OH [No!] SNAP!

I read the most amazing and hilarious story by The Single Cell , and it inspired me to reminisce about my own rodent experiences.

My mice were nowhere near as dramatic or diabolical as hers, nor did I vanquish them in quite so Tom-and-Jerry a manner.  My mice were at my rental house in London, and I was living there alone at the time.

When I discovered the first mouse-chewed bag of rice, I was a bit concerned.  I proceeded to move things around in the cupboard and realized just how truly screwed I was – it was like a tiny army of rodents had invaded my cupboard overnight, and chewed and pooped on everything.  Bakers chocolate, potatoes, flour, Mr. Noodle, everything.  They’d even nibbled on the labels on canned tuna.  I had dreams for months that a mouse was crawling across my bed, or through my hair.

“This would never have happened if I had CATS!” I wailed to my mother over the phone.  I seriously considered my neighbor’s offer (my neighbor at home… a 2.5 hr drive from my rental house) of a loan of her cats for a few months, to get rid of the mouse problem.  I also seriously considered emptying out the animal shelter’s supply of adult cats.

My coworkers rallied and sent me home with a bag full of the cartoon-like snap traps.  It was only minimally difficult to coat them in peanut butter and set them up and circle my kitchen with them – it only felt like I’d broken a finger when a trap snapped shut on me.  I’m pretty sure that the trap I stepped on in my sleepy morning haze actually broke my pinky toe, though, but sacrifices must be made in the battle against the rodents.

I fell asleep in my bedroom, the head of my bed up against the shared wall between my room and the kitchen, secure in the belief that my mouse problem was over.  My mouse-traps were lined up along this shared wall (but I hadn’t thought quite that far ahead), near the fridge which apparently had a colony of mice living behind it.  Just like in the safety-first commercials, these mice would see the traps and see that I meant business, and they’d get the hell out of Dodge!

I awoke with a SNAP four nights in a row, as a mouse trap went off, seemingly directly underneath me.  Nauseous and trembling at the idea of killing a living creature, I rolled over and attempted to sleep, only to lie awake in the darkness.  The worst night, I awoke with another SNAP, but this one was followed by a scritching and scrabbling of tiny feet, mixed in with the awkward shuffling noise of a mouse-trap being dragged across the floor.  Bolt upright, hugging my knees close, I waited and hoped for the noise to stop.  It didn’t, and my overpowering guilt at making the mouse suffer pushed me to my feet and into the kitchen, to face the mouse.  I cried, but I dealt with it.  A much faster death by drowning than by painful starvation and broken leg. 

The death SNAP occurred 6 times, only one of which failed to achieve death immediately.  I felt like an evil murderer. 

Paranoia at this awful experience led me to clean EVERYTHING.  I spent an entire weekend with the entire contents of my kitchen including the drawers themselves spread out on the lawn until they could be thoroughly sanitized and put back in the house.  Pasta, rice, flour, sugar, bakers chocolate, cereal… if it wasn’t in a can or already in a jar, it was put in a mason jar or jumbo-sized Tupperware for protection

My roommate thought I’d gone nuts when she came back at the end of the summer, but I think she was happy that I had chosen this brand of crazy, instead of the crazy-cat-lady alternative.

Roomie didn’t adjust well to the jarring of all our dry goods.  Possibly because all of the jars looked alike except for what was in them.

I came home one day to find that she was making a roux (cream sauce) in order to have macaroni and cheese.  As soon as I showed up, she began a tirade against Ontario and its strange and not-like-Calgary weather, as she stirred her little pot of (basically) flour and milk.  What was wrong with Ontario’s weather?  It must be the reason the roux wasn’t thickening at all.  I suggested adding cheese, since maybe that would help thicken it up.  With no knowledge of the roux-making process, I had no suggestions for her when the cheese did nothing but ball up into gross little globules in the milky substance that stayed perfectly watery. 

She called her mother and began the tirade again.  Her mother started grilling her about what ingredients she’d added, and it was at this point that I realized just what had gone wrong with the roux.  She was picking up each ingredient she’d put in as she went over the recipe with her mother.  Roomie explained how she had added the correct amount of flour from her mother’s recipe, but when the mixture hadn’t thickened she added more flour.  She explained this while gesturing frustratedly with the mason-jar of powdered sugar.  The unlabeled mason jar that I had assumed was quite obviously NOT flour, since the flour was in its original packaging, but tucked inside a big Tupperware container.  Confectioner’s sugar is WHITE-white… a glowing incandescent near-blue white that in no way resembles the off-white beige colour of flour.  And that’s not even considering the difference in texture.  I made a clearly incorrect assumption that this difference was apparent to everyone.

Once we had that sorted out, and she made it clear that I was no longer invited to have macaroni and cheese, and that I was a crazy person, I went about labeling all of the mason-jars.  I don’t think she appreciated my “chocolate chips” and “pasta” labels, but she never mistook the confectioners’ sugar for flour again.

Bike update:  I went to a spin class last night, sweat like there’s no tomorrow (pretty gross, but my bike shorts were actually wet right through the padding), and signed up to do a boxing class tonight after a few hour long walk with Gwynn.  From what I can tell, this gym might not actually have any kind of A/C… Which makes me grateful that I’m not going to be inside and doing these classes much longer – my 20 class pass expires on June 11!  Before it ends, i’ll get a ‘before and after’ picture of my face… it is strange just how red my face goes with even the slightest bit of heat or exercise… and how that redness doesn’t stray past my jaw-line…



  1. I’m telling you, cats are very little help unless they’re outdoor cats. I swear my cat invited the damned things in. It was my fear of hearing the snap that led me to the glue traps… but now I’m fairly convinced there’s just no good way to catch a mouse. And believe me…. I cleaned everything, too! But I live alone, so I didn’t have to label stuff, and my crazy is my business and no one else’s. 🙂

    • All I could think at the time was that we’d never ever had mice at my house, and we’ d had cats up until a few years before I left for school. In my mind, that added up to the conclusion that CATS = CURE for MICE 🙂 I think i figured the mice would smell the cat… and leave. I was not entirely in my right mind while dealing with the mouse issue.
      It is amazing how much your house-keeping improves when you discover that there are rodents trotting their dirty plague-ridden rodent feet all over the place! and pooping! blergh. Even after a few nights of no SNAP, i kept emptying my cabinets to check for ‘presents’, and washed my dishes and cutlery before using it if it had come out of a cabinet.

  2. TheIdiotSpeaketh

     /  June 1, 2011

    Nothing like a good sweat all the way through the padding eh?! Can’t wait to see the before/after pics! Keep up the good work!

    • Yeah… the full-saturation lets you know you’ve been working really hard 😛
      the difference in my face-tone is impressive. I get alot of ‘are you ok?’ for a few hours after I exercise.

  3. LOL! I hate mice! Filthy vermin! I would be devastated to find one in my house and wouldn’t sleep a wink.

    However, I lived on the east coast and currently reside in Edmonton. I would take East Coast weather anyday over the west…

    • Yeah… mice… creep me out soooo much. as soon as i’ve realised something’s in my house – ants or mice or earwigs (earwigs! GAH… they are worse than ants or mice!), i have nightmares about them crawling on me while i’m sleeping.
      I love the East coast – I’ve got family out there, and we try to visit often. I love the west coast (or at least, teh part of it i’ve been to… alberta), because of the mountains, though. Had a fantastic time hiking and paddling and camping out there a few summers ago. My roommate’s main issue with ontario was that we’re so much more humid than she’s used to. Then again, it’s kind of hard for her to complain about that, since it means that a) her calgary-straight hair got pretty curls, and b) she gets fewer nose-bleeds, because it’s more humid here 🙂

  4. I damn near died in my Bikram class yesterday. They opened the windows and it made it worse.

    My mice so far have all been at work. It still fell to me to dispose of the dead a few times. Apparently the big burly guys won’t touch mice.

    • I’m kind of disturbed at how hot-yoga-esque my spinning class room is, even before we start. I like hot-yoga, but hot-biking, not so much 🙂 . A woman I know went to one of Bikram’s yoga conferences – they were doing yoga in an open-walled tent outside (I think in Las Vegas), and it was so warm in there that they had big bins all around the tent for people to go be sick into, and a paramedic on stand-by. She was drinking some ridiculous amount of water… 2 gallons or something… per 1.5 hour class.
      I thought that dead-mouse-detail was one of the reasons to have guys around – so that they could show off their manliness while sliding a piece of paper under the dead mouse and trying not to flinch away 😛 But most of my experiences with dead-rodent (including rat) have required a woman to go out and deal with it. strange…

  5. My wife has a mouse at work I’m trying to help her humanely deal with, but progress is slow. I started with a note warning the mouse to leave, but he chewed right through it.

    • Sounds like that mouse threw down the gauntlet! You got mouse-slapped, and you’ll have to step up your game. Next time, leave a strongly worded memo, and maybe nock over some of his things when you’re leaving 🙂

  6. Great post. What drama those little devils cause.
    I also have a tale to tell. http://bit.ly/lG8Kiv
    We all have mice living somewhere in our houses. Damn things.
    I have cats now. 🙂 Hahahaha (take that mice!)

    • I’m hoping that, considering how my dog has caught at least three (three while people were there to witness) small outdoors rodents (by pouncing and smooshing them to death), the mice might hear about him and steer clear of our house, despite our lack of cats. He might look all innocent and cuddly, but he has mad stomping-mice skills.
      Hopefully your mice are successfully routed by the cats, never to be seen or heard from again!

  7. Hahahahaha! Great story. I’ve never felt so grateful for my cat until now.

    Good luck with the boxing! That sounds like it might be a lot of fun. I’d love to try something new like that.

    • I loved doing cardio Kickboxing, and highly recommend it, especially if you can find a place that actually uses punching bags for their cardio classes. It entirely changes how much effort you put into each punch and kick, and it’s great for letting off steam. Nothing like beating up an inanimate object to make you feel better about whatever was making you grumpy!
      I have zero interest in actually having fights (staged battles? sparring matches?… mortal combat re-enacted in a padded room!), which is why the cardio type classes are my cup of tea. The boxing class offered by the gym was very similar to the Cardio Kickboxing, but it left out the part where I got to kick the punching bag, which made it slightly less fun but still great and pain-inducing. Unfortunately, they require you to have a membership to Premier fitness, and then an additional (ie $$$$, by the time it’s all finished with) membership to the boxing club (course? team?), so that first trial class will likely be my last for this place. My groupon membership to premier fitness expires this coming Saturday, and since I only like doing classes (so very not-motivated), there isn’t any reason to get an actual gym membership. I will, however, be searching for a cardio kickboxing course near my house (probably $$$), while missing the course I took in London (which was $, and super fun).

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