You may remember a while back, I mentioned we had a problem with mice. Had, as in last year, as in before we spent many long days patching up holes with steel wool and caulk and deep cleaning the heck out of all our cabinets and drawers. Well. The problem came back.
The first time it happened this year, I knew immediately what it was. The sound of a mouse doing the uneven parallel bars in your oven is unlike anything else I've heard and I'd recognize it anywhere. Last year, when we had the problem, I was the one at home who heard the sound several times a week. Once, on a particularly brave day, I actually opened the oven. The sight of a mouse dangling from the rack I cook pizza on is something I only had to see once. Never again did I have to open the oven to know exactly what was going on.
No matter how many times I heard it, Bill never quite believed me. "How did they get in the oven?" he'd ask skeptically, like I was the one opening the door and setting out cheese.
His role in the ordeal was to rush home from work anytime I saw the cat run down the hall with a tail sticking out of his mouth. I could trap the cat in a room but I could not clean up decapitated mouse parts. He also set the live traps and emptied them whenever we were lucky enough to catch anything. I can see now that rescuing the pests we were trying to get rid of and humanely dropping them onto our back lawn where they would land with a slight thud and then run into our basement and back up the walls into our kitchen may have been part of our problem. Hindsight is always 20/20.
This year, we were both in the kitchen when I heard the unmistakable ting, ting, ting. "There's a mouse in the oven," I told him plainly. No need to panic, I was standing well on the other side of the island. He gave me the look and then, without hesitation, HE OPENED THE OVEN! "What are you doing?!" I screeched, and ducked behind my two year old son. Bill slammed the oven and looked at me in complete shock, "There really is a mouse in there."
The next time he heard a mouse, I was lucky enough to be in another room. Since he didn't need to open the oven to prove what was inside, he did the next most logical thing: cranked it up to broil and gassed the mouse. When he ran down the hall to tell me the news, I gave him the look and said something like, "Well, whatever you have to do to get rid of them." Gassed the mouse? Come on. I may not know much about ovens but I am pretty sure that's not the way they work. If you could kill something simply by turning a knob, surely we would all be dead by now. No matter how skeptical I was, Bill was certain he heard ting, ting, ting followed by a loud whoosh! of gas followed by silence. Agree to disagree.
Fast forward a couple of months longer than I'm comfortable admitting...
A friend of Bill's comes over to help finish the front porch project but things get delayed because of the rain. To kill time, they decide to open up the oven to see if they can figure out why it's not working right. See, a little while back (like, say, the moment after Bill gassed a mouse in the oven), the oven started to act up. Every time we'd turn it on, the house would fill with gas and it would take ages to heat up. I suppose this was about the same time we stopped spotting mice. Out-of-sight, out-of-mind. Again with the hindsight.
A quick inspection of the oven settled the score once and for all. The little mouse gymnast not only got gassed, it also got charred. To a crisp. In our oven.
If rodents like to gossip, our house will live on as the ultimate cautionary tale. I doubt we'll ever have a problem again.
On another note...
I discovered some more loot from the in-laws today - 7 pounds of birdseed and a torso-sized jug of vinegar. We are so loved!