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September 13, 2010

Dear Mouse (Rodent of Usual Size, thankfully),

I saw you again last night. You know very well we share a penchant for late night TV. Unlike other mice I have known, you don’t seem the least bit tempted by the poison I leave out for you. Nor do you seem to be repelled by the sonic gadgets I plugged in and endure because they promise to keep you away. Are you a deaf mouse? That would be just my luck.

While my mom claims that the mice in her house are cute, I hope it won’t offend you when I say that rodents will never be cute to me. I need you to respect my boundaries. My boundaries are pretty clearly marked as my house. I don’t care where or when you are outside, but my house, man–that’s mine. I pay for it. And I don’t want to share it with you.

Unfortunately, I have just about reached the limits of what I can do to you. I have tried to repel and to poison. Lucky for you, I haven’t the stomach for mouse traps. Please, please, please go away.

Or maybe I should just go to bed earlier.

Yours in Squeals,
p.s. I might be able to stomach an exterminator’s fee. I just haven’t been paid since June. Just you wait!

Below: behold an account proving my long-time aversion to rodents, typos and all.

From: Sorensen Emily
> Date: Fri, 27 Oct 2000 23:57:24 -0700 (PDT)
> Subject: RatSpotting
> October 28, 2000
> Kisumu, Kenya
> Dear Everyone,
> Let’s talk about local architecture for a moment:
> most people’s houses, and other buildings in the rural
> areas, have curragated metal roofs and no ceilings.
> That means that the sun heats up the roofs and
> consequently the rest of the house just like
> jiffy-pop. It also means that the rain hitting the
> roof is deafening and that you are virtually living
> outside–there is usually about a foot gap between the
> tops of the walls and the roof so all kinds of bugs
> and other creatures can come in.
> I thought I was very fortunate because the volunteer
> before me had insisted on a ceiling installment. It
> does make the house much cooler and the rain quieter;
> it also allows for the development of a large
> population of geckos and, apparently, other things. I
> often hear scurrying around up there, but that just
> made me more glad to have a ceiling–something that
> sepperated me from them. Once in a while, I would
> hear and enormous bang and frantic scurrying, and I
> liked to imagine it was a really really big lizard, or
> maybe a bird–it is a good thing I did not think too
> hard about it.
> On Thursday night, I heard a few things fall in my
> house, and I thought it was odd, but maybe it was just
> the wind, nothing to be very concerned about. Friday
> morning, I was very suprised to see the size of the
> things that had fallen, and when I went nearer to
> investigate, I frightened something that started
> running around and jumped and scurried up my curtain
> and sat on top of the window and looked at me–a rat.
> Of course, as with the termites, it was gigantic, and
> black and nothing like those friendly rats from Nimh.
> I kept myself from screaming, but did dress very
> quickly and went to my neighbors for advice. They
> seemed to find my reaction very amusing. I was
> adviced to get some poison, mix it with omena (tenny
> fish) and that would kill them. It took a lot for me
> to go back inside my house, but I needed to get my
> things for school, so I tried to make a lot of noise
> so the rat would know where I was and stay away from
> me.
> At school, the teachers found this situation very
> amusing too–they told me that Kenyans veiw rats as
> nothing more serious than cockroaches. Then, one of
> them started telling me about how cheecky rats can be
> and them coming and playing with people at
> night–touching them, chewing on the palms of their
> hands, even biting the tops of fingers off–very
> creepy!
> After my lessons, I sent one of my neighbors to buy
> poison for me–apparently, shops will not sell is to
> children or women, for fear that they will commit
> suicide (unbeleivable, huh?). He helped me prepare
> the rat food and put it above my ceiling–when he
> pulled down one of my boards, there was a rat just
> looking at him–“Oh! It’s a BIG one!”–very
> comforting. As I heard the scuttling up there, I
> realized how naive I had been thinking those noises
> were big lizards–yuck, I have just been cultivating a
> rat population.
> I had been planning on coming to Kisumu today, but I
> deceided I really could not stay in that house while
> there might still be living rats, so I escaped. I got
> out very late, and as I was fearing that no more
> vehicles would pass, I saw a private car coming. Many
> volunteers only hitchhick, but you probably know how I
> hate asking for rides, (I also kind of figured that if
> someone was willing to give me a ride, they would just
> stop–I don’t exactly blend in) so I just always take
> commercials vehicles, but it was near 7 and it was
> gettings dark, so I stuck out my hand to try. They
> stopped and were going to Kisumu. It was a man and a
> girls from a neighboring school on her way toa
> funeral. What luck! A nice car, free–it made it
> here in about half the time a commercial vehicle takes
> and was not even speeding. I may have to try hitching
> more often.
> Of course, it is some big Hindi holiday that I did not
> know about. All Kenyan cities have large Indian
> populations and Kisumu was alive with fireworks last
> night–not much sleep for me. But fireworks are
> better than rats. When I get home, Onyango (my
> neighbor) is going above my ceiling to clear out dead
> (I hope) rats, and I will be able to recognize their
> sounds better the next invasions round.
> I hate rats.
> Love, Emily

5 Comments leave one →
  1. September 13, 2010 12:27 pm

    Peanut butter is the key and a d-con trap. It is a box trap so you don’t have to view the carcass, just toss in the garbage.

    • September 13, 2010 1:01 pm

      I’ve seen those. It is definitely the most attractive of the trap options.

  2. September 13, 2010 12:44 pm

    If you can’t stomach a lethal trap, they do make glue traps. As you may know, we had a rat a couple years ago. NIGHTMARE. It took MONTHS to get rid of it. And in the end, it was a trap that did the job. Not the poison. Not the exterminator. A huge (enormous) spring-loaded trap.

    I did not mourn his/her passing.

    • September 13, 2010 1:04 pm

      Ugh. I never want to deal with a rat (Jimmy didn’t help?). The very thought makes me think I might get a cat, and I kind of hate cats. You’re so much less cowardly than me (does that construction make sense in English? I am brain dead), Amanda, I just couldn’t face the dead animal in the trap. If only Onyango were still my neighbor….

  3. September 15, 2010 8:22 am

    Uh, Emily. You are a woman. You’ve birthed three children. You are fearless in your opinions. You’ve traveled the world. You can handle a mouse. Trust me. You take a deep breath, remind yourself that you are capable, and you just throw the whole trap in a plastic bag, tie it and run to the garbage. Problem solved.
    However, I do have a cat with hunting instincts I’d be willing to lend you if you think that would help.

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