

Then he slid him onto the sticky trap. (If you're tempted to leave me a comment letting me know how inhumane these traps are, please don't.  Really.  I used to think they were inhumane, too.  Then I got a visit from an unwelcomed guest.)  :)
The chase started on this side of the living room ....

... then went to this side of the living room.

Next, he headed into the school room.  I was pretty sure I saw him go behind the bookshelf ...

... but he had actually gone under my desk instead.  When he tried to come out, Greg trapped him.  My hero!!!

Remember:  My house, typically pretty orderly.  After chasing Ralphie all over the place, not so much!  :)
Huge adrenaline rush!!!  We got it!!!  As we were putting everything back in its place, we were talking about the whole event.  How in the world did it jump over the trap by the dishwasher?  That was the strangest thing!  But, boy, were we glad that was over!  

About an hour later (around 12:30 because the adrenaline was flowing like crazy after the ... pardon the pun ... rat race), we were watching TV, when Greg saw a gray blur scurry across the kitchen floor!
I heard him say, "You gotta be kiddin' me!"  At first I thought he was kidding, but then I saw the stress all over his face and realized he was dead serious.  So it hadn't jumped over the trap by the dishwasher!  It was a completely different one!  This put a whole new spin on things.  It's one thing for Ralph to somehow take a wrong turn and get into your house.  It's another thing altogether to think that maybe a small family has decided to take up residence in your home.  And why had we never seen any signs of them until now?!
We pulled out the dishwasher, but there was nothing to be found.  We were exhausted at this point—not to mention discouraged—so we jut put out every single trap he had purchased at Wal-Mart and went to bed.
Fast forward to Sunday night.  We were going through the bedtime routine with the girls, and before Hannah got in bed, she ran into the kitchen to check the traps.  "We got one!  We got one!" she yelled.  And sure enough, we had.
So here we are, five days after all the fun began.  The world has one less Ralph S. and one less Stuart Little than it did five days ago, but we haven't had anymore signs of little visitors.  We still don't have any idea how they got into the house to begin with, but we sure are glad they appear to be gone.  And on the bright side, I think Greg is gonna give the garage a massive clean-out this weekend!  :)


Pauline said...

They'd be kinda cute if they didn't have such a horrible reputation for carrying such nasty diseases. Glad you got them and hope there are no more. Growing up, we had a few getting into our house. We could not figure out where they were coming from. Turns out the neighbor's attic was infested with them. Once they FINALLY called someone out to take care of their problem, our rat problem went away too. You'd be surprised at the tiny little spaces those things can fit through.

Cajunrose said...

Ok, that story had me rolling laughing. I am glad you caught the little guys though!

Monica said...

I'm sorry to say...... I'm laughing. I have 3 weiner dogs and a cat..... you want one? They are great Stuart hunters.