There is a Norwegian proverb that says It is better to feed one cat than many mice. I know this because I am of Norwegian blood. Their proverbs run through my veins like an icy fjord. I’ve been feeding one cat for ten years now, along with hundreds of mice. There was a point in time that I actually fed two cats, but the slow one was murdered by a mouse gang.
Oh Sarsgaard, the mice. They live under the hoods of our cars, in the walls between the garage and house, in my compost bin, and today I discovered they’ve co-opted the teak bar on my deck. There is a raging wind-storm going on (fun fact: wind is my most-despised weather occurrence) which caused the fold-down door on the front of the bar to open. I peered inside the bar to discover total destruction.
I store things in the shelves and cabinets during winter, things that I’ve successfully stored in there for 12 years. Those things are destroyed. Bag of wooden clothes pins: resembles Swiss cheese, clothes pins gnawed & soaked with pee. Votive candles: wicks buried under turds. Gardening gloves: chewed, pooped on and filled with acorn shells. The whole inside was filled with miniscule Styrofoam balls, which I later realized were from the bottom of the cooler/sink combo that you can open from the top of the bar.
I used to have a Volkswagen that the mice loved. There was a fiber lining under the hood that was just perfect for them to fuck up. Once I pulled up to a gas pump and noticed that I had just run over a mouse on the concrete. It was still twitching. I’m pretty sure that sucker fell out of the front of my car when I pulled in and then I ran it over when I slow-rolled forward to the pump. Another time I took the car to the dealer because it was having issues, caused by my air filter being crammed with acorn shells and pieces of the fiber hood lining. A mechanic looked at my car and jiggled some things. Then he drove the car into the bay and there was a 25-foot trail of acorns, which the service manager Instagrammed as a joke.
Earlier this year my husband obtained some sort of “natural” mouse repellant – because we are both suckers and hate to kill any animals, no matter how obnoxious. He, of course, overused the product (“if the can says to use 3-4 sprays, then 8-9 sprays will obviously do a better job! “) in the attached garage. I came out of the shower to the very pervasive smell of animal piss mixed with vomit wafting through my house. As he laughed and left for the day he mentioned that the product is advertised as a beaver repellant. Well, the mice were not repelled. But I am happy to say that we have had zero beavers in our garage.
Back at the bar, I was gloved in pink rubbers that went almost to my elbow. I shoved what I could into a flapping plastic bag that was headed for the garbage. The wind whipped my hair and clothes mercilessly while Styrofoam balls rode the gusts through my nose, eyes and yard. I imagined finding a mouse somewhere in the bar and tossing it high in the air, like a kite with no string.
There is another proverb attributed to the great people of Norway: either conform to the customs or flee the country. I had this in mind many times while attempting to make the mice flee. But now I feel defeated. Maybe the message is reversed and meant for me, from the mice. The mice rise against.