Political pillow talk at my house has always been a mix of reasonable centrist attitudes and extreme views on select social issues. Lately Mr. D and I have been engaged in heated debate over gun control--I'll leave you guessing as to which end of the gridlock I've parked myself. Slippery slope debate reigns on one side of the gridlock (because of course, if we take away semiautomatic weapons, all the single shot rifles and shotguns used for hunting will be targeted next by reasonable gun control laws). Stunning logic reigns on the other end of the gridlock (if someone's going to shoot you or mug you or assault you, do you really think you'll have time to dig around in your purse or holster to grab your pistol?). In the midst of our verbal sparring, Mr. D and I are conspirators in a bloody war against rodents in our garage.
As of late summer we had a marvelous cat who kept the mice population down to tolerable levels (read: zero mice in our yard or in our garage). Then she died and we got a dog whose idea of a good time in our garage is emptying the recycle bin one item at a time, and dragging the empty yogurt containers and old newspapers to various spots around the yard. Imagine a big, hairy, panting two-year-old making a mess by emptying all of your kitchen cupboards onto the floor and you get the idea. Jax is totally worthless when it comes to finding mice or killing them.
Since the cat died, the mice have returned. Tiny holes have been torn in the birdseed bags, bitty droppings line the edges of the floor, my auto mechanic found a giant nest on the engine block of the Momvan last week. It's two steps up from the garage to our house. We have to defend our turf.
I pondered the merits of poison, but I want proof of dead varmints, and I worry Jax will eat the poison since he eats everything else he can fit in his mouth. I opted for several packages of mouse traps.
You know you've got a rodent infestation when you retrieve your first corpse within 30 minutes of setting your first trap.
Reader, have you ever set a mouse trap? It's tricky business. First you have to bait it, then you have to hold the snapping bar down with your thumb and lock it into place using the most sensitive point of balance in the known universe. If you don't get the trap set just so, it snaps shut and flies out of your hands. Or, in my case, snaps shut on your finger with force equivalent to Vin Diesel slamming a car door.
Because setting a mouse trap requires the same level of caution and careful concentration as transporting uranium, the slightest jostle while moving the trap to the garage floor where a mouse can find it will result in more crushed fingers and a barrage of loud, inventive cursing.
Funny enough, I don't want to trap the mice so much as decimate them. The only good mouse is a dead mouse and we've thrown about a dozen of their tiny carcasses into the garbage. Of all those dead mice, I'm only responsible for one because I've given up on setting the traps. My fingers are bruised and my nerves are totally frayed--a 50 cent wood-and-metal mechanism has me so terrified that I've given up trying to use it.
The other type of mouse trap available is a sort of sticky mat that renders the mouse walking across immobile. Mr. D says they're inhumane. I don't entirely agree with him, but I also don't relish having to finish off the trapped mice with the business end of my garden shovel.
I think I'd prefer to sit in our cold garage with a loaded gun and just blast the vermin into kingdom come. Effective, less visually disturbing and considerably safer, right?