We've never had a mouse problem in any of our homes, that is until the past few weeks. One night, I was watching a hockey game and heard this scratching noise behind me. It's the wind, I told myself and turned up the sound on the TV. The next night, the same noise. Only, it wasn't windy.
I threw a pillow against the wall. The noise stopped. Ten minutes later, it was back again. I turned the TV off and walked out to the living room. Finally some peace and quiet.
But this time the scratching came from one of our vents.
Doing what every responsible homeowner would do in my situation, I shut off the lights and headed upstairs to bed.
Now, I have a confession to make. I'm scared of mice. There, I said it and can already feel your stares of shame. Don't ask me to explain. I just am. I've worked for mortuary services and done home removals and I'll tell you I'd rather remove a dead body than deal with mice.
The funny thing is I'm not sure why. When I was a kid, I had hamsters. Dozens of them in fact. I started with a fluffy golden brown Siberian boy hamster named Camille. But he was lonely, so we got him a playmate, another boy named Clifford. One day, we woke up and discovered ten squirmy orange creatures in Clifford's cage, leaving us to question if Clifford was living ahead of his time.
One would think if I liked hamsters, I'd like mice. But that's not the case.
When it comes to dealing with mice, Janan is the brave one. Just speaking of mice brings this cold, calculated look across her face. Mice fear her and for good reason. I've seen her say things about mice that would shock the hardened mind, and I've even watched her ruthlessly club a mouse over the head with a paint can.
I on the other hand prefer to avoid them and would rather just move and let them have their privacy.
But sometimes you don't have that option. Such was our story.
Within a few days, mice started popping up everywhere. It turns out my avoidance technique wasn't effective, and we soon found mice in our pantry, garage, kids' kitchen, under the sink, and on our back porch.
It got so bad we had to start dumping jars of peanut butter outside our neighbor's homes in hopes they'd go somewhere else.
While I'd like to cautiously think we are over the worst of the battle, there are several profound choices we had to make for this to happen. Choices that might help you deal with your own mousey problems.
No one likes to deal with mice. It's easier to avoid them or turn up the noise so we don't hear them. But this only works for so long. And pretty soon, if you don't take action soon enough, everything is covered in poop.
This is a major debate in our household. Zeke hates mice. Remember that 1997 movie Mouse Hunt where mice take over an entire house? I think that's what Zeke thinks might happen. Zoey is just the opposite. She feels sorry for mice and gives us stares of shame every time we set out a fresh trap.
Truth is, mice are kind of cute. Just look at this picture. Adorable, right?
If Zeke were in charge of our house, he'd burn it to the ground and have us rebuild a fortress to keep every mouselike creature miles away. If Zoey had her way, we'd turn our house into a mouse animal shelter.
Both approaches aren't great.
I blame this point on Janan. Because of her, we've launched an all-out offensive. We've employed ultrasonic mouse repellers, glue traps, snap traps, mouse poison, and other weapons of mouse destruction.
We've titled it, "Operation Byer Freedom."
Not only have we declared war, but we've also sealed up cracks around our crawlspace and outlined our home in mouse-repellant.
Construction on a mote is still pending.
It turns out mice like food, especially dog food. I think they look at it as their invitation to invade. And when it's been a few weeks since you'd swept up your garage floor, mousy temptations start to accumulate.
It's a radical concept, but we've discovered there are some things we can do that deter mice from entering our home.
Now to some, they'd say this approach is a bit radical. "Ezra, you can't get rid of every mouse. Are you some kind of perfectionistic psycho? Everyone has their mice problems. The key is containment."
I get that. I'm not saying we'll never have any mice ever again. But one thing I can say is we've taken this problem seriously. And the way I see it, if we can go ten minutes without mice, perhaps we can go an hour and even a day without them.
Mousey living doesn't have to be the norm.