Friday, February 12, 2010

Unwelcome Visitors

Many posts to come on snowmaggedon and the follow-on snoverkill, not to mention the fun and games on hand in the house. But as I mentioned at the start of NaBloPoMo, there are lots of posts backed up in my memory banks and photodatabase that have to get out. And some recent excitment makes a missed post from October more pertinent.

One night in late October we had one of those nights. You know the night: Rich up with Andrew at midnight, me up with Elizabeth at 1, me up with Andrew at 1:30, Rich up with Elizabeth at 2. It was a night of shifting bedrooms and partners and if it our life was an english manor mystery, we would have woken with Mr. M dead in the parlor and a house full of suspects.

Oh, right, that's kind of what happened. (warning: graphic photos)

I was awakened at 6 am by Andrew crying in his crib. Rich had finally fallen asleep cuddling with Elizabeth in the wee hours of the morning. I stumbled out of bed, to find the picture above in our bedroom doorway. Unlike a weekend of mystery solving, in our case, the perpetrator made himself apparent very quickly, and received well deserved praise and support for offing the dastardly villian.

Really, I showed my appreciation as best as I could, without being too appreciative. On occasion, Harrison will make his way into bed in the middle of the night, which usually involves him jumping on our heads and sleeping on our pillows (really, there's another post someday about how my cat treats me as a booty call). Thank goodness that part didn't happen - I really prefer not to think of him dragging various mouse parts into our bed, nor cleaning off his paws.....anyway. As near as we could figure in our sleep addled state, Rich remembered hearing Harrison moving around downstairs and meowing around 2 or 3 am. I was up at 6 am, so he probably had a fine time entertaining himself then left us a present of his accomplishment to be found in the morning.

In 2007, he caught 3 mice in the house, all in the kitchen, all hidden behind Aggie's crate. The first time Elizabeth and I were home and I noticed Harrison staring intently at the crack between Aggie's crate and the wall. Not thinking too much of it, though he was totally focused, I just had a feeling and decided to check and see, and moved everything off the crate, positioned Harrison, and pulled the crate quickly away from the wall (Elizabeth, then 2, was safely contained in her booster seat). In a flash, Harrison darted behind the crate and came up with a mouse in his mouth, freaking me the hell out. I grabbed the broom and pushed Harrison out the back door onto the porch. Using the same broom, I encouraged Harrison to drop the mouse, where upon I promptly swept it off the porch. Not entirely smart, I know, but I just wanted it gone. It was probably that same mouse that showed back up two days later, but Rich was home and while the scenario mostly repeated itself, Rich handled the actual offing of the mouse. I think the next mouse showed up about a week later, but he was also promptly taken care of by Rich and Harrison. After each event, Harrison would spend a couple of days lurking by the site of the previous capture, which we chalked up to him looking for more excitement rather than any actual infestation. This all happened during a cold spell and we did some caulking and checking of possible entry points.

This fall we'd noticed Harrison staring intently at the base of the dishwasher, or along the baseboards in the kitchen, and whenever this happens we always praise and encourage him. With a dog and cat and two small kids, I've never been a big fan of poisons or traps, and have taken more of a you leave me alone or I'll get my cat to take care of you type of person when it came to pests. It's not don't ask don't tell - I explore and look around and trust me, if there were ever droppings or signs of infestation, Measures Would Be Taken. But an isolated event, caused by weather driving pests to look for shelter, quickly dispatched, and it's definitely just been a cause for a bit of excitement. So, this mouse demise happened in late October. Harrison skulked around the kitchen quite a lot after, leaving us suspicious that we might have an Issue. But no signs appeared.

Then we get 30+ inches of snow. And I walked into the kitchen from the front hallway yesterday, to find a mouse bold as you please in the corner by the basement. I'll admit I shrieked at the top of my lungs, causing the mouse to jump a foot straight up in the air, then do a double somersault before dashing to the gap between the cabinets and the fridge. The shriek brought Elizabeth running and she and I grabbed a flashlight and peered behind the fridge but no signs. Rich and Harrison appeared, but Harrison was completely disinterested. Rich moved the fridge out from the wall, and we all peered around and saw several possible escape routes. Harrison remained completely uninterested in the entire endeavor, which made me think our visitor was long gone. (It was a loud shriek.)

I've looked all around and there are no signs of mice. Harrison, despite a ton of encouragement, shows zero interest in the kitchen. Given his track record, we're sticking with him for now and remaining vigilant.


V said...

Yay for Harrison! The mouser in our family is the one without front claws. I hope Harrison's reputation spreads quickly among the visitors and they decamp to a new household.

The Lowe said...

Can I borrow Harrison?