Doing the mouse dance

May 8, 2014

PatFor months we have been looking forward to our first trip up to the camper in Roscommon.

We leave our 26-foot trailer there year-round on family property. It saves gas and time hauling it up each spring and back each fall, and every spring we plan an early weekend to go up and clean it up and stock it up for the season.

Last weekend was our date to do just that and we headed out Friday expecting a quick clean up, some shopping and having the rest of the weekend to relax and get away from it all.

It was a terrible weekend.

Of course it rained.  No problem, we usually just take along a couple of books and some movies and take naps when the weather isn’t great.

Didn’t get to do any of that this time though.

When we arrived around 2 p.m., we discovered that a family of “squatters’ had taken up residence in our little “home away from home.”

I’ll admit it; I’m an animal lover, as long as the little critters stay outside where they belong. Not so this time. Evidently this family of field mice had moved in to get away from a long cold winter and set up housekeeping in our cozy little trailer.

We found their “leavings” in every lower cupboard, in the drawers, all over my once clean counters, in the sink, inside the furnace cover…just about everywhere. No sign of the culprits themselves though.

Having had this problem before a couple of times, we had packed up all of the dishes, pots and pans and other items in plastic bins before we closed up last fall. No problem there, so we proceeded to clean everything up and disinfect every drawer and cupboard. Found small “nests” in several places, including the furnace – we always check there since a few years back, a mouse died in there and we needed the heat and, well you can guess the rest of that one…it took quite a while to “air it out.”

All of the blankets, sheets and pillows were stored under the bed, one place where we had never had a problem. Well this time, we had packed too much in the enclosed space and must have left the cover up just a crack because when we lifted the mattress framework and started taking things out, there they were – Mama, papa and babies, all nice and cozy in there – with plenty of soft stuff for nesting too.

They panicked, we panicked and for the next few minutes it was chaos! Jack keeps a one-inch dowel rod in there to hold up the mattress frame. He yelled at me to hold the bed up and grabbed it – a good weapon against these fierce creatures I guess.

I think we may have invented a new dance. He was jumping around and trying to impale one, while I was – well just jumping around – I’m not very brave when I think they might actually “touch” me.  In fact once when the kids were young I climbed up on the dinner table – with the food – when one ran across the kitchen floor while we were eating. My kids have never let me forget that one…

One adult escaped and ran behind the top of the mattress. The other wasn’t so lucky and believe it or not, Jack, the mighty mouse hunter got him on only about the 15th try. The other disappeared somewhere.

We still didn’t know about the babies, but soon found a huge nest and four of them in there, and they were scooped up and deposited in the field outside.

During all the excitement in the camper, Peanut was just watching our antics with a very confused look – not much of a hunter, that Yorkie.

We lost two blankets, four pillows, two sleeping bags, a comforter and spread, as well as some sheets etc. Mice may not be very big, but they are certainly pretty destructive. Only about three things were not “chewed” and those, now stored in the garage, will be going to the Laundromat.

Cleaning and disinfecting the space took up the rest of the day and most of our evening, with an hour off to eat out and a shopping trip to buy new bedding. When we finally were able to “hit the sack,” it was 10 p.m.

Saturday, we continued the cleaning project, since the weather was awful and we couldn’t get outside much. There was one trip to town for mousetraps and peanut butter, and after I finished cleaning the floors, we set them all around the place. And, Sunday morning our escapee was in one of them.

It was a long hard weekend, and I certainly got my fill of “spring cleaning” this year.

To top off our weekend, Sunday morning we woke up to a snowstorm!

We looked at each other, laughed and decided it was time to pack up and come home and get some much-needed  rest…

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