*this post has nothing to do with education, other than the fact that the events that transpired added stress to my life and therefore negatively impacted the education of my students I'm sure*
Around spring break I started to notice something distressing in my car. Tiny little black pellets seemed to be sprinkled around the floor of my car. That's odd, I thought, but I was late for work so quickly forgot about them. The next day there were more sprinkled in new place along with a tissue that overnight had become very holey- the type of holes a small creature may make with its mouth. Black pellets plus small mouth holes could only mean one thing.
This was decidedly NOT OK. There could not be a mouse in my car. Absolutely not. It did not have permission to live in my car. My car is not an inhabitable place. It is for driving and for singing the ABC song at the top of your lungs* even when Raffi's toddler-friendly voice is singing something totally unrelated to the ABCs.Yet it seemed that even after explaining my Absolutely Not reasoning to the mouse he had no intention of leaving my mouse-house of a Corolla.
I realized I had limited options. I could:
1) Ignore the fact that a mouse was living in my car and pray that he'd go away on his own
2) Sell the car
3) Leave the car unlocked in an unsafe place and pray that it got stolen and never returned
4) Catch mouse, clean mouse droppings, disinfect car
5) Name mouse, adopt him as a pet. Leave him food every night and pretend that we live with Stuart Little.
Option 4 sounded way to hard but since Mr. Lipstick refused to let me do options 2 and 3 and option 1 and 5 seemed bad for my daughter's health, I gave in. I even called a car service station and asked them if they could get rid of the mouse for me. They laughed. A little too hard, and then told me that having a mouse in your car is a huge problem and that I should get rid of it. Thanks, that hadn't occurred to me before.
So we set traps*. We woke up in the next morning like it was Christmas day and ran to the car to see if we would discover that we'd caught the little guy. Nothing. Maybe he left on his own, we thought. Maybe with the warm weather he's off to better places. Maybe he realized that my car isn't a great place to live.
We cleaned the car and then drove it to one of those car detailing places to get it professionally cleaned. We paid for the fancy anti-mouse cleaning and then marveled at the beauty of the car. Post-cleaning we even contemplated selling it because it was never going to be that clean again. But alas, we decided to be responsible.
Turns out we should have sold it (mouse included) because the next morning we came out to the beautifully cleaned car only to find brand new mouse droppings. The mouse had in fact not left, but had hidden somewhere during the cleaning, watching and plotting when it was safe to return out into the open to poop around my car.
We put down the traps again and waited.
Nothing inside the traps but just to mock me the mouse pooped all over the traps. The mouse, who at this point we'll call Herman because he's practically become a part of the family (but not a good part, like an evil step mother who's out to get you) was clearly thumbing his nose at us. Fine, little mouse. BRING IT.
For two weeks he pooped beside the traps and at one point even managed to unset the trap making it safe for him to sneak inside to steal the peanut butter. This mouse was good. I wonder how many other "Squatter Car Rights" he's pulled in his lifetime.
For two weeks I drove around in my car knowing that Herman was sitting nearby just watching and waiting. Perhaps like my daughter he was bobbing his head up and down to Raffi, enjoying the tunes. I felt watched constantly.
Yet this afternoon I sank into my car seat only to find that my car was filled with an unmistakable odor- the stench of a dead rodent on a hot day.
Unless Herman was just a low level mouse in a much bigger mouse conspiracy, my car is mouse free. Or at least Herman-free. I hope he died while happily gorging himself on peanut butter and singing Raffi songs in his head.
*It should be noted that my 19 month old is not actually singing the ABCs. She sings "A,B, EIEIO, LMNP, SSSSSSSS, XXXXX, MINE, MINE, MINE AAA". I like the fact that 1) EIEIO shows up in every song she sings 2) Her interpretation of the end of the ABC song is to announce that they are all here letters (as in, "now I know MY ABCs") and 3) She is, for whatever reason, obsessed with the letter S.
**There was a time in my life when I was totally a no-kill trap type of girl. That was before the internet and before I had a daughter. Once I googled and realized just how dirty those mice are I wasn't taking any chances. However I do feel confident in the fact that my car momentarily provided Herman a very nice house for a few weeks. He had a good thing going for awhile.