I hate rodents...especially little rodents of the type that can crawl into a hole smaller than a penny and find their way into places that they just shouldn't be in. But, this really isn't a story about my hatred of rodents. For as much as I hate rodents, Ben hates them a thousand times more.
I didn't really discover Ben's rodent phobia until we moved into our house almost seven years ago. You see, we have a slight rodent problem at our house (I've debated whether or not to write about our rodent problem because, really, who wants to know about rodents finding their way into my house?! I don't even want to know about rodents in my house!) that began the first Fall we moved in with the appearance of a living, breathing, mouse-like/shrew thingy on our basement steps. In no time at all, Ben captured the intruder in a Tupperware bowl and took it out back to take care of it. At the time, I didn't want to see it and I didn't really care what was done with it...as long as it was gone and did not ever come back, I was good.
And, I did feel good about how Ben handled the whole situation and thought nothing of it until I realized that nightly, Ben was making inspections around the house with a can of expanding insulation foam filling up every single nook and cranny he could find. He came home from Ace Hardware one evening with enough mouse poison to kill an entire army. All of a sudden there were traps springing up everywhere. He would wake up in the middle of the night asking if I could hear anything. And, anytime he found something that remotely resembled a mouse dropping, the whole process would ensue again.
So, feeling safe that I apparently lived with the mouse Rambo, I thought nothing of the scratching I heard early one Saturday morning when I was about seven months pregnant with Allie. I was laying in bed, exhausted from tossing and turning all night, listening intently to this strange sound that seemed to be coming from underneath the head of our bed. Eventually, as the scratching seemed to get louder, I woke up my mouse-slaying hubby and told him I thought I heard something. He listened for a moment, then immediately sat bolt upright in bed, not daring to move a muscle. I kept pleading with him to tell me what was going on, but he didn't respond....he just sat there, rigid and stiff, while I looked on in curious disbelief.
And, then the unthinkable happened. As I slowly hoisted my pregnant belly up to join him where he sat on the edge of the bed, I looked back at my pillow to see the THING climbing up onto MY PILLOW! I screamed...and then I screamed again. I'm pretty certain he screamed, but the whole thing is kind of a blur to me now. I remember yelling something about why he didn't tell me what he thought it was sooner. Then, I ran...yessiree, I ran as fast as any 7-month pregnant woman can run...I ran out of the bedroom, slammed the door, and told him I wasn't going to let him out until that thing was dead....or at least contained in a Tupperware bowl.
Since that fateful day almost six years ago, we've found about one mouse/shrew a year. So, we don't have an infestation or anything...more than likely there is one spot that they squeeze their way into occasionally..and it drives my mouse-hating husband INSANE. Since he's gone on his mouse-killing quest, we thankfully don't find them alive very often anymore, but that still doesn't ease Ben's resolve to rid our house of them.
Just for record's sake (and to further disgust you all), over the past six years we've found a dead one in the drop-ceiling in the basement, a petrified one in my mop bucket, a newly dead and still fuzzy one in my kitchen cabinet, and I stumbled upon a rigor-mortised specimen right in front of our toilet.
Anyway, imagine the thrill in Ben's voice on Wednesday when I told him over the phone that I thought I possibly found a few mouse droppings in Allie's room. The sudden cheery voice on the other end of the line was no more...and I knew I had evoked the return of the serial mouse killer.
After a massive cleaning of Allie's room (because there is ALWAYS a massive cleaning/disinfecting after finding any evidence of rodents in my house), we found nothing. But, just to be safe, Ben came home from work and ripped apart the entire basement in search of the critter...and found nothing.
Annoyed and feeling defeated, we headed to bed only to be woken up bright and early at 3:30 am by a terrified 5-year-old girl reporting the sounds of "tap-dancing" on her ceiling. After checking things out, Ben still found nothing, but he made sure to re-bait the traps before putting Allie to bed tonight (We also had to play down the whole fear-of-mice thing or else I'm quite certain Allie would not have gone to sleep tonight).
After putting Allie to bed, Ben ventured outside to check one last spot where he thought it possible that the vermin were entering. We have two egress windows in our basement and often shrews/mice get stuck down there. In fact, last night Ben noticed a live frog in one window well and a dead mouse in another. We notice more critters seem to get stuck down there when there is a lot of rain (and we've had LOTS of rain this week).
Anyway, Ben thought there may be an opening, or part of the window that isn't completely sealed to the house and that the mouse/shrew-things were somehow squeezing in there. So, when he went down there to check it out, he discovered that the live frog from last night was no longer alive.
If you are kind of grossed out by this type of thing, you may want to stop reading now...you can't say that I didn't warn you.
And, because this is really starting to creep me out as well, I will just quote Ben...
"Part of its (the frog's) leg was in a little hole at the bottom of the window and it was being jiggled. So, I pulled the frog out of the hole with a rake and then I heard a squeak. So I stuck the last bit of poison I had by the hole and tomorrow I need to get some super duper expandable foam...the kind that busts drywall...and seal that sucker up...and some caulk."
And, thus concludes my story for the evening. Six years. It has taken him six years, but he has FINALLY found their entrance...and by tomorrow at this time it will be sealed and the battle will be no more. We can all rest peacefully from now on...and I can finally put my Tupperware to better use.