Monday, January 21, 2019

Feeling like a giant—in a creepy way, it was nice while it lasted

Last Friday night I was settled on the couch, watching tv when I heard a faint rustling sound coming from the kitchen. Uh oh… when you live alone and don’t own any pets, this can’t be good.

I walked in there, hit the light switch—and watched a small gray mouse jump a foot straight up into the air from the small sack of trash I had sitting beside my dishwasher.

I couldn’t believe it--I’ve had 3 apartments in the 32 years I’ve lived in Pittsburgh and this was my first mouse.  (I was in my last apartment 22 years and never saw so much as a spider!)

What made this especially ironic is that none of my other apartment buildings were managed a FRACTION like this place is! 
I grabbed my Swiffer, and from 3-4 feet away I CAREFULLY folded down the top of that brown paper sack.  Then I gently knotted the handles of the plastic grocery bag it was sitting in and took a big breath of relief.  “Enjoy your last meal, rodent.” I plopped the bag in the indestructible bin in my floor’s trash room.  I’d let maintenance know first thing Monday morning.

Saturday night around 9pm, I hear a small shuffle coming once again from the kitchen.  No!  I keep the trash under the sink now!  I head in there just in time to see a flash of brown fur scurry behind my dishwasher.   I tiptoe gently backwards out of the kitchen, go to my cleaning closet & grab my broom, head back into the kitchen and wait.  A few minutes later the mouse makes a reappearance.  "DIE!!”  I shouted and bonked it with the broom.  I think I stunned it.  I laid an open paper bag on the floor on its side, gently swept the mouse into it—and dropped my next victim into the hard bin in the trash room.

Sunday night I’m once again sitting on my couch working on a new blog (not this one) and a silver-gray mouse runs into my livingroom.  It sees me sitting on my couch and stops in its tracks.  I think the little guy is in shock.  I gingerly get up, go into the bathroom & get my little bathroom wastecan, come back into the livingroom (where it’s still frozen in place) & drop the receptacle (open side down) on top of the mouse.

I don’t hear a sound. “I don’t want to kill you!”  I whisper to the upside down Rubbermaid, and slide a folded brown paper bag underneath.  I hear a faint scratching sound on it’s paper bag floor and my stomach does a queasy flip-flop.  I take it downstairs on the elevator, out the building’s parking garage to Cherry Alley, lower it to the ground and the mouse tumbles out.  It sits there for a moment, sniffing the gravel before it scurries away.  “I won’t be so merciful next time!”  I yell in the chill night air.

I come back upstairs to my apartment, open my front door—and watch in disbelief as 2 mice are relay racing along the baseboards in my livingroom.   God help me, where are they coming from?  The mice are taking over. 

As I follow them into the dining area, one of them notices my front door is wide open and makes a dash for it.  I follow it just in time to see it bolt down the hallway and squeeze beneath the fire exit door.

(Besides being able to jump a foot straight up into the air, these critters can squash their own brains down and slide in & out of cracks like it’s nothing!  It’s creepy!)

I turn my attention to Ben, that lone mouse still in my apartment.  It’s just sitting there, looking this way & that like it’s admiring it’s new digs.  I pick up my rattan pouf and stand directly over it.  “GET OUTTTTTT!”  I yell and drop the pouf down—it takes off and follows its partner out the front door.  I head over to see if it went under the fire exit too, and surprised to see it hasn’t gone anywhere—it’s just sitting in the hallway about a foot outside my door and looking back into my apartment at me!  With one hand on the doorframe and not taking my eyes from his beady ones, I bend forward to take off my left flip-flop.  He knows I’m about to bash his brains in and dashes down the hall, disappearing from sight. 

I slam my front door shut--God HELP the next rodent that makes an appearance!

Later that night in bed, I dream there’s a row of mice atop my bedroom dresser, all on their hind legs and watching me.  I awaken with a start and jerk upwards.  Wonder what’s on tv at 4am?
Early Monday morning, I contact management and tell them I HAVE A REAL MOUSE PROBLEM, please don’t send a maintenance guy over here with a couple of those D-CON traps--I need a full hazmat team!  Rebecca asks me if I’ve seen more than one—are you kidding me??  Last night I saw a mouse battalion on my dresser standing at attention!  (That wasn’t a lie, y’know—well, not technically!)  She says ok and promises someone will be here at noon.  An hour later, I head out to do some shopping and return to find my stove, dishwasher and fridge door sitting in the dining room.  Two guys (Matt & Joe) come out of my kitchen.  “We found the point-of entry for your mice problem.  When they installed new dishwashers in your unit they left a wide gap in the wall where the water line runs in.  We’re going to fix yours and the woman who lives above you today.  We moved your other appliances to ensure the mice hadn’t made a permanent home.”

They explained they were just field mice looking for a warm place after the recent cold snap, and a pest control company was coming in 2 days to go over each affected apartment with a fine-tooth comb & locate the “chase”,  (the entry point outside).  Matt said “How did you take care of the ones in here?  Did you use a couple of those little wooden traps?”   I said no, I used my bare hands!
Two days later there’s a knock at my door—when I open it, I’m staring at the stomach of the tallest man I’ve ever met in my life.  My eyes travel upwards, I read Mike K – Ehrlich Pest Control on his shirt pocket.  He says “Mr. Morris?  I’m here to inspect your apartment after your recent rodent issue.”  Yes, yes—come in.  He tells me what he plans to do and I say “Sounds great, say can I ask you a personal--" and he stops me.  “I’m around 7 foot.  You’re not the first person to ask, you won’t be the last.”  I said “Wow… wow.  What’s it like to be that tall?”  He says “I don’t know, what’s it like to be… what, 5’5?””   I said “HEY!!  More like 5 foot 8!”  He said “Sorry about that, everyone under 6 foot looks 5’5” to me!”

My giant days are over.

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