Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Torment and Torture

Let me tell you about my day.

Justin had the day off.  I had a big job planned out that would also require a bit of change to achieve.  It was pay day.  Husband + money + project = a dream come true.

I was out of bed and on to my regular chores extra early.  As soon as my required work was wrapped up, we hurried outside to The Project.

The Project

We have a carport with a shed type space attached to it.  Since we have no basement, attic or garage, this is our only place for big storage--stuff like Christmas bins and camping gear.  It is woefully inadequate, to say the least.  First of all, the lighting doesn't work.  If the door get closed while you are searching around . . . well, in my case, I begin screeching and hyperventilating and panicking because there is also a mice infestation in that shed.  To add to the problems of the rodents and the poor lighting, the shelves were practically useless.  They were one foot deep, but notched for the studs so every little while they were only 8 inches deep.  What can you store on an 8 inch shelf?  Not a Rubbermaid bin or a propane stove, that's for sure.  Also, they were not level so round things rolled off.  The shelves ended up holding a few sundries while the rest sat on the floor--fully available to the whims of the dreaded mice.  The final problem our garden shed possessed was the floor.  It was wavy.  Not like little waves that might feel odd to walk on, but mega waves that make you seasick as you tromp across its full 16 foot span.  The height difference was about 6 inches from trough to crest.

Today I wanted to begin the process of making this a usable storage space.

Here you can kind of see the wavy, rotten floor.  Also, around the round beams,
you can see the perfectly crafted mouse doors.
This was a much taller order that even I could have guessed.

Look at that crazy, drooping press-board ceiling!
And more mousy front doors.  
Again with the wavy floors, the warped ceiling, the mouse entrances, and the tilty shelves.
We have our work cut out for us.
So, we hardily began the morning tearing out shelving, pulling the dozens of nails used as hooks in random, dangerous places, breaking up and removing the saggy press-board from the rafters and so on.  It was disgusting.  Every wack with a hammer brought up a new puff of century old dust and mouse droppings.  The face masks protected us a bit, I'm sure, but it made us extra hot and sweaty.  I was freaked out in a very real way, but I worked at convincing myself that all the noise we were making had long since scared the mice away.

Then we had to tear up the flooring.  We had no idea what we would find, but I was really, really scared.  I just swallowed hard and gritted my teeth and did what had to be done.  The first layer was the rotting press-board.  The second layer was cheap 70's paneling in odd sized chunks; also rotten.  The third layer was plywood that was so rotten it was practically compost.  Every layer brought a new level of apprehension knowing that at any moment a zombie rodent was going to leap out and begin attacking me and my babies.

When we finally peeled back the crumbling wood, we discovered . . .
Nests as big as the top of a five gallon bucket.  

"Be brave, be brave," I chanted to myself and tried to remember to breathe.

They were abandoned, but only recently.  I'm sure they only ran off after we began making noise.  I held a black plastic bag while Justin shoveled up the nests and dumped them in.  I turned away and closed my eyes, forcing myself to BE BRAVE.

After the mice nests were safely tied into the garbage bags, I went outside to remove my mask and breath for a minute.

                     By the door.
A freaking baby mouse writhing away.

I lost it.  I totally lost it.  I have this cry-ey, scream-y, wail-y sound that is reserved especially for mice.  Seriously, it is the only time my body can produce that sound.  The sound is always accompanied by a shaky, convulsive, hop-ey, high knees run.  My reaction to the sight of mice is the most honest, raw moments of my life.

It wasn't so much the baby mouse as it was the promise of siblings nearby.  A family that I thought we had chased far, far away couldn't be far away because they were babies.

They had been in the nests.

I'm not kidding when I say that I almost torched the whole thing.

It was a good time to take the full, borrowed pick-up to the dump.  We ran a few other errands while we were out.  When we got back to work a few hours later, I had gathered my wits once again.  I will keep going, but I will not be happy about it until the mice are eradicated.


How was your day?


  1. Oh Emily!! ICK!! ICK!! ICK!! I can totally relate to the horror!!! I would not have been brave and would have let my husband deal with it!! DISGUSTING!!! I also agree that a cat would be helpful!! Hopefully today went better and the mice are gone!! Love you!

  2. Oh, how awful!! We had mice in the ceiling of our office (right above my head ^^^ up there). The pest guys brought some traps with nice chemicals. The mice eat the stuff & go outside to find water & expire & turn into compost outside.

    And... You would not like the weekly process that we go through each week as we have to feed live mice to our Pacman frog. We buy them at the pet store & dump them in. Eek.

    Once again you have proven yourself much braver than I !!!