Last week, I disposed of a dead possum that my dog had been eating, which graduated me to the status of bona fide Kentucky girl. But 2020 wasn’t finished making my world collide with rodents. Instead, it was just getting started.
I realized this a few days ago when I saw mouse droppings under our kitchen sink. This had happened before, and I had dealt with it by getting my husband William to set a trap near the droppings. Then, with just a bit of an exhale, I would promptly call it a day and wait for a snap.
So, he did this for me again. And, again, I exhaled and considered the matter closed.
But the next morning, I saw I’d been gifted with more mouse droppings. And the culprits had taken something too: every last molecule of peanut butter my husband had used to entice them to the traps.
“So that’s how we’re playing it,” I said quite loudly, assuming the mice could hear and understand me. “We’ll see about that.”
I pulled out a precious Lysol wipe (boy, those things sure have developed their own currency, haven’t they?) and wiped up the droppings. But as I was kneeling down, I saw that there were way more than I had realized.
And then, way in the back of the cupboard, there was a shrimp shell. And a chicken bone. Clear remnants of a feast they’d gathered from the kitchen trash, which lives next door to the sink.
Two hours later, I realized we had a big problem. The droppings had led me to a closet under the stairs, where I’d discovered that a months-long bacchanalia had been taking place right under our noses. I found, oh, so many droppings. I found dog food pellets. I found holes in the wall. I found pretzels. I found pumpkin seeds. And then I found a thousand tiny wine bottles.
Six hours later, cobwebbed, back-sore and thoroughly grossed out, I had mostly cleaned up the party. Except the attendees hadn’t left the premises.
But. Days before I had proven to myself that, if necessary, I can handle freshly dead rodents. So I put on my cutthroat coat. And I hopped online.
It doesn’t take you too long with the search term “how to murder mice” before you come across something called the Rolling Log Bucket Trap. It works like this: you fill a bucket with water. You thread a piece of pipe with wire and fit the wire across the top of the bucket. You lead the mice up the bucket using a plank of wood smeared with peanut butter. You smear peanut butter on the pipe. The mice walk onto the pipe. But like in the show “Wipeout,” the pipe rolls like a log along the wire and they fall in the water.
Where they drown.
I envisioned myself going to Lowe’s, buying the materials, and then drilling holes into a bucket.
I was immediately tired. And immediately doubted I had the skills to operate a drill.
But then my lovely husband pointed out that we already knew that the heathens were hopping into the trash because of the exhibit A of the shrimp shell. And they were obviously doing it regularly because of the exhibit B of the chicken bone.
So why not just fill the kitchen trash with water, lace it with peanut butter and see what happened?
So I got my trap together, artistically smearing PB on the sides of the bin. To make things extra believable, I dropped an empty jar of peanut butter into the water which, log-like, happened to roll if boarded.
Was I humming evilly while I worked?
Had I developed a silver streak through the center of my black hair à la Cruella de Vil?
I loaded the traditional snapping mousetraps with more PB. Then I loaded more traps.
Then I went to bed.
The next morning, I woke up nearly breathless with anticipation. I ran to the kitchen. I realized I wasn’t feeling nearly as villain-brave as I had the day before.
I started with opening the kitchen cupboard under the sink. There were the traps, all still intact, except the peanut butter had once again been licked clean.
I went to the closet under the stairs. There, two traps had been detonated, but neither of them had caught anything.
But there was still my bucket trap. I tiptoed to the kitchen trash. I slid it open. And there, dear readers, were two drowned mice sunk at the bottom of the bin.
It’s wrong to do a little “Can’t Touch This” MC Hammer dance in the face of death.
Except I did.
Then I ran to the basement screaming to William, who was working from home, about our victory.
“Great!” he said. “But how are you going to get rid of them?”
“Oh, didn’t I tell you, husband? I’m a Kentucky girl now. I can do anything.”