(Started) Sunday 4 December 2011
(Finished) Friday 9 December 2011
Blog VIII: Mice. The Sequel
Despite my excellent denial techniques, mice have once again made their presence in flat the known. In the past week there have been two more noticed mice events, though luckily they haven’t been sighted again. The first mouse incident this week was late Tuesday night and the second was Saturday morning. Tuesday night’s, or more accurately, Wednesday morning’s incident was far more traumatizing than Saturday morning’s.
Tuesday, as a whole, had been a pretty good day; I only had my Chaucerian Romance class at 2pm because my treacherous Tutorial was moved to Wednesday, so I decided to hit the gym in the morning and had a fantastic workout (which recently has been few and far between). Then I had a wonderful last Chaucer class and came home to a nice and relaxing dinner that wasn’t filled with anxiety due to mouse fear. In fact, I had recovered enough from the first mouse ‘attack’ that I was not only comfortable being alone in the flat but I was also looking forward to going to sleep and was planning on calling it an early night so that I could finally, after over a month of not getting a lot of sleep, pay some of that sleep debt. Sadly, Lady Fortune had another plan for me and suddenly my day took a turn for the un-delightful. It was about half ten and I was emerging from the toilet after making the final ‘before bed preparation’ of brushing my teeth when Paula and Ghaz burst in the front door, returning from their late night tutorial. They immediately asked me to join them in the kitchen and I foolishly threw my early night plans out the window (getting to bed any time before midnight is considered an early night in my flat) and followed them in the kitchen, wrong move. When I arrived in the kitchen Ghaz was in the process of making coffee for the two of them, at eleven o’clock at night, and the small kitchen table held two packets of twenty or so little sugared donuts from Tesco. I looked about dumbly for a moment or two before they explained to me that their tutorial, which had been taught by the second years who were telling them about their upcoming exams, had really ignited a fire of fear in their souls so that now they were going to drink coffee and fuel their current sugar high with donuts so that they could pull and all-nighter and study. As an experienced coffee addict I know that one should never drink coffee seven and for those, like Paula and Ghaz, who have never drank coffee they shouldn’t start at eleven o’clock at night; sadly this realization didn’t come to me until both were already dunking their wee donuts into their steaming cups. Since they were already in the process of drinking their first cups I decided to let it slide but made a mental note that if they tried this again or worse tried to have a second cup that night I wouldn’t allow it. As they inhaled their cups of coffee I feverously tried to muster enough energy to be able to try to follow their conversation but with all the caffeine and sugar they had ingested I had no chance so I just slouched back in my chair and observed their drunken like behaviour. At about half eleven Paula asked for a coffee refill and Ghaz decided that she wanted another as well, this is where I put my foot down, and before either could react I snatched the coffee off the counter and put it under my shirt so that they couldn’t get to it. This caused an animal like reaction from Ghaz who proceeded to hurl herself on me and attempt to, unsuccessfully, rip the coffee from my grasp. At this point I concluded I was far too tired to keep up with their hyped up minds and grabbed all the coffee in the kitchen and went to my room to watch the movie White Christmas, which soon put me to sleep. At about one in the morning I was awoken by the need to use the toilet, so I turned off the movie and journeyed to the toilet which was at that moment quitted by a rather frantic looking Ghaz who, at the sight of me, proceeded to block the door. In my fuzzy and half-conscious mind all I could really comprehend of the situation was that I needed to use the toilet but Ghaz was blocking my way for some reason that I didn’t want to know about, annoyingly she made the decision that I needed to know the reason. As my mind began to clear due to the interruption of my usual night toilet routine I realized that Ghaz was frantically trying to tell me something but before I could fully understand what she was saying I stopped her because I knew that; a) if I let her finish I wouldn’t want to go back to bed and b) whatever she was trying to tell me had to do with the vermin infestation. So I put my hand up and said that I didn’t want to know, she didn’t accept this answer and pushed forward until she had successfully communicated that there was a mouse in our kitchen. With this confession off her chest Ghaz was about to relate the story to me when she realized that I still hadn’t gotten to use the toilet, so she finally stopped talking (too late though since she had already related the bad news) and moved aside so I could get at least some relief at that moment. When finally alone with my own thoughts the reality of what Ghaz had just said sank in and my entire body began to shake uncontrollably. When I exited the toilet a moment or so later Ghaz was still standing like a terrified statue outside the door and immediately began to retaliate what had happened after I had left the kitchen.
After I had left and taken the coffee with me, Paula and Ghaz had both calmed down enough to do some studying while playing music on their fancy smancy phones. All was going relatively well when Paula stopped and asked Ghaz if she heard something. Both girls stopped and listened and they heard a loud scuffling sound, a scuffling that sounded like a mouse sniffing around in a cardboard poison box. They waited for another heartbeat before concluding that the sound was coming from over near the refrigerator, which just so happens to be one of the spots in which we have a cardboard poison box, at this realization everything fell into place and they proceeded to run out of the kitchen and probably do quite a bit of squealing and freaking out (I don’t really know I was asleep). Apparently they were making enough freaked out sounds that they woke Lindsay for a milla-second before she put in her earplugs and went back to sleep. Soon after leaving the kitchen Ghaz quickly returned to grab Paula’s things and said that she didn’t hear anything but she didn’t hang around to explore. After getting her things, Paula quickly left our mouse house flat for her own vermin free flat. This is about the point when poor unfortunate me ran into Ghaz.
After hearing the description behind the original statement of a mouse in the kitchen I returned to my room and turned on the movie The Family Stone to try to calm my rattled nerves, it didn’t work. Minutes into the movie my mind started to run at a thousand miles a second and my heart began to race which woke my entire body up so that I could hardly remain still due to fear. At this un-rational point in the wee hours of Wednesday morning I decided that I needed to mouse proof my room and proceeded to stuff plastic bags under my door so that a mouse couldn’t get under it, again. In the middle of this process my mind created the unrealistic belief that the mouse would be attracted by the plastic bags and then come to check them out getting stuck in the plastic and suffocate so when I woke up in the morning and opened my door I would find a mouse lying dead in the heap of plastic (I have a very overactive imagination, this is why I’m an English major). So I began to remove the bags from under the door when I heard a small voice ask if I wanted help. I threw open the door, shocked at how badly my legs were shaking, and immediately began to lay into Ghaz for telling me about the mouse, she stood their quietly and listened. When I was done freaking out, or at least when I had run out of air and need to stop talking so I could catch my breath, she took the chance to apologize and inform me that she had debated telling me (she had even considered knocking on my door right after Paula had left) and had concluded that it would be best if I knew about the mouse. I have since diagnosed the reason behind Ghaz telling me: it was because she was afraid and since Paula had left she didn’t want to be alone with the information, it always helps to have someone else know and most of all to have someone else to talk through it with you so that you calm down. Though I was upset with her for going through with such a selfish act I know what it is like to deal with something that scares you alone and I would always prefer her to scare me out of my wits with undesirable information to help her calm down than to let her suffer alone, I know she would always do the same for me. Anyway, we ended up standing in my doorway for two hours talking the whole thing through trying to come up with a logical explanation and trying to decide whether or not we should go in the kitchen to check it out. From one to three in the morning we circled around the argument that: nothing had come out of the kitchen which must mean that the mouse, if there was one, was still in there and if we went in we wouldn’t be brave enough to really do anything except scream which would then scare it out of the kitchen and probably into someone else’s room. But finally after a few hours we concluded that hopefully the mouse had gone back to where it had come from (probably via the hole behind the cooker), once again if there was a mouse, so we chose to venture into the unknown (mostly because I wanted to return the coffee I had stolen earlier in the night back to the kitchen) and see what we would find. But before we quitted our guard of my room I took the printer box and the post box from my dad off the top of my wardrobe and fit them perfectly in front of my door so that they blocked the opening so if a mouse was scared from the kitchen and ran out into the hall it wouldn’t go into my room. It has since been dubbed by Lindsay my ‘impenetrable mouse barrier’, despite the cruel jokes I refuse to remove it. What we found when we entered the kitchen was a whole lot of nothing. Yup, the kitchen was completely empty and silent. We searched all the areas and made noise to see if anything was hiding anywhere but the only living vertebrates in that room were the two of us. But we were still unsure if a mouse had been in the kitchen and had just returned to its home through the wall behind the cooker, and Ghaz thought that the poison box next to the refrigerator looked like it had been moved. I looked at it and concluded, with our best interest in mind, that it hadn’t. So we returned we left the kitchen with the conclusion that there hadn’t been a mouse in the kitchen but that the giant hole behind our cooker needed to be fixed immediately.
Though the terror was over I still couldn’t and didn’t really sleep that much that night because deep down I knew that that poison box had been moved and that some of the poison was missing. So instead of sleeping I emailed the building manager, Sandra, and informed her that I had previously complained about the hole behind the cooker and though someone had come and looked at it nothing further had happened and it was possibly that we had had another mouse that night. As day broke I finally was able to fall asleep and slept until ten since I didn’t have to be anywhere until 2. In the cool light of day I admitted out loud that there had been a mouse in the kitchen and was once again overtaken with fear, fear about the coming night which could hold any number of terrors (one of which was the multitude of mice that ran back and forth in the ceiling). At about noon, when my fear had bubbled over to ridiculousness and my mind was consumed with imagined images of mouse terrors, there was a knock at the front door; a knock that had been made by a very lovely looking Scot. It is amazing how quickly a girl’s mind can be distracted; it is also amazing how often men seem to come to the rescue in this country. This lovely man and his associate were there to fix the hole behind the cooker, woo men! I don’t know if I’ve ever appreciated men so much in my life. After explaining the situation about the hole and its probable link with our mouse infestation, they disappeared from my view into the kitchen to rescue the damsels of my flat (namely me according to everyone) that had been brought to distress by the mighty mouse terror. Oh how my heart flew and fluttered in my chest! Through my haze of desire for the maintenance man and fear of the mice I realized that I needed to get going so that I could take out the recycling and collect my Chaucer paper before going to figure out what was wrong with my computer. So I quickly finished getting ready, put all my stuff in my backpack, and put on my fifty layers of winter clothing before heading into the kitchen to collect the recycling. The surprise that was waiting for me in the kitchen can hardly be described because the illusion of it lies within my mind as a piece of art, but I will do my best to make it reality. That Wednesday afternoon was a rather dreary one, it was cloudy with the promise of rain but when I entered the kitchen there was a stream of white light coming in through the window. As I came to the end of the hall and entered into the main area I saw the gorgeous Scot standing engulfed in the light, only a dark shape interrupting the stream of heavenly light. This glorious illusion lasted for only a second, though it’s a second that has become frozen in my memory, before it was broken by him noticing my entrance and turning from the window to face me. He then proceeded to talk to me and we discussed the reason behind the whole being fixed, he commented that the mice were coming up pretty high which seemed a bit odd. Though I took in what he was saying I was only half paying attention because my mind was away on the beautiful stream that was his thick Scottish accent. Suffice to say I really didn’t want this moment to end. But with the realization that time was ticking and I had a very strict schedule to stick to I kept half turning away trying to leave (oh how I need to drop my strict schedule demands and enjoy what comes to me) but every time I began to turn around he would make me turn around again by continuing the conversation. Unfortunately I finally pushed enough and ended the conversation and left the flat (I really should’ve just stopped trying to leave because he obviously was happy talking to me and I was very happy being with him). When I returned from my gruesome day, my poetic muse was gone but the hole was fixed and I still look at the fix lovingly, partially because the whole is no longer there and I’m not plagued with the image of a mouse squeezing through, and partially because it reminds me of the lovely Scot.
So Wednesday’s incident, though terrifying and traumatic, seems to be only a shadow in the glowing memory of the maintanance man. Saturday’s incident wasn’t half as traumatic or poetic. With the boarding up of the hole behind the cooker and the installation of my mouse barrier, I immediately began to relax and again convince myself that we would have no more mice, wrong yet again (I’m rather sick of being wrong). During a lone breakfast Saturaday morning I happened to look under the heater in the kitchen where one of the poison boxes is located and discovered that not only was there a ball of fuzz next to it but also there was mouse poison EVERYWHERE. Immediately my heart began to race and my hands started to shake, but after a second of panic I told myself that I needed to stop letting this fear control me. So I sat there at the kitchen table and forced myself to face the truth that a) there were mice in the building and b) I would not allow them to chase me off and terrify me. With this I began to eat again and had a rather enjoyable breakfast and lovely day. Though I did once again email Sandra and ask her how often the pest guy came because there was poison all over the floor underneath the heater which meant that there wasn’t much in the box anymore, I also made a comical post on Facebook:
Dear mouse that was in our kitchen sometime during the night, You are a very messy eater and seem to be shedding. You left a slew of poison pellets under the kitchen heater and a big chunk of fur. If you demand to feast on the poison in our flat please try to be a cleaner eater. Sincerely Flat 15 PS. Is it possible that the mouse would stay and die in the poison box or do they just go back to their homes within the walls?
On Monday I got a rather discouraging reply from Sandra who told me that the pest guy comes every two weeks and will continue coming to our flat until none of the poison in all of the boxes is gone, she also commented that we really seem to be having a serious problem in our flat and used an exclamation mark. Comforting. Possibly the cleanest flat in the building and we have the worst problem, or at least the worst one that is known about since I email Sandra practically every time we have a mouse.
Tomorrow will mark a week since I saw the third piece of evidence of mouse activity in our flat and honestly this really doesn’t mean much to me. I still check my room every time I come home and always check the kitchen before cooking and continually make noise while in there. The only discouraging thing I’ve found this week of mouse activity was when I was obsessively cleaning the kitchen on Wednesday and moved the couch closest to the heater and found a pile of mouse poison which was a bit odd, but I vacuumed it all up plus the fluff that was under the heater. I still hear the mice scuttling about in the ceiling but hope that I will not encounter anymore while I am here.