Man vs. Wild … in the kitchen

Are you familiar with Bear Grylls popular show Man vs. Wild? We always loved that show in our house. In fact, when Jordan and my nephew were really young they used to request that we watch it and referred to it as “the dangers”. It is a great show! I think the appeal of it is the idea of man, going back to his indigenous roots and battling the elements of nature to find safety (not to mention, who doesn’t love the way he pronounces crevice and glacier). I have to say though, watching Bear defend against wildlife is much more entertaining than say, doing it yourself in your own house. You know how we figured that out? Well, it all started with a box of Jello Puddin’…

mouse-jello-box

Notice the little tuft of fur by the ripped opening.

I know what you are thinking. Big deal… a mouse got into your cabinet, it happens, especially when you buy an old house in the woods.  Okay, so we were down one box of pudding. Nothing to cry over. Well then…

We were down an entire drawer of pudding (oh and don’t judge the amount of pudding we had, it was a phase). And one night we went to make tacos and saw that yet another drawer had been broken into, and the taco seasoning had been eaten. Taco seasoning?? What the heck. That mouse must be desperate to eat dry, spicy, orange dust. So we decided enough was enough and we set out two humane traps in the drawers and on the floor. We figured the mouse must be coming up from under the dishwasher and climbing behind the drawers to get in them. If we baited the humane traps with some yummy morsels, we should be able to catch this thing in no time.

The next day we were disappointed to find that the humane traps had not been successful, but at least nothing else had been broken into. Later on in the afternoon, I was sitting home with Ted (the pup) folding some laundry when all of a sudden Teddy started growling. He ran into the kitchen and started sniffing around by the cabinets. Then we both jumped when we heard a loud sound coming from the drawers that had previously been violated. The sound was … alarming. It was as if a large, heavy piece of plastic was being dragged back and forth in the drawer. It just kept moving around and Ted just stood there in front of the drawer, tilting his head back and forth with curiosity. I didn’t know what to do! It must be the mouse! It must have gotten into the humane trap and now it is banging the thing around in the drawer. I slowly made my way into the kitchen, with Ted shooting me a look as if to say, “watch out ma, I don’t know what the hell is in there but it ain’t right.” I grabbed my phone and started video taping. Why? Um, well I am not really sure. I guess I wanted evidence to show my husband in case the mouse attacked me and won. The thing is, it actually sounded way to big to be a mouse. But I thought, I must be crazy. So I went over and with my non-video-recording hand, I quickly ripped open the drawer. And what did I find?

mouse-attack-5

An empty bag of cornmeal. What the? This mouse that was just making all this racket in the drawer someone got away, and it also ate an ENTIRE BAG of cornmeal?!?! What kind of mouse are we talking about here? How fat is this mouse?! I was perplexed. I figured that it might be a good thing because the fatter he got, the more difficult it would be for him to move around.

Later that evening, Ted and I were watching TV when we heard the same loud sounds coming from the butler’s pantry right outside the kitchen. Now it sounded like a cable wire was being shaken around inside the drawer. Teddy and I stared at the drawer, not knowing what to do. I went over to investigate and the sound stopped. I gave up the search and went back to binge-watching Chopped. A few minutes later, it happened again! That’s it. This thing is taunting me. It is as if ever since we put the traps out, he is intentionally trying to mess with us. I called Seth and told him all about what was going on. He said he planned on getting some less-humane traps for the little pest, and I begged him to let us give the humane traps a few more days to work.

A few days later Seth got home from work and brought in some groceries. We had been so excited because we got a bread maker and our crazy cool pantry actually has a built-in spot for a bread maker with a plug and everything. So Seth had picked up some flour for us and we made plans to make our first loaf of bread the next day. We went to bed and yet again hoped our humane traps would do their magic over night.

The next morning when we came downstairs, we discovered that we had forgotten to put the flour away the night before and had left it on the counter…

mouse-attack-3

Seriously?! Now this thing is interfering with our bread-making plans?! We were so pissed that we couldn’t make our bread (because obviously we need more carbs…) that we didn’t even realize how weird the placement of the rip was on the bag. Normally, mice eat food from the bottom up. They are, of course, small. If you notice in the picture, this had been attacked from the top of the bag. We sent the picture to some of our family members and they all agreed that this looked more like the work of another kind of animal. They suggested that it was perhaps a….rat……

rat-picture

A RAT?!?!?!?! IN MY KITCHEN!?!!? I couldn’t even consider this to be an option!!! You all know how I feel about rats (Reno. Week 4- It started with a Rat and ended with a mouse). I immediately pictured a rat standing on my counter on his hind legs feasting on the bag of flour and licking his chops. That can’t be right.

But it would make sense because the humane traps weren’t working and they would be too small for a rat to fit in. Oh my god, something has to happen. This thing needs to be taken care of. I finally gave in and told Seth it was okay to get the god-awful sticky traps that people swear by. We used them in the house I grew up in and I will never forget the day my mom was sitting on the couch and put her foot down and her shoe got stuck to the edge of the sticky trap that had been under the couch. When she pulled her shoe out, we saw that the sticky pad was not only stuck to her shoe, but also to a mouse!! Looking back it is hysterical, although at the time we all screamed like little girls.

So Seth set up the traps in one of the drawers that this guy had made his personal hangout. He strategically placed a tube of icing in between two traps that the rat-mouse had already helped himself to on a previous endeavor. This thing was going down!

mouse-attack-4

That night, I woke up to Teddy growling and barking at the floor of our bedroom. This was the 3rd or 4th night in a row that he had been doing this and we were not too thrilled about it. At first we thought he was going crazy. But then, I realized that he was growling at a sound he heard downstairs, not the bedroom floor. I listened and I heard a few loud bangs coming from the kitchen. I tapped (or smacked) Seth and told him to get up. He asked what was up and I said “someone is downstairs…or….”. We looked at each other and a smile stretched across Seth’s tired face. “THE MOUSE!” We ran downstairs like two kids on Christmas morning. We must have caught this thing!

….nope.

But mister mouse had in fact enjoyed our icing tube. He not only feasted on it, but he dragged the entire tube and a sticky trap OUT of the drawer all together. Ok, this is definitely not a mouse. Other hints that suggested we weren’t in mouse-town anymore were the new items we found that had been snacked on…

chipmunk-plastic-container

Hard plastic, heavy cardboard, oh and the particle board behind our cabinets.

We were in shock and felt helpless. One day I was staying late at work grading papers and the custodian, Woody, came in. He asked how things were going with our new house and I told him all was well, except for this little issue we are having with some sort of rodent. I told him all about it and he agreed it definitely wasn’t a mouse. When I described the hard plastic it had chewed through he suggested that perhaps it wasn’t a rat, but maybe a chipmunk.

A CHIPMUNK! Genius! Now I could have sworn I had posted about a chipmunk previously on this blog but I can’t seem to find it. All summer long we had one chipmunk that we would watch as he ran up and down the rock wall right on the other side of our kitchen window. He was so cute, and so fast! We would discuss how his movements were so quick that it was like they were happening in fast forward, and we would talk in slow-mo voices and ask each other if this is how he hears our speech since everything is in hyper-speed in his world (yes, we are weird). We only ever saw one, and boy was he nice and plump by the end of the fall. It suddenly occurred to me that perhaps that little guy had somehow gotten in to the wall of the house and was now filling his belly with our baked goods…

…and our dishwasher insulation…

chipmunk-behind-fridge

…and some old diet food that we kept on top of the fridge in a basket and he climbed up there and knocked it down behind the fridge to snack on.

Well if the diet food doesn’t kill him, we don’t know what will.

We figured it was time to get more traps. This thing was really starting to destroy our house! We went out to Home Depot (of course) and got these rat traps that look like industrial size mouse traps. Most stores don’t sell “chipmunk traps” because let’s be real here, who the heck gets chipmunks in their house? And honestly, the idea of killing this thing upset me so much, but it had to be done. So Seth set the traps up in the drawer in a way that we were sure Chippy could not escape. He put the infamous tube of icing in one corner, and literally surrounded it by traps on all sides. Sticky traps and industrial size rat traps. To get to the icing, the chipmunk would HAVE to cross at least one, if not all of these traps.

Days went by, and nothing. Perhaps he had moved on to some other poor cottage in the woods?

Late one night we heard loud sounds again coming from downstairs and Seth ran to see if we had caught the spawn of satan, I mean the chipmunk, and he actually got a glimpse of him! He saw the chipmunk run out from under the fridge and duck right underneath the dishwasher and disappear. It was confirmed. Woody the custodian is a genius. We stayed up for a while and held a stakeout but Chippy didn’t show his little face again that night.

The next day while we were getting ready to cook dinner, I stepped into the pantry and had that really terrible feeling of stepping in a puddle with socks on. Ew. What the heck did I step in? I looked down and realized that half of the pantry floor was soaking wet!

chipmunk-fridge-2

I called Seth frantically and we tried to figure out where the water was coming from. Seth looked as though a light bulb went off in his brain and he ran to the kitchen. He pulled the fridge out and we saw the water supply hose that goes to the ice maker spraying water like a firehouse! The hose had a tiny pinhole in it and must have been spraying for most of the day while we were at work because it had soaked through the floor and into the pantry on the other side of the wall! Seth ran downstairs the shut off the breaker for the fridge (ya know, so we didn’t electrocute ourselves) while I tried to hold off the firehouse by pinching my fingers, which didn’t work out too well. Finally we got the water supply turned off and we were able to step back and assess the damage. The whole area was drenched. We got out some beach towels and a big fan and started drying up the floor. We realized that when little mister chipmunk had been messing around with his favorite diet-snacks behind the fridge, he somehow damaged the water line.

Oh and Ted helped where he could…

chipmunk-fridge

It seems irrational to hate a chipmunk. I mean, they are adorable. But man, this thing was on my last nerve, which says a lot. Fool me once… oh forget it. This thing has fooled us like 10 times. We are definitely being manipulated by a woodland creature.

Time to bring out the big guns (not literally, to Seth’s dismay). Rat poison.

chipmunk-rat-poison

So because it is poison and there is no way of telling if it has been effective, I unfortunately can not tell you if we have been successful in our war on chipmunk-terror. I hate to leave you in suspense. I can happily report that we have had no more water leaks, or food destruction, or loud sounds waking us up from a sound sleep. So *knock on wood* we assume the issue has been taken care of and that Chippy is swimmin’ with this fishes. But I guess, the world will never know.

The moral of the story is, if you ever find your house being vandalized by a chipmunk, good luck, prepare yourself for the long haul, and start with poison.

Oh but if anyone needs any rat traps or humane mouse traps, we have a plethora!

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