See this little girl? That is Ellyn when she was 4. I wish we’d had a better camera back then, because prints from a Kodak 126 are not holding up very well. Anyway, the reason we are looking at this photo today is because of the sandbox she is sitting on and what was in it and what that means now.
Ellyn was playing in her sandbox earlier the same year this photo was taken, while I was in the kitchen canning beans [no doubt brought into the kitchen, in a bucket, by Larry ]. She came screaming into the house insisting that I come outdoors to help her because “there is a – a – a – bad thing in my sandbox!” She wasn’t afraid of much so I figured I should go right out to investigate. The “bad thing” was a Praying Mantis and with it’s huge eyes and fearsome claws, I could understand why she was thinkin’ it was bad. But we put it in a quart canning jar and talked about why it was cool and how you don’t get to see them very often, and she decided it wasn’t so bad after all. We saved it for Daddy to see when he got home, and in telling him about how Ellyn had run into the house, we got laughing and “there is a bad thing in my sandbox” has been a family saying for us ever since.
Well there is a bad thing in my sandbox right now.
A chewing, scrambling through the walls, munching on wood, digging through insulation bad thing and I don’t think it is a mouse.
Mice are a fact of life out here in the country. No matter what kind of house you live in, sooner or later, a mouse [or 10] will find it’s way in. It will hold a small, tasteful wedding ceremony with a mouse of the opposite sex, set up housekeeping and start having babies. You never have just one mouse. I don’t have any affection for them, but they don’t bother me that much. We set some traps, dispose of the corpses [this is definitely the editorial “we”, since it is right on the back of our marriage license that Larry disposes of all dead things] and go on with our lives.
There are two reasons I am pretty sure the uninvited guests we are now hosting are not mice. One reason I think that is because they sound bigger than mice. The other is that sooner or later mice always obligingly try to eat whatever we have used to bait the mouse traps and get themselves “deaded”. [an Ellyn word] Not one mouse has so far gotten “deaded” since this latest episode began.
I have been telling myself that what we are hearing in the walls are chipmunks. We have a lot of chipmunks around here. They eat the birdseed off the ground under the feeders and cavort about the back shade garden in a very entertaining manner all summer. Chipmunks are cute. They are not a good thing to have in your walls because they can cause a lot of damage, but they are cute. There is only problem with my theory, a problem Larry is only too glad to point out. Chipmunks hibernate.
What does not hibernate are rats. We live next door to a farm. Farm have a lot of rats. Rats are not cute. I mind rats. A lot. These facts are the reason I decided that the noises we were hearing were being made by chipmunks. If I don’t like reality, I can quite easily convince myself that there are other perfectly reasonable explanations for whatever it is that I don’t like. Larry, on the other hand is a huge fan of reality. If he ever comes up mysteriously absent and I have a nice, freshly dug, 6ft x 3ft flower bed somewhere on the premises, it will likely be because of his ridiculous affection for reality. Or his socks under the kitchen table. Whatever.
Poison is not an option. When you put out poison for rodents, you end up having to burn $379.45 worth of scented candles in your master bath for the rest of the winter. Don’t ask me how I know this, I just know, ok?
After considering our options, [selling the house and moving, moving without selling the house, just me moving], we decided that we will try ultrasonic pest getter-rid-of-ers. Or whatever you call them. Being the careful shopper that I am, I looked on the internet to find out if they work, and if they do, which ones work the best. This was absolutely no help whatsoever. For every person who says they work, you can find one who says they don’t. For every person who says they are a total rip off and waste of money, you can find a person who thinks they are the best invention since the ball peen hammer, which will kill a rat, but with considerable effort. I went away from the internet for awhile to think about it and then came right back and ordered them, because I DON”T CARE!!!!! I want these “chipmunks” gone and I want them gone NOW! Just because Mr. Owner of a Pest Control Company in Des Moines Iowa says they don’t work for him, doesn’t mean they won’t work here, in my house, on “chipmunks”.
And if they are driven out, I will never have to see them at all, which means my version of reality was the the correct one all along. They are chipmunks. They can just go spend the winter someplace else.