Tag Archives: mice

The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men Gang aft agley

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https://i2.wp.com/vetmed.duhs.duke.edu/Photos/cutebrownmouse.bmp I just tucked Budge in after an adventurous first day of Summer Vacation for her and the rest of the county’s teachers. Now I’m sitting here mulling over what would have happened if my plans hadn’t gang agley, as dear Robert Burns says. I know this much; if Plan F had managed to grow from seed to fruit, yesterday would have closed out my second full decade as a teacher. I was an emergency hire at Woodmont High School in October 1994 for the 94-95 academic year. A teacher who moonlighted at a retail store in the mall got a sweet promotion to full time district manager in another state and my resume’ was the one Dr. Susan Hoover-now-Achilles picked, I think at random, from a pile on her desk.

I realize now I’ve started in medias res so to catch everyone up, Plan A was to follow my dream to become a Midshipman at the US Naval Academy, marry my high school sweetheart at the USNA Chapel after graduation, make rank, win medals, and have pretty babies. As to the first part, I had the grades. At that time, I had the fitness ability. I had a sweet 1380 on the SAT (back when that meant something). What I didn’t have was an appointment. Ignorant babe that I was, I didn’t know one does not simply walk apply and get accepted into Mordor The United States Naval Academy; one must be “appointed” by a US Congressman from one’s home state. A few other shortcut ways exist, but I didn’t meet any of them either. Apparently, I didn’t impress either secretary enough to even get an interview with the august men so, NO NAVAL ACADEMY FOR YOU!https://i0.wp.com/www.sposabellaphotography.com/blog/2011/brittany/naval%20academy%20wedding_009.jpg

So, I did what I always did. I dropped back ten and punted to Plan B which was to enlist in the United States Marine Corps after graduation, marry my high school sweetheart after basic, get deployed, make rank, win medals, come home, and have pretty babies. Unfortunately, I’d wrecked my ’79 Mustang the summer before my junior year and a piece of bumper went through my left quadriceps right down to the bone. The wound got infected and turned into a cantaloupe sized subdermal hematoma which I delayed getting taken care of until it had seriously messed up the muscle surrounding the wound, the end result being a 5″x5″ puckered, sunken spot on my thigh with a direct tunnel of nasty scar tissue running right down to the bone. I went to my Armed Forces physical (MEPS) at Fort Jackson and was doing great until one of the doctors did something no one else had ever done . . . he put his finger right in the center of the scar mass and pushed. I hit the floor like a crack dealer during a Saturday night SWAT raid. He pointed out any enemy who captured me would do the same AND that spot was going to swell up tight whenever I ran, which he was right about — the swelling, not the capture — because my junior year wrestling i had to ice that spot after every practice. So, I spent the longest five hours in history on a bus back to Greenville from Columbia just to tell my very unhappy Gunnery Sgt. recruiter I was a medical washout.

So, dropped back ten more and punted to Plan C which was to go to college, marry my high school sweetheart, get a degree, and have pretty babies. Well, Plan C went down in flames one day in the spring of my senior year when my high school sweetheart announced to me at my locker on a Friday right after final bell, “I’ve got some good news and some bad news for you. The good news is, ‘IT ISN’T YOURS'” then turned and walked out of my life forever to become the wife and punching bag of an odious Georgia redneck. On the positive side, once I finally woke up Monday morningish, I understood with perfect clarity what a “Lost Weekend” is.

https://www.clemson.edu/visit/images/bowman-field.jpg

So, dropped back ten more and punted to Plan D which was to go to college . . . and after that things got a little hazy but, as you can tell, I’ve never been one for planning the details. So I went to college, became an engineering major for a total of two hours, and came out on the other side with a degree in Secondary English Education. I and my country bumpkin accent and grammar were off to become a high school English teacher. That was in 1993 and by the end of the summer, I’d lost any hope of getting a teaching job so with the aforementioned Plan D in tatters, I took the aforementioned job at Kufner Textiles. That year of 93 to October of 94 was a long, strange trip involving lots of adventures I may tell some other time, but not here.

Welcome to Plan E. Here, I worked as many hours per week as I could doing whatever, but mostly dyeing cloth dark blue, jet black, or sometimes whorehouse red. Whenever I changed lots, I had to climb into the dye vats and wash down the rollers and flush out the tanks. It was hot, wet, and absolutely miserable work, but those adventures I was having made it bearable for awhile. Then, on October 10, 1994, while in the middle of a change from blue to red, I got called to the public phone in the breakroom, Dr. Hoover of Woodmont High School wanted to see me for an interview as soon as I got off that afternoon.

http://vignette4.wikia.nocookie.net/smurfs/images/8/8d/Smurfette-original.png/revision/latest?cb=20130824204416That interview was a hoot.https://avikstudio.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/hellboy_001b.jpg

Dr. Hoover forbade me from going home and changing so I walked into her nice spiffy office looking like the bastard love child of a giant Smurfette and Hellboy. As always happened when I cleaned dye vats, I had blue dye in my hair, on my face, and all over my clothes. I splashed red dye starting up the second lot so I had red mixed in all over as well. I tried to get her to let me stand on the sidewalk outside her office, but she knew nothing about how strong industrial cloth dye is and I knew nothing about what a raging, control freak, diet obsessed hellcat she was so I came in and plopped my happy dye covered ass down on her brand new office couch and crossed my legs. When I stood up again, I had the job, starting the next day. So that led to Plan F where I would teach like some of my favorite high school teachers had taught and stay in the same room teaching two and a half generations of children for thirty years and retire with a luncheon and a cake shaped like a book of Shakespeare Plays to write the great American novel. Somewhere along the line, I’d get married and we’d have pretty babies.

Well, I got my Budge, several ex-students now friends, but only ten good years of memories rather than the thirty I’d planned. I could go into detail and I have in a previous post as to what led to Greenville County Schools and me parting ways in a most unfriendly fashion, but I don’t feel like digging up those bones tonight. It’s in the archive. So ended Plan F. Funnily enough though, the day I left the school ten years later, you could still see the outline in blue of someone sitting, legs crossed and arm extended on the arm rest as clear as a mountain stream on that office couch. https://postmediamontrealgazette2.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/a-empty-teachers-desk-is-seen-at-the-front-of-a-empty-classr.jpg?quality=55&strip=all&w=660&h=495&crop=1

An old proverb, maybe Jewish, says, “Man plans and God laughs.” I’ve fought my way through a few more plans until Plan I finally took over after I was unceremoniously let go from my last chance teaching job six years ago now. Still, IF things had worked out, I’d be two thirds of the way to retirement today along with some of the best friends I’ve never heard from again. Funny thing my daddy used to say about that word “if;” he said, “If a frog had wings he wouldn’t bump his ass every time he took a step either.” Ah the plans of mice and men . . .

Love y’all and keep those feet clean.

War of the Mouses

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My beloved Budge is going to stroke out when she reads this post because she is certain we will be labeled nasty people in the eyes of the world. Let me assure you we are certainly NOT nasty people. I am descended from grandmothers who ironed towels and sheets. My precious Papa Wham vacuumed the entire house EVERY Saturday morning including window sills, drapes, baseboards and any other surface his Electrolux canister vacuum wouldn’t suck up. Until COPD brought my sweet Mama low, I would not have hesitated to drink a cup of water from the toilet in my Mama’s home because she kept house THAT spotlessly. I don’t keep a nasty house.

Mus Musculum aka Bane of My Existence.

Now I told you all that to tell you this . . .

For three months, we’ve been finding mouse poo in our drawers and cabinets. This put Budge into 100% flip-out mode. Me? Not so much. I’m a very easy-going guy. I really don’t like to kill anything I don’t absolutely have to including spiders, snakes, and mice. We’re all just trying to get on with our lives. They got little mouths to feed just like we do. I’m big on live and let live, even in the animal world. I just made sure to clean a little harder and keep as much mouse offal out of Budge’s sight as possible. That was my plan and it was working well until yesterday.

Yesterday I opened the silverware drawer to get a fork for my two Buttermilk Eggo Waffles when I spied a puddle of mouse pee in the fork slot. Okay, like I said, I’m an easy-going, even-tempered man. I don’t wish any ill will on God’s creatures, great or small. Mice got to have a life just like we do. HOWEVER, I don’t go all up in their nests and pee all over their kitchen utensils and I really would appreciate the courtesy being returned. I will tolerate a great deal. I will even do some extra cleaning just to keep the peace and balance of nature, but let all rodents hear this and tremble: Put mouse pee in my drawers? It is ON like Donkey Kong.

I didn’t want to kill the little boogers though. I just can’t bear the sight of their little broken bodies in spring traps or the way their dead eyes stare at me from glue traps. I didn’t want anyone dead; I just wanted them to pack up the little Mouse U-Haul rented from the little Mouse Exxon Station and head next door or something. Like the Supersonic song says, “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here!”

Yeah, Boi! We fixin' ta kick it old school 8-bit style!

So, I went to Lowes and stood gaping at the myriad ways man has devised to kill his small furry neighbors. First I picked up three sonic rodent-runner-outer devices. At this point, I probably should have left, but I saw this spray “Designed to Repel ALL Rodents and Unwanted Animals. Triggers the Animal’s Flight Instinct.” I figured, cool, I’ll take one of these as well and put it around the spots I think they are using to get into the house. Once I got home, Operation Mouse Eviction began in earnest.

First, I plugged the sonic doo-dads into the outlets nearest the biggest problem areas. Then . . . I started to use the spray. I spritzed a big ol’ glob of it at the back of the pantry when — sweet mother of mayhem — the smell hit me. I now realized WHY Repel-ALL  “Triggers the Animal’s Flight Instinct.” I’ve smelled some stuff in my day, but this was hideous! No wonder a mouse wouldn’t come near it! I doubt a BUZZARD would come near it. This concoction would gag a maggot down off a gut wagon.

I read the REST of the label — specifically the part where it said “IMPORTANT: For Outdoor Use Only!” In the warnings it said “May trigger mild nausea.” Sure, if projectile vomiting like you’ve got a fatal case of Mekong Delta Stomach Flu is considered “mild nausea” this stuff will do the trick. It was so bad, the four cats RAN out of the kitchen like they had stolen something and jumped up on the back of the couch. Then they just stood and stared wide-eyed at me with this look that said, “Daddy, we love you, but you have really screwed the pooch this time.” All I could do was cover my nose and get out the Pine-Sol and air freshener.

Oh crap, honey! Did you inhale some of that stuff?

By the time Budge got home, the stench had greatly abated. Actually, she complained that the Brazilian Carnaval Febreze Air Freshener  I used to mask the smell was worse than the lingering undertones of the Repel-ALL. (Just so you know, Brazilian Carnaval Febreze ALSO reeks, just in a different, sickeningly sweet “whorehouse in Rio perfumey” way) I just looked at her and said, “You don’t like the smell of the air freshener? Take a whiff of the straight stuff from the spray bottle!” Of course, when she moved to actually pick up the bottle and squirt a bit, I grabbed her hand and said, “Whoa, Budge, you remember the vertigo baked spaghetti?” She turned pale. I said, “Worse.” The bottle stayed where it was.

I ended up dipping cotton balls in the noxious brew and dropping them down the holes next to the drain pipes where the critters were getting in and immediately plugged those holes with Brillo Scented Steel Wool Soap Pads. I don’t know if it’s the soap powder or what, but it keeps the fumes out of the cabinets. Most importantly, when I checked all the little mouse haunts this morning pee nor poo was anywhere to be found, so apparently the stuff works as advertised. I’m calling it a win anyway. Budge ordered me to get the mice out of the house. The mice are out of the house. Case closed. War won.

Love y’all and keep those feet clean because you don’t want them smelling like Repel-ALL!