April 10, 2006

"Water, water every where..."

Water. Ceiling of the garage.

Well, this has happened before. Our big swirlpool tub in our bathroom has a peculiar thing--the knob that controls the amount of aeration leaks. It's up high, but if water ever does get there, it seeps underneath and through the knob, and spills out onto the floor inside the tub enclosure, and from there leaks though into the garage below. I found this out the hard way not long after we moved in. Big hunks of drywall material still litter hard-to-reach portions of the garage, and there are still two lines where said material fell from the ceiling joists and has not yet been repaired.

And now, for some reason, it's doing it again.

I couldn't come inside. I stayed near toward the back of the yard, and I made up every reason not to leave that spot. I knew pretty much what had happened, and it would make me blood pressure spike to dangerous levels if I were to witness this myself.

"Is someone in the tub!?

"No, but there's water everwhere on the floor, and it's leaking though the ceiling!"

"Is there water running!?"

"There's just water all over the floor!"

"Get some towels and sop it up--once it's picked up, the leak should stop if there's no water running!"

Pause. I don't know what she wanted me to do--there were four people in the house--surely they could get the water up.

She went inside, and then a minute later came back out.

"Catherine is in the shower!"


Why is this so danged hard for everyone to figure out!?

"She did! She had put the washcloth over the drain of the shower, and now there's water everywhere!"


Why did she put the washcloth down there? Why won't they just get the water up? Why does this require me to leave my happy warm fun zone? It is a mystery.

Reba went back in a second time, and I wondered exactly how big of a mess Catherine had just made with her incredible, maddening, insouciance. I didn't wonder enough to actually go inside, but I did wonder some.

Oh well.

Time enough to see after the grass is cut.

As it turned out, Boy did just about all the backyard, and by the time he got to the last strip of grass, he'd gotten to the point where only a few blades had escaped him. Lawnmower up in the shed, and then time for the last bit of yardwork--cleaning out the bird feeders and filling them with seed.

I was lax about this during the winter--it's been several months since they were properly filled and the poor little fat birdies and squirrelies had anything to eat at our house, so time to fix that.

The feeders were taken down and washed, and when Rebecca popped outside to see what was going on, I asked her to go in the garage, where she'd been busily blotting up water, and get me one of the bags of birdseed from the top shelf beside the deep freeze.

Waited. Put the feeders back together. Looked up and saw Catherine standing there. "NEAT! You fixed the frog fountain, Daddy!"

"Yes, I did, Catherine. Why did you put the washcloth over the drain and flood the house?"

"I don't know."

"Did it just fall down there and you didn't know about it!?"

"No, sir."

"So you did put it there?"

"Yes, sir."

"And you don't know why?"

"No, sir. Why are you washing the bird feeder?"


Told her to go back inside and help Mommy clean up some more, and went to go find out what was taking Rebecca so long. She brought the big cardboard box outside--"Mom says she thinks mice got into it."

Grr. I hate those meeces to pieces! (For all you Pixie and Dixie fans.)

I pulled out the top bag, and sure enough, a mouse-sized hole in the side of the bag, and a bag full of empty seed kernels. I took it out to the compost pile to pour it out, just in case any of the filthy vermin were in there. Nope. That's good. Opened the other bag, that had not yet been gnawed upon and finished filling the bird feeders, then locked everything up outside and came in.

Went out to the garage to survey the water damage--looked about the same. Still a few drips, but not nearly so bad as it had been before, and by this time I had calmed down again, so no big deal.

Now then, the matter of the seed. I went over to the deep freeze, and heard a peculiar noise. Something of a scratching. We had a picnic hamper up on top (in addition to a scattering of other stuff--some craft items, a hunk of carpet, a toolbox, a newspaper I'd saved). I lifted up the basket and EEEEKKKKKKK!! MICE EVERWHERE!! RUN AWAY!!

Filthy things.

I took the hamper outside to make sure it was empty, and it was. Went back to the freezer, and the little beasts were peering out from various hidey holes in all that junk up top.

Well, this means war.

Got my billfold and my hat and told everyone (all of whom by now were eating supper) that I would be back shortly. We gonna kill us some mice. Hardware store--closed. Grr. Grocery store--glue traps. Grotesque, but highly effective. And something I'd never heard about before, a mouse killer that was nontoxic to humans. Active ingredient? Corn oil. I had no idea they could be killed with a vanishingly small dosage of corn oil. HURRAY FOR CORN OIL!

Home, and got to clearing off the top of the freezer. Yuck. Moved the tools over to the tool box, threw away some of the junk, got the newspaper. Hmm. I'd saved the paper from the day Clinton was impeached. I had thought about keeping it, but it had the end gnawed off. Probably not by Hillary, though.

I took it over to the garbage can and read what I could through the plastic sleeve. Hmm. How very interesting--attacks on Iraq, Rep. Livingstone resigning, Clinton vowing to fight. Figured I might as well read the thing a bit more--not like I had anything to do. Started pulling the sleeve off WHAEEEEEEKKKKK! Danged stupid rodent! Apparently there had been one who'd stuffed himself up inside the rolled up paper, and decided to scamper out when I started messing with it. He skittered across my forearm with his sharp little disease-ridden claws, leapt to the floor (not shouting sic semper tyrannus, though), and bounded behind the file cabinet.

"Oh, don't run, Mister Mus Musculus. That just means you'll die tired. I'm gonna git you in just a little while, you stupid dimwitted mouse!"

I can't believe I was talking out loud to a mouse, and to make it worse, talking to him as if I was the bad guy from a James Bond film.

The paper was discarded without further reading, and I went to work finishing the cleaning and trap spreading.

Finished up, washed up to get the stench of mouse off of me, and went to work on some stuff I had intended to send our church contractor that morning, THEN finally took a bath. Kids to bed, got my stuff ready for Sunday, and then decided before bed, I'd got downstairs and see if the stupid mice had decided to play in the glue.


There was a big fat one in the tray on top of the freezer, a tiny one on the floor beside the freezer, and a midsized on in the tray by the back door. I took them outside so they wouldn't stink up the garage any more, and halfway hoping they'd get carried off by all the various cats that roam the neighborhood. No such luck--the next morning I found them where I'd left them and sealed them up in a plastic bag. In the intervening time, I have checked the rest of the traps and not found anything--either they had just stumbled into what they thought was heaven and hadn't had time to settle in good, or the rest of them decided to go somewhere safer. The only disturbing thing is that one trap is gone. Completely. I'm not sure how that happened--that had to have been one BIG mouse.

Anyway, the garage is still set up as a kill zone, so if any mice are reading this, you'd better just go somewhere else.

NEXT: Creativity, despite myself.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at April 10, 2006 09:28 AM

You just couldn’t follow my suggestion from months ago—that you should get a CAT.
Also your Cat could hold it and pet it and call it George and it could kill all those nasty meeces.

Posted by: jim at April 10, 2006 01:08 PM

I'm irrationally afraid of mice. I would have absolutely died if one had run across my arm!

Posted by: Kathy at April 10, 2006 01:31 PM

Hush, Jim--someone might hear you!

And Kathy, I don't like them at all, and it was more startling than actually scary, even though I yipped like a scared little girl. But I figure the best revenge for making me dance around like a ponce is to terminate the little vermin with extreme prejudice.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at April 10, 2006 01:44 PM

I’m glad that one that ran off with the trap wasn’t the arm crawler.

And make that a BIG CAT.

Posted by: jim at April 10, 2006 02:01 PM

I'm thinking of a Bengal tiger. They seem to roam around a bit.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at April 10, 2006 02:23 PM