Sunday, January 28, 2007

I hope you realize, this means war.

Every home ownership experience involves critters. My dad spent most of my childhood years hunting down chipmunks and squirrels as they made residence in the eaves of our garage. I would often find him peering out the window like Lee Harvey Oswald, pellet gun sight to his eye, waiting to smear death across the rooftops. My sister had an issue with flying squirrels in her attic (and yes, moose in her basement and a strange Russian couple in her garage), only to find out that they were a protected breed of flying squirrel and couldn't be killed or trapped. They could only be politely asked to leave, which didn't work so well.

As for us? Mice.

You'll recall before this whole renovation started, it was a veritable Stuart Little sequel in here. Well, now the little F*@ker has taken up residence in our tool shed.

Our shed has always been a magnet for critters. Heck, if it was a choice between the cold wilderness and the warmth of insulated PVC plastic, I know which one I'd pick. So this fall, I was careful to pack up all our spring deck furniture and other items carefully to ensure the best protection. Unfortunately, I found that all I did was make it more convenient for the little varmint to set up shop.

Today I popped open the shed to retrieve a sled for the kids, only to be greeted by the familiar stench of mouse pee. I looked around and at first didn't find anything, until I looked up on the top shelf in the back. On that shelf were the half dozen deck chair cushions, neatly piled high and out of the way. Bits of grass and twigs were poking out from between them. As I shifted them over, I was greeted by a bonanza of mouse turds, along with a nasty concoction of mouse-pee-soaked nest materials. Luckily he hadn't decided to eat his way into the cushions, but he certainly enjoyed using it as his loo.

Below that shelf was a 6-foot long cardboard box that contained the umbrella for the deck table. You know, insulated carboard is not something you should keep in a shed. The mouse had decided to make a condo unit out of the box, and on his way discovered that the fabric of the umbrella made for quite a tasty treat.

That deck furniture set wasn't cheap.

As I pulled everything out of the shed, I saw him. There he was, standing in the corner on the top shelf, looking at me like I was a shopping mall developer and he was the last resident to hold out and not sell to The Man. And I couldn't find a damned thing to throw at him.

When we discovered mice in the house last year, I felt full of remorse at the idea of using those "sticky" traps to get rid of them. But this time, it's personal. Enjoy your peanut butter, you varmint scum, for it's going to be your last meal.

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