March 31st, 2020

Righteous Gemstones an inspiring comedy

By Lethbridge Herald on October 12, 2019.

Al Beeber
Lethbridge Herald
Autumn is here and besides pumpkin spice everywhere you know what that means, right? Mice. Disgusting mice everywhere.
With temperatures cooling, those rascally rodents are looking for warm places to do whatever mice do for the night. And I have no clue what that is except poop everywhere.
Mice, along with spiders, are two creatures that gross me out more than anything on earth with a pulse. After the German shepherd and I jumped at the sight of one nibbling at a garbage bag on the deck last week, the doors are officially now closed all day and night until spring. The shepherd loves being outside at night — he’ll sit on the deck or the lawn for hours listening and watching. Normally he’s quiet but at an unusual sound, he’ll let loose with a fury of barking which we immediately stop.
Many years ago, three mice burst through an open door on an October evening and raised a total ruckus in the house. I even broke a broom trying to sweep one out of the house, missing the rodent but putting a dent in a wall. They were in the stove, behind the fridge, under the sofas and scooted throughout the house, leaving a nasty trail behind them until I finally managed to neutralize them.
It was a night I’ll never forget and one I don’t want to repeat. So after the dog and I had our encounter, I drove quickly to a hardware store and loaded up on deterrent — specifically a box of rat poison in individual packets and several baits.
I scattered it in places the dogs couldn’t reach, mostly in a closed storage area under the deck and along a piece of plywood I sort of have stored against the deck behind a huge shrub and forgot about until the mouse incident. And I remembered it only because the mouse dropped off the deck and I decided to put a bait where it fell. I spotted the mouse behind that sheet of plywood and promptly jumped again.
Later that night, I decided to investigate the storage area and throw some more poison inside. As soon as I walked in, a mouse darted between my legs, prompting me to bang my head on a beam above.
I emptied a few more bags around the perimeter and then closed my homemade door behind.
Several days later, I checked out things and saw all the baits were empty and much of the poison devoured. I was hoping this solved the problem but apparently not.
Early Sunday morning, a mouse appeared from beside the fridge. Somehow, one had managed to get in the house, most likely when the shepherd was let in at some point during the night. So I channelled my inner Caddyshack and loaded up on mouse poison and traps as soon as a hardware store opened. The $45 I spent could have gone towards cinnamon buns at Costco but that mouse changed those plans.
We put sticky things behind the fridge and the oven where there were also signs of a mouse. I scattered more poison under the deck, and put out other baits. Thankfully, there was no other evidence in the house but to be sure I blocked the sides and bottoms of the fridge and stove to hopefully trap the unwanted houseguest.
I’m hearing I’m not alone in my problem. A neighbour has already captured several while another has one in her house.
The consensus seems to be that the problem has cropped up since the University Drive road widening project reached our neighbourhood. It’s only a theory but one that makes sense because nobody in the ’hood has talked about mice for years.
On my upcoming week off, which starts today, I’m going to be doing an early fall yard cleanup to remove any potential hiding places. That means the roses and shrubs are all being trimmed and maybe some of my beloved Engleman Ivy vines — which birds nest in — are going to be cut down near the deck to prevent a mouse clambering up and into the house.
Adding to the misery, a huge skunk is wandering around the neighbourhood at night, which incidentally has endured some car prowling recently. The second the dog starts barking I’m out the door yelling at Rio to get inside lest he be sprayed. I’d be really happy if one of the night-crawlers breaking into cars got a dose of skunk perfume and maybe if Rio times things right, our need to be on alert for human intruders may temporarily end.
Rio has interrupted burglars in the act several times in the past, most recently last winter when his barking alerted us to people grabbing door handles on the street. Normally the only thing moving late at night in the area is a black cat which I swear stops in front of the living room window just to antagonize the dogs and the occasional neighbour walking a four-legged friend.
For two decades, it’s been a quiet area where any unusual vehicle or person is the subject of immediate discussion on the block. We watch things and take care of each other and we know who and what doesn’t belong. Like mice. Especially mice.
NO COLUMN NEXT WEEK: With the upcoming week off, I won’t have a column for Sept. 28.
OMISSION: In last week’s column about the AAC awards, I omitted a must-do and long overdue congratulation to Don Robb, who has played a prominent role in our musical community for decades. Don is one of those people who always puts community first and is a most deserving recipient of the Joan Waterfield Memorial Award.
Follow @albeebHerald on Twitter.

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