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13 November 2007 @ 09:09 pm

Don worked late last night, so I was all alone when the power went out. I was sitting on the couch reading Ysabel, contemplating whether I ought to start a fire and lo! off went the lights. Perhaps two or there seconds later, they came back on. Went out again. Then on. Twice more, and I was in utter darkness. I stood for several moments, trying to recall the location of the nearest flashlight. “Hmm,” thought I. “If only I had firelight by which to find my way. dumbass.” I made it into the kitchen relatively unscathed (I only whammed into one piece of furniture), found a flashlight and a lighter and began lighting candles. Once they were going, I started a fire in the woodstove. I think the Fire Gods took pity on me, because it caught beautifully, and was putting out a fair amount of heat in no time.

I’d just settled on the floor with my book and a glass of wine when I heard the rapid patter of kitty feet. Isabeau was on the couch and Zee was curled up on the ottoman. They perked up, curious, as Jilly trotted into the room. In the dim, flickering light, I saw she was chasing after something: a toy, perhaps, or a crumpled bit of paper she was batting along. The object slowed to a halt in a pool of candlelight. “Ooh!” I squeaked, pathetically and stereotypically. “We have mouse!” The poor thing looked up at me equal parts fear and disdain. "really, giant lady? you’re shrieking because of me? try being chased by three lion-creatures." In my defense, my girly-noises stemmed from surprise rather than any sort of distress. I’ve no fear of mice. Still, I’d rather not have them sharing my living space.

*the intruder* actual size! (heh. not really)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The chase resumed, this time with the full complement - as already noted by the wee rodent - of kitties and myself. Kitties showed no desire to do anything other than chase. Save for expiring of a fear-induced heart attack, little grey mouse was in no imminent danger. It scuttled to the wall and under the sideboard, then past the yoga mat and target mitts beneath the TV table.

It may have found a way behind the baseboards, for I couldn’t find it after that. Pity, too, ‘cause I had my catch-and-release gear standing by. I can do wonders with a greeting card and a plastic cup, let me tell you. I should start tallying the number of successful releases. It would be impressive. (side note: eight hornets - EIGHT! - today alone. what were they all doing inside of my bay window?)

There were no more sightings of l.g.m. that evening, though the kitties kept a weather eye out. I rather hoped it had found its way back to the basement (at least I’m assuming that’s where it came from).

Today, as I sat down to breakfast, I noticed Isabeau clambering on top of a speaker, trying to get her paws down behind it. Then, I saw a teeny grey head poke around the side before darting out of paw range. l.g.m. was back. I tried to lure him out with cheese - Saturday morning cartoons taught me that such a treat was irresistible to rodents - to no avail. Curse you, animators! That's right, Mr. Barbera. I'm looking at you. As the cheese hardened on the floor, I wondered what I ought to do. Letting l.g.m. get comfy in the living room really wasn’t an option. Neither was a snap- or glue- trap.

It seems l.g.m. sensed this, and that he wanted out of the crazy kitty-fueled merry-go-round as much as I wanted him gone. In the early afternoon, when all three of my girls were taking naps - stalking mice with no intention of actually hunting or killing them is exhausting - I noticed movement beneath the wood holder. l.g.m. sat, front paw raised as if to say, "hey, giant-lady. please don’t scream, but I’d really like to go now. kthx." I refrained from commenting upon the ‘scream’ thing. Instead, moving with stealth (trying very hard to keep said movements from being ‘cat-like’ lest I spur l.g.m. into making another run for it) I gathered up my plastic cup and greeting card and knelt down on the hearth. lgm crossed it’s wee arms and tapped it’s hind paw. "any day now, giant-lady." I placed the cup over it, tucked its tail under the lip, and slid the card beneath. "about time!" l.g.m. grumbled. I shook the cup a few times.* Even mice need an occasional lesson in humility.

I took cup and card and captive mouse out into the clear November afternoon. “You’re free now, l.g.m.!” I cried, and let the creature out onto the carpet of leaves. It ran directly toward me, resting for a moment on my shoe. It might have stopped there as an acknowledgment of the service I had done it, or it might have paused to pee a little. Either way, it was off into the woods a moment later. Mission accomplished.

Now I have to accept the fact that where there was one mouse, there are very likely more. Traps (the kind that don’t kill the mice!) need to go in the attic and in the basement. *sigh* I’m already worried about releasing them outside when it’s cold and snowy. I may have to set up little mouse condos - bird houses, maybe, placed on the ground and lined with cotton ball, a ready supply of seed close to hand.

*I totally didn't
I feel: accomplishedaccomplished
La Petite Souris Scientifiquemelebeth on November 14th, 2007 03:06 am (UTC)
Shrieking is a natural response to little things darting around the corner of your vision. I'm not afraid of mice either, but I reliably scream when surprised :)

You, however, did much better with your mouse than I did with my chipmunk
Kel: power girlladyjoust on November 14th, 2007 03:50 am (UTC)
Exactly so! Thanks. I feel a million times better, and chances are excellent I won't have to turn in my 'moderately bad-ass' card.

Andrewquueer on November 14th, 2007 03:07 am (UTC)
Do you know how much I would pay to be sitting in front of a fire with a book and a glass of... well, probably cocoa cos I don't drink. But still.
Kel: kindred spiritsladyjoust on November 14th, 2007 03:48 am (UTC)
It's not an impressive fire, admittedly, but it heats the main room and looks sort of pretty. And you're welcome to have cocoa at my fire when you're in the neighborhood. I'll even make the cocoa with real milk and throw in some cinnamon.
Ilena Ayalanetsearcher on November 14th, 2007 03:24 am (UTC)

I had excellent luck with the Tomcat Multiple catch and release unit (the one all the way on the right in the photo).

Until one bored mouse chewed it's way out through the plastic. Lesson: don't leave them in too long. Check it regularly and if it's occupied and you can't take it outside soonish, at least put it in some other container meanwhile.

Peanut butter and chocolate are good bait. I would dab a bit of PB and stick a bit of chocolate into it.
Kel: pounce!ladyjoust on November 14th, 2007 03:47 am (UTC)
Thank you!! I'll try to pick one up in the next day or so. Hardware stores should have them, no? And, one installed, I will check it every day.

Funny... seems the magical combination of chocolate and peanut butter transcends species. If aliens ever invade, I'm offering them Reese's cups. All plans of intergalactic war will dissolve in a wash of deliciousness.

Ilena Ayalanetsearcher on November 14th, 2007 07:34 pm (UTC)
I only saw them in the one hardware store (Cornell Hardware in ?Bronxville?). It's where I get brewing stuff. When the one got chewed on, I tried unsuccessfully to repair it, and then looked in one or two places closer to home, without success.

So I think I need to go back to where I got the original one from. I may do that today, as I've been without a working trap for over a year now. :-p
Ilena Ayalanetsearcher on November 15th, 2007 01:45 pm (UTC)
As a follow up, I bought a pair of traps yesterday (the low profile version, as they were out of the model I'd gotten previously.

They were baited and set out about 5:30pm. One in the kitchen, one in the cellar.

The one in the cellar had a single occupant this morning. If this goes like last time, I'll have a mouse every day or two.

They're THAT good.
Julietfair_juliet on November 14th, 2007 03:55 am (UTC)
none of the Scuttles clan stood still long enough for us to catch them. The difference between city mice and country mice i guess.
Kelladyjoust on November 14th, 2007 04:03 am (UTC)
Those city mice: always on the go: appointments to keep, places to scuttle.
Aifacat: Emma!aifacat on November 14th, 2007 04:00 am (UTC)
Hee hee - i love this story!

My father was sure that their two cats had made some sort of deal with the mice last year since they stopped catching/eating them and seemed to be literally hanging out with them and sharing their food.

'Course, that mouse-clan must have moved on as the cats are back to their mouse-chomping ways, lol...
(Anonymous) on November 14th, 2007 05:08 am (UTC)
Yikes, I am glad your little mousie didn't go for the cheese. Saturday morning cartoons lie, they lie! Cheese actually kills mice, by overheating their blood. Your mousie is better off cheeseless.
Ea Quae Legiteaquaelegit on November 14th, 2007 05:42 am (UTC)
That was me. Stupid computer.
Kelladyjoust on November 14th, 2007 06:45 am (UTC)
So hate it when it arbitrarily logs me out.

But I'm glad to hear the truth that Hannah/Barbera never wanted us to know. Clearly, l.g.m. was in the know.
Kerry: Jekyll smilescreamingdolai on November 14th, 2007 03:07 pm (UTC)
Can I just say how I love you?
Kel: huminah-Guyladyjoust on November 15th, 2007 02:09 am (UTC)
&hearts !

funny how much I'm using this icon lately. I guess it's my little gift to those who are appreciative and very much deserving. :)
(no subject) - trongersoll on November 14th, 2007 06:24 pm (UTC) (Expand)