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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

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Let's Panic

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At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it.

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« What I Did This Weekend, by Alice. Now with pictures! | Main | Well, it's about damn time. »
Tuesday
May312005

It's springtime in Brooklyn, and the vermin have returned to us.

This time, instead of the usual (and heart-stoppingly terrifying) waterbugs, we have mice. Cute, teensy-tiny mice. Adorable, filthy, plague-laden mice. So wee! Really, they wouldn’t wig me out overly, if I didn’t think of the hanta virus every time I spotted one making a run for the dog food. And when they’re sitting still, it’s one thing, but usually they’re rushing past. Scurrying, scuttling—any of these motions cause my limbs to flail about as I squeal girlishly. Why is this, that the tiny running things cause one to scream and scream and scream? Also! The noises. The skritchy scrabbly noises. In the walls. Like they’re playing soccer with the skulls of their ancestors. And sometimes—sometimes we hear them gnawing. Gnawing at the plaster, so they can get out. And eat our brains.

We put out a trap. They ignored it. If I leave the dog food unattended for more than a minute, one of them is making a play for it, but leave a hunk of American cheese out all night and the mice decide to exert some self-control. Or else they’re onto us. Actually the day after we left the trap out, the mice disappeared for a while. Then they came back, because they’re stupid and also, mmm, delicious Iams Mini-Chunks. No rodent can resist it.

Then I had to kill one. The dog was sniffing at something in the corner, and there was a quarter-sized baby mouse tangled up in some wires. It was shaking violently. How could my heart not melt? Poor little disease carrier, I wept. I wept softly, because Henry was a foot away, playing with his Star Wars guys. I tried to free it from its prison. I just wanted it to go back to its hidey-hole, back where it could grow up and live to freak me out. But it wouldn’t budge, and it looked sick, and also, technically, we’re enemies. I had a job to do. So as Henry engaged thrusters and activated the launch sequence and kissed Darth Vader full on the lips (he really likes Darth Vader), I nudged the mouselet into a container, tipped the container into a bag, held the bag as far away from me as I could, and told Henry we had to go outside right then! To throw something out! Something gross!

This got his attention. “What is it? It’s gross? What is it?” And for some reason I said, “Charlie pooped. Charlie pooped in the house, and I have to throw it out right now,” and Henry said, “That’s gross,” and actually followed me out the door and down the stairs, all the while talking to himself about how gross that was, pooping in the house, wow, that is really really gross. And then before I could think about what I was doing, I said to Henry, “Okay, don’t mind what I’m going to do right now,” and lifted the bag high and slammed it against the side of the building (rest in peace, poor little mousie) and if you live in Brooklyn and you were walking past right then and you heard a boy asking his mother, “Why did you hit the house with the poop?” now you know what that meant. You’re welcome.

Reader Comments (71)

This time of year my apartment is visited by these little critters that are something between a worm and a centipede. They have lots of little legs, but they look and move--weirdly enough--like a worm. Anywho, there is something about the way they curl up into a ball that sends shivers down my spine, and makes me pick them up with a wad of kleenex and flush them down the toilet without a second thought. The thing that makes me really feel ooky about them is that they blend perfectly into my carpet. I have this berber with a crazy pattern and I often won't see one of these buggers until I step on it because it's hiding, like a chameleon, in the browny-red squiggles in the rug.

Baby mice are called pinkies, btw. So the next time you find one you can tell Henry you have to throw a pinky out.
June 2, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterrebecca
One of my extremely memorabl childhood recollections is from when I was 5 or so. We had a rat in the house, that my mother had been trying to poison. One day, she was reaching under our couch to get some of my younger sister's toys, and SURPRISE grabbed a dead rat instead.
June 2, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterjen
whatever you do, DO NOT RESORT TO GLUE TRAPS.
June 2, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterwix
Sorry, gotta disagree with the glue-trap haters. Glue traps are the best things ever invented. A few kibbles right in the middle and bye-bye mouse problem. AND AND AND, they also catch waterbugs.
June 3, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie
I remember coming home to my old apartment in NYC to an exhausted cat and corpses of waterbugs all over the kitchen (there was a hole in the wall under the sink) and lapsing into catatonia in horror. This morning (in my shithole apt. in Boston) a SILVERFISH THE SIZE OF A WOLVERINE zipped across the floor as I was trying to pee. My face was a rictus of horror for hours as I shrieked at the cats "CATS! Go eat the yummy bugs! PLEEEEEEEEEEASE!!!!!" They have no interest. Apparently, waterbugs are tasty, but silverfish (gah! GAH!) are fine if they want to do-si-do on momma's feet. Fucking cats.
June 3, 2005 | Unregistered Commentermissbanshee
I know of these tini-tiny, cute lil' squeaky, skittering disease carrying creatures of which you speak... I find one, scoop it up and take it out and find another one right when I'd left the first...4 in one evening. And then I left to go out and the neighbor's kitty and killed them all - 4 lil' mangled bodies strew about the entry.
June 3, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterAnnejelynn
Maybe if you would have given the mouse a cookie in the first place, he would have asked for a glass of milk which would have caused him to die of lactose intolerance; then there would have been no need to hit the house with Charlie's poop. Simple. Head for the cookie jar next time.

As for the big ass prego spider story....

Sick. Just plain sick. I WILL not sleep well tonight. Thank you very little, Julia (tickytacky.typepad.com).
June 3, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterPlanet Mom
Years ago, my mom found a twig with a pretty little pod stuck to the side, so she brought it into the house and made it part of a dead twig arrangement on the dining room sideboard. It was there for months until, one spring day, I happened to look over and noticed the pod had ruptured and hundreds of baby praying mantises were falling out of it in a big gooey ball. Supposedly it's illegal to kill them, but my mom sucked the whole mess up with the vacuum cleaner, skeeving all the while.
June 4, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterAmy
Illegal to kill a mess of BUGS?Sigh. What is the world coming to?
June 4, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterAfricableu
The comments from pirate wench above using the water bucket method reminded me of this.We used to do this for fun, at the barn (kids are sooo mean).Put a handful of sweet feed (grain with molasses) in the bottom of an empty 55 gallon drum. Lay a 2 by 4 across the opening. Leave it overnight. In the morning, a rat will magically appear, unable to climb out. Use the 2 by 4 to whack the outside of the drum and see how high the rat will jump. Highest jumper wins. (No rats were harmed using this method). Enjoy!
June 4, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterredhead
*shudder*

mice. such a funny thing. in our first apartment we had some upstairs neighbours knock on our door saying they'd heard we had cats and could they borrow one for a week 'cause they had mice and wanted to get the cat smell in their apartment to get rid of the mice. we shrugged, said sure, sent them off with one of our cats for a week, and it solved their problem.

who knew.



June 4, 2005 | Unregistered Commentermainja
You are too hilarious. Blogging more often is a must for you!!!

At least they are mice. I had rats in my attic last year. Blek!! We got rid of them very easily, but now when I go up to retrieve anything in the attic, I feel like rat tongues have been licking everything I touch. Not to mention their disgusting rat feet and nasty rat pee covered balls that drag all over when they walk. There were only 3 of them, but ewww. Eww, eww, eww.



June 5, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterjody2ms
I was living with my parents about 10 years ago when they drove out to the West Coast (from Illinois) on vacation. When they came back, among the souvenirs was a ziploc bag with olive husks in it that they had picked up somewhere in California.

Thank god it was a ziploc bag. My mom had set them on the kitchen counter while they were unpacking, and we walked by later to discover the bag was full of EARWIIIIIIIGGS!!!!!!! AUUUUUGGGGGHHH!!! It went straight into the garbage cans outside. I still feel all crawly thinking about it.

As far as spiders go, right now I'm staying in a cabin in Wisconsin while working at a theatre up here. At least once a day I see a big brown fuzzy spider. Quite often they're on their back on the kitchen floor, legs curled up, but not quite dead. WTF? It's lovely outside, lots of bugs, why are you coming inside and dying in my house?? Luckily spiders don't freak me out too much, but still.
June 5, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa
OH you have made me laugh!!!
June 6, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterCaroline
Iams tortures animals:http://www.iamscruelty.com/But, so do lots of y'all. So I don't suppose you'd care much.:(
June 6, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterGina
I read something this morning I thought should be circulated to a wider audience - roaches now have vehicles. A grad student at the University of California has build a cart that is driven by a madagascar hissing roach (they get as large as mice). The roach sits on a modified trackball and when it moves, the cart moves.

As if I didn't have a hard enough time catching the damned things, now they have getaway cars.
June 7, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterbob
Gah. Like you said, it's the scurrying that really freaks me out. You never know where they're gonna go next and who knows, it could be right up your pant leg. No thank you.
June 8, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterFraulein N
See, people are always accusing me of being a heartless right-winger, and _I've_ never smashed a poor little pinkie (the technical term for baby mousehood, I think) against a brick wall. Tsk. Even fished one out of the barbecue one time when I almost roasted the poor little bugger by accident. I think a toad got it like a minute later anyway, though.

Hey, my kid loves Darth, too! Maybe its a North Eastern thing.
June 8, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterBernard Guerrero
FYI: As I learned when I moved into my new apartment and got a notice that they would be checking each apartments for mice as they have problems (something not mentioned before I signed my lease), that dog food contains some vitamins that are an anti-poison in rodents. And it's perfectly balanced nutrition for these little guys. So we (the tenants of the apartments) were asked to make sure our pet food was stored in plastic containers and never left out all night. (We were also reminded that keeping clean and washing the dishes would help with the rodent problem. I'm happy that there are many people in my complex that have forgotten this). Anyway, the point: the dog food is probably the source of the little mice problem.
July 13, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterCrys
Well, i'm glad to see it's not just me who deals with mice issues. UGH! I moved out of my mouse infested apartment and just saw my first mouse after 3 months in my new apartment. I didn't move because of the mice, but did hope my new apartment would have greener pastures with no mice.

Anyway, i've become quite the unwilling expert. First off, yeah, mice are cute, but this is war. Only vegetarians have a right to avoid killing a mouse because they are too cute. (The mice, not the vegetarians). If you eat hamburgers, you are a soldier on our side.

You have to get the big glue traps that catch rats. Otherwise, it's true, the traps are too small and you may come home to a mouse scurrying around with a glue trap on its back.

For the humanists, once a mouse is caught in the glue trap, boil a pot of water and do the dirty deed. Just don't look at it as it goes under.

The glue traps also do catch waterbugs, so that's a big plus.

Place the traps along walls. Snap traps are worth a try. A raisin dunked in peanut butter, threaded to the trap, has worked.

I bought the humanist electic ratzappers, and that works for awhile, but then stops, The plates get coated with something (I won't say what), and the batteries need replacement after only a few kills.

I heard the peppermint oil...i'll have to try that.

You also have to plug all holes with steel wool. Preventing access is the best method. Even tin foil, until you get the steel wool helps.

And no leaving out pizza boxes, cookies, or anything else that is or smells like food. As much as mice like you and your TV, it's the food they want. Throw your garbage out every night or make sure it's sealed in a metal container until you do get it out.

Oh, speaking of TV, that reminds me...they like wires and warm appliances, especially in the winter..try to coil up computer and electric wires tightly.

Hope this helps my fellow mice sufferers, but keep mice where they belong, hanging out with Donald Duck.









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