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Peanut Butter - or a rag roll rug.

February 2, 2010

It was 50 degrees in my house this morning because my furnace kicked the bucket last night. I didn't worry too much, imagining I was back in New Zealand where it's as cold as that inside every day in Spring until you light a fire in the cast iron wood burner immediately in the morning, then every afternoon upon returning from work. I don't have a wood stove here. But I have a great HVAC guy, Ralph, who I left a key for on my way out. 


Ralph called this afternoon and said some rodent chewed a hole in the vent press tubing down in the crawl space, leaking the pressure necessary to ignite the furnace, which, he said, was covered in mouse turds. Lovely.


So I bought a couple of mouse traps and some peanut butter tonight on the way home, snapped my fingers a couple of times til I got the hang of it, and finally got them situated in the horror of crawl space where the furnace, and apparently a mouse, lives.


This all reminds me of the only other mouse I've encountered inside a house (unless you count the assortment of live voles, mice, birds and chipmunks my cat used to bring in the dog door, which forced me to seal it off, which devastated Hero the Wonder Dog). When I was 13 years old, my mom and I lived in a tiny little house on Pikes Peak Street in El Paso, Texas. We had one of those old braided rag-roll rugs wedged into the postage stamp sized third bedroom that served as a den. One day I saw something small move very fast from the corner of my eye. I crept to the edge of the room with a Reader's Digest in my hand, to hurl I guess, but didn't find anything - these were the days before I moved to the South and was introduced to the fear of roaches, fortunately. I lifted the rug a couple of feet back....still nothing. So I dropped it and carried on with the day.


A year or so later I was rolling up the rug - we were moving again, something I thought everyone did once a year - and there beneath it, towards the center of the floor, was a completely flat mouse. I knew immediately what I'd seen the year before. I scraped it up with a spatula and examined it for a long time. It was so perfectly preserved, mummified really. It reminded me of bear rugs laid out before fireplaces in gauche great rooms. Only smaller, and crispy.


I don't know which is a worse fate: peanut butter mouse trap, or rag-roll rug - a question we will all ponder at some point I'd guess. Rag-roll, with all the smothering, appeals less. Right away is better. Isn't it? 


I may not sleep well tonight, anticipating the awful snap and squeal under the floor, but I'll be warm, thanks to Ralph, without a necessary Spring fire - which I sort of miss. Sort of.

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