We have a mouse problem, and I am single-handedly fighting a one-trap war against these invasive, but adorable, little rodents. Our first sign that we had a problem was when we realized we could frequently spot, in the span of less than a minute, no fewer than four mice in our kitchen running away to their various hidey-holes whenever we stepped into the room. The second sign that we had a problem was when we realized the horrible stench of urine we’d been smelling for days was coming from beneath the microwave (we’ve all been getting over colds the last couple of weeks, so our sniffers haven’t exactly been in top form) — which is apparently where mice go to use the potty. (And yes, I just said ‘potty.’ We have a two-year-old, ok? Don’t judge me.)

So for the last three days, I’ve been repeatedly baiting and setting the one, single mousetrap I’ve been able to find in our house, and setting it back in a corner, behind boxes of cereal, cutting boards, and various culinary devices on top of our refrigerator, which is where it seems all of the cool mice go to hang out these days. And in the last three days, I’ve trapped and killed somewhere in the range of twenty mice. (I stopped actually counting after the first ten.) My kill rate has been hindered somewhat only by the fact that I occasionally have to sleep or run out of the house to do farm work or run errands.

Yesterday morning, for instance, after I woke up and took the dog out for her early morning constitutional, I checked the trap, and sure enough! Dead mouse. Being the brave man, husband, and father that I am, I squeamishly reached back into that dark space and gently tugged the trap and corpsified rodent out into the light of day. And trust me, folks, it was not a pretty scene. I emptied the trap, rebaited it, reset it, and ever so carefully nudged it back into its hole to await the next unsuspecting victim. I literally had not walked more than three steps away when SNAP! Victim #2 for the day. Empty, bait, reset, hide. This time I made it as far as my desk. Bear in mind, my desk is only two rooms away from the kitchen, and the way our house is laid out, I have direct line of sight to the kitchen. So when the traps trips off, I hear it loud and clear. I’ve started to get used to the rhythm of clearing and resetting the trap whenever it catches something. It’s almost Pavlovian in a way, only there’s not much of a reward in it for me aside from the grim satisfaction of temporarily reducing the local rodent population. When I checked the trap this time, I discovered I’d won myself a two-for. Hey, at least they were sharing.

I briefly considered using mouse poison in this war. There are plenty of places I could set the bait out so that neither dog nor two-year-old could get at it. The problem, however, is the cat. Mice are not known for being particularly cooperative creatures (as evidenced by the existence of the problem in the first place), so the last thing I needed was for a mouse to get into the poison, decide to run to its nearest watering hole (or refrigerator top) for a chat with the other mice, and get caught in the process by the cat. Poisoning the resident feline by proxy is not on my bucket list.

So the battle rages on, and I think I’m finally starting to wear the filthy little critters down. I’ve only had to reset the trap once today.

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