Metropolis, IL


Ah, the joys of home ownership

Wednesday, January 11, 2017 - Updated: 11:12 AM
Michele Longworth
It was 9 p.m. when I got home from work a few Mondays ago, and I was talking to my mother on the phone.  I walked into my kitchen and flipped on the kitchen light.
I reached down into the bucket where I keep the cat food and grabbed the scooper and scooped out a dab of food.  I reached down again into the bag and happened to move the bag slightly.
That’s when I spotted something at the bottom of the bucket that was gray.  It was under the bag, and it moved and I knew instantly, it was another mouse.  At that point I began screaming and forgot that Mom was on the line and I heard, “Leah, are you OK?  Michele, what’s going on?”
At that point I fully believe she thought I was getting murdered and was about to hang up and dial 911.
After I got my heart back down into my chest and caught my breath, I explained what I saw.
I say ‘another mouse’ because a week prior to that incident, I was in my kitchen when my male cat came walking quickly into the kitchen and was fixated on something.  It looked like he was watching something on the counter, but I looked and didn’t see anything.  But then I looked again and my eyes went up to the kitchen blinds and there it was — a mouse, dangling on the kitchen window blinds.  The cat saw the mouse, the mouse saw the cat and me, I saw the mouse, and we all three had one of those “deer in the headlights” moments.
I immediately screamed and ran into the living room and called Mom, only that time I wasn’t screaming in her ear.
The very first mouse sighting came about mid October, but I only saw one run and then didn’t see it after that for a few weeks, so I got lulled into being relaxed and comfortable in my house again until I saw the little critter hanging on the blind.
At this point, you might be sensing a pattern — that I’m terrified of the little sneaky creatures.  I know, realistically they are supposed to be more afraid of me, and I’m way bigger, but when I was a child, my Mom would always freak out any time we had a mouse.  So, I know my fear is irrational and a learned behavior.  But, it’s so hard to break.
After spotting the mouse on the blinds, I ended up catching what I thought was a mouse in a trap. Thanks to my neighbor, Jennine, and her husband, Joe, who came over to carry out the glue trap and discovered there were two mice.  He said they were “small,” but he didn’t describe them as “babies.”
I had the pest control company to my house on Dec. 15 and the official word was there were no signs of nesting.  After the inspection came the mouse in the bottom of the bucket, so I don’t know if that mouse was just hiding the day that the pest control company was there or if it managed to sneak its way into the house after he left.
The Wednesday after I saw the mouse in the bottom of the bucket, I again caught what I thought was one mouse, but when Joe came to carry it out, there were again, two “small” mice.
This is the third winter of living in my own house, and the first two winters I never saw any signs of mice.
I’m not exactly sure what has changed or why they want to come into my house, but the whole ordeal has stressed me out.  Four mice in one month has had me on edge.
For 14 years I lived in an apartment in public housing and never saw any sign of a mouse and after not having seen any the past two winters, I guess I had the incorrect notion that my house was mouse proof!
There was a time when I was living and working in Murray, Kentucky, and I saw a mouse in the duplex I was living in at the time.  I ended up packing up a bag and driving to Mom’s house — 75 miles away — and getting up the next morning to drive back to work.  I caught that mouse and had to have a co-worker come by to take it outside.
After the pest control company came, one of the recommendations was to have the holes in my concrete foundation in the front and back porch patched up.  I purchased treated plywood and again with the help of another great neighbor, Mike Hall, he painted the plywood and got them attached to my concrete foundation.
At least with these mouse sightings, I have been able to sleep in my own bed and haven’t left the house.  But it has made me extra jumpy at home though.  I admit I’m a little nervous about spending too much time in my kitchen because I’m afraid one will jump out and scare me again.
So sleeping in my own bed, with my guard cats close by, is a pretty big step in the right direction for me. But, if there are any counselors or counseling centers that offer any mouse aversion therapy, someone please let me know.
Ah, the joys of home ownership.

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