Thursday, February 11, 2010

Of Which She Jogs My Memory of a Not So Good Memory

Ree over at The Pioneer Woman is having problems with mice. Naturally, since I have a propensity to offer advice on any number of topics (I's my downfall), I suggested the old-timey remedy we used when we lived in a house that invited mice to live in the walls and the attic and the basement and the drawers and.... You get the picture.

My advice? Forget the traps. Forget the cats. Buy d-CON and place it in the attic and basement. (Keep it hidden away where pets cannot find it.) Sure, now and then one of those four-footed d-CON eaters will die in the which case you'll have at least two weeks of mourning takes that long for the aroma to waft out the walls into the great outdoors instead of into your dining room (or whichever room is adjacent to the wall in which said critter died) and believe me, you'll be mourning! Dead mouse smell is ugly.

Thankfully, we have not had a mouse problem for years. However... Oh, dear, this is going to get gross...proceed only if you have not recently eaten lunch, or dinner, or breakfast or whatever.

Years ago we lived in the California foothills and we planned to move back to Iowa. Which meant we needed to get our home into salable mode. You know the routine. Get rid of junk. Tidy. Spotless. Don't even eat because the Realtor could call and give you a 5-minute notice to exit the property taking all your food crumbs with you.

We had one wee little problem. No one would even know about it unless they opened the coat closet off the living room. But since 99.95 percent of buyers open every closet in the house this really was not a wee little problem; it was a BIG problem.

Some weeks prior, a nest of critters (I think they were California ground squirrels) had a nest in the attic and somehow the nest fell inside the wall to floor level. Several critters dying inside a wall can leave a hefty aroma. Enough time had gone by that it really wasn't noticeable unless someone opened the closet door. And, Wow, did you notice then! Unless you didn't that case, it was no problem atall!

There we were...wanting to sell our house...the aroma still wafting not-so-gently in the coat closet. I'm a handy do-it-yourselfer so I figured this was my kinda project. Simple. Go into the closet, cut a hole in the drywall, remove the dead critters, patch the hole and be done with it.

I laid several plastic bags on the closet floor with newspaper atop. Rubber gloves encased my hands. A good steak knife cut a nifty hole in the wall...on the wrong side of the stud. Had to move over and cut a second hole. Thank goodness the knife was still sharp enough to manage a second try. So far, so good. Two holes in the wall.

The following is the worst part...leave now if you must. Consider yourself forewarned!

I placed my glove-encased hand through the hole in the wall and began bringing out bits and pieces of bones and dessicated flesh. Every time I withdrew my hand I screamed! Aaaaarrrgh! Remove a handful! Aaaarrrgh! Remove another handful! Aaarghhh! Ad infinitum. (Still makes me shiver to think of it!)

It was AWful. I can't tell you how AWful it was! When I had pulled out what appeared to be several skeletons I sprayed the interior of the wall with odor remover. Then I encased the cruddy debris within several layers of newspaper and plastic bags and tossed it in the garbage. I tossed the knife and the gloves, too. I'm not sentimental about such things.

Ree thinks she has a mouse problem! She doesn't have anything on me. Unless hers grow thrice their current size and decide to die by the half-dozen within the walls of her home. THEN she has a problem! But if that happens, someone can send her over here to read about how to get rid of the deceased ones.

The house did sell. I'm thinking the owners must wonder what is hidden behind those two patched holes inside the hallway closet. Some marvelous treasure? Perhaps hidden gold? Do you think curiosity has got the better of them by now?



Kelly said...

That's a story I can't, and don't want to top! Ugh!

I do know that "dead rodent in the wall" smell, though. Ugh again!

Pilgrim Mommy said...

Oh my goodness. I'll take mice over your nest of ground squirrels any day!
I like the concept of d-Con but dread the thought of a dead rodent in the walls because we have plaster. I prefer the old fashioned traps - the kind that will remove a finger if you're not careful.

Marydon Ford said...

D-Con is excellent for these little boogers!

Happy Valentine's
Have a great weekend.
Hugs, TTFN ~Marydon

Karen said...

We have a cat. And we also have a mouse ... every now and then. I guess the cat isn't very bright. Then again, maybe the mice aren't either.

That's Life said...

I was also going to say: can't beat your squirrel story! We are originally from South Africa where there is no tooth fairy, but a mouse that fetches milk teeth and leaves a coin in appreciation. Well! We had the cutest striped veld mice that sought shelter in the kitchen in winter. Gordon set a trap, Liesl put her tooth in her shoe - and wrote Mr Mouse a letter of warning!

That's Life said...

I was also going to say: "can't beat the squirrel story!" Thanks for your considerate warnings throughout your story!


The biggest mouse problem we have around here is about 20 miles away and his name is Mickey.

But where we go camping, near a mountain city named Idylwild, there is a bad ground squirrel problem


Debby said...


We always have a couple mice move in come fall. Usually, d-con takes care of it, but unfortunately, one of the mice managed to die in our wall as well. We also had to cut a nice hole. Dang critters.

S. Etole said...

I know the mice in the wall situation ... ugh!

Bill said...

Sounds like a great and smelly adventure for sure. If you had gotten to those squirrels sooner, you could have made soup.

We don't have mice here - just little tiny shrews. The only time they have ever come into the house is when a bored cat has carried them in, then let them go to see what the humans would do.

We do have squirrels, but they have never done anything like that.

WhiteStone said...

Bill!!!! Soup? Ugh!!!!

Debby said...

We eat squirrel here, and it is good. I don't know about California ground squirrels, but gray squirrels are good.

Marian S. said...

Eeeeuuuuwww! you really are a do-it-yourselfer! And a brave one at that!!
For mice, mouse stick-ums work pretty well too. If you can remember where you put them, you can retrieve them. Just a wprd of caution.... wait till the mouse is dead! My hubby got bit by a live mouse, stuck in the stick-um, while flinging it out the front door at 2am!