Backpacks, Loops & Spoons

Area Woman Demands Medal For Heroic Rescue of Disgusting Thing She Totally Hates

Jason Storch, Mouse Trapper M.D., caught himself another one this morning. He was quite proud of himself. The dog and the cat, on the other hand, were all nonchalantly hanging around the trap, waiting for me to put their kibble down, COMPLETELY UNFAZED by the live mouse SITTING RIGHT THERE in a clear plastic box, and did not seem to be all ashamed of themselves and their utter uselessness. 

Also! This: 

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That's a dishtowel covering up today's Gladware-encased rodent offering, on the front seat of my car, as the whole "release" bit of Jason's catch-and-release plan fell to me this time. ME! 

Technically, Jason offered to take care of the mouse...later. Like, "I have to go somewhere around 4 p.m. so I'll do it then" later. I pointed out that while it's fine and great that he's so determined to trap the mice humanely and all, there's something about keeping the things trapped in cheap plastic containers all day --wallowing in piss and shit and probably terrified out of their feeble stupid tiny poop-pellet-sized disgusting brains -- that strikes me as kind of cruel. 

(Also cruel: My suspicion that he likes keeping the mice around because he thinks the look on my face and the involuntary creeped-out shoulder-spasms I get each and every time I walk into the kitchen and see the container on the counter are really funny.)

And so that's why I -- the sole non-lunatic in a household of males that have all been completely brainwashed by the Disney animation establishment -- ended up taking responsibility for freeing the awful creature in a field near Noah's school. 

(The whole drive there, Noah kept trying to understand WHY I don't like mice, mostly by asking me if I liked mice or not over and over and over again, trying to wear me down and get me to say that I did. And wear me down he did, because I finally gave up and told him that yes, I like mice just fine when they are OUTSIDE, but that I don't like mice in my HOUSE. Or CAR. Or FOOD STORAGE CONTAINERS.)

(This half-truth is still probably better than the colossal outright lie we tell him about "sending the mouse back to his family" when we talk about setting them free, because I know full well that the mouse's family [and likely a litter of blind naked mole-rat dependents] are totally back at our house, inside of our wall.)

So after dropping Noah off at his classroom I snuck over to the edge of the parking lot with my dishrag-covered offering and set the mouse free. I watched it sit there for awhile before bounding (BOUNDING, HE HONESTLY BOUNDED, IT WAS GROSS YET ADORABLE) over to a tree to clean itself off. 

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Freedom! Terrible, blinding freedom!
I drove off and then found myself worrying about the mouse -- God, maybe I should've walked over to those bushes so it wouldn't be left so far out in the open? Or over there, where it wouldn't be so close to the street? Quick, scan the sky for hawks! Should I go back and try to like, corral it someplace else? 

The mental image of myself, running (OR BOUNDING) through a field by the side of the road, trying to ensure the relative safety of a MOUSE, possibly while banging the lid and bowl of a thoroughly befouled Gladware container together, snapped me right back to curmudgeonly reality, which was: That thing should count its goddamn blessings already. 

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You are a saint and therefore deserve a medal. Bounding indeed!


I totally believe that if Jason were not trying so hard to be a grown-up, he would be chasing you with these mice. And possibly pulling your pigtails.


Ahh, the joys of mice. Let me share my lovely story:

DH and DS found a mouse in the garage while I was gone on a trip. When I return home, we have 2 new pet mice. Luckily they were purchased at the pet store and the garage mouse was released elsewhere, but STILL. My one trip sans child and this is what I get for leaving!


Okay, but here is my question: HOW do you let it out of the container? Aren't you afraid it is going to leap directly into your hair?


I am hyperventilating on your behalf just from reading this. Kudos on the not-losing-your-shit!


So my dad did catch-and-release with squirrels, but painted their tails first. Therefore, we knew the SAME ones were returning until we painted them another color and deposited them on the OTHER side of Colesville Road. My tip to you is to make sure they are on the other side of a major road :-)


impressed. that gladware would have gone into a dumpster, mouse and all if I'd had to get up the nerve to open the lid.


I'm not even going to get started on telling you about my coworker, who had to move out of her rental house with her young son (she is a single mom), because the house was infested with rats. She had been there all of a month when they started showing up everywhere. Fur and turds were found in all her drawers, they chewed up her son's nerf football, and ACK!!! I feel so bad for her. Plus the landlord was an asshole and still hasn't returned the deposit. Are you contemplating any further action to rid yourself of mice? B/C it can get much, much worse. Not to be a downer, but seriously...


I used to think mice deserved to be caught in humane traps and set free because they were one of God's creatures, etc. Then we had them living in our garage last winter. Where we parked our cars. Our nice warm cars that the mice decided was the equivalent to a condo in Boca. The first time the mice made a nest in our car's heat/AC vents. Cost $250 to fix and the car smelled like the bottom of a hamster cage every time you turned on the heat. Cleaned the garage, removed mice nesting in a bag of old hats, problem solved. Yeah right. Christmas Eve, on the way to visit some friends, car is dead. Mice have made another nest, this time in our damn ENGINE, chewed wiring and everything. Cost $1400 to fix. Humane traps my ass. My advice, seriously, call an exterminator.


that looks freaking huge...saint you are


OK, I wasn't going to tell this story as some might find it disturbing BUT seeing as you've mastered the art of catching mice let me tell you about my RAT catching fail... The day you caught Mickey no.1 we caught a big-ass rat who had been haunting our house for the past week. I finally got fed up and got some traps (but not the animal-friendly ones) 3 days prior. They were mouse traps because we never expected anything bigger... When I arrived home on that dreadful day I heard a muted screech and clanging noises. I knew then and there what had happened, though I wasn't sure where the noise was coming from. I followed those gruesome sounds into the living room, phone in hand, explaining to my DH what had happened. I found the poor thing attempting to release itself from the trap, unfortunately the trap was caught on his jaw... DH was surprised I couldn't catch the darned thing! Poor bugger...

Kate@And Then I Was a Mom

If it's not too late, PLEASE: Do not let them see "Ratatouille." Gladware habitats are one thing. But French cuisine? An entirely different beast right there.


EEEWWW. Strong work! If you know where they are coming from, try peppermint oil on cottn balls, strong smell but mice do not like. Good Luck.


My favorite part of this entire endeavor with the mice? "Fuck you Mickey. Good luck not being eaten!" I heart you Amy. Please, can we be friends?


This is almost as good as the Deodorant Sagas...


Ahahahah I love that the guilt came creeping in. Hilarious.

Sprite's Keeper

Brackets correctly placed within parentheses? Now THAT deserves a medal!


Dud, call an exterminator. Or a critter catcher. Or something. B/c I couldn't sleep at night. I'd imagine mice everywhere.


Sorry, that was supposed to be dude. I have got to stop commenting from my phone.



Sorry, but stories about mice and/or rats gross me out! And reading these comments has made my skin itch. MICE! ON MY SKIN! I CAN FEEL THEM!

Forget the Saw movies. A creepier, more disgusting movie could be made with just eyewitness accounts of catching mice. I would never sleep again.


In college I caught 5 baby mice in one of those humane traps at once! I don't know what they did, probably one of those stupid things where it's like "Oh No! Paul is stuck, quick guys, let's get in there and help Paul!" and thus they all went into the trap and got, well, trapped.

Anyways, I had a little live trap with 5 mice, so I drove out to the humane society at night and let them go in the wild area behind the building. There was one little mouse that didn't run off right away and instead sat there and looked at me. I almost put the lid back on to take him home as a pet. But I refrained.

I'm sure he became an owl's dinner about 20 minutes later.


And to concur with Amanda--Mice have a range of up to like 5 miles or something, so if you're releasing them less than 5 miles from your house, you have the possibility of the same mouse coming back to your house...though I figure they have to be opportunistic little buggers and will find a different house before they make it back to yours.


Amalah, I'm a huge fan of your blog and have been reading for years. As a fellow resident of the DC area, I love to hear about your kids and your take on local events and bitch right along with you about traffic.

But please! For the love of god! Stop with the mice pictures. Twice now my RSS feed has caused me to have palpitations. My fiancee (who has recently trapped several mice in our own apartment) thinks it's very funny, but I'm sure you weren't intending to kill other mice haters. Please consider the haters!


So my oh so serious question is, exactly how many snowman containers do you have?!


Have you seen that "Crocodile Hunter" episode about the farmer whose grain silos are infested with mice? There is a scene of, oh, about a million and a half little rodents RAINING DOWN on Terri Irwin's head and crawling in her clothes.
It was unbelievable!


is it totally awful to admit that i had the willies the entire time i was reading that? because i did.


We had a mouse once, or so we thought. Turned out to be at least EIGHT OF THEM! We tried to be humane about it at first, but after awhile my husband started "taking care of them" with a shovel and/or poison blocks. I haven't heard any scritch-scratching since!


On the behalf of anyone living anywhere near where you're releasing these mice, for the love of Pete, please just get some regular old snap traps. Really. I tried the humane traps, I really did. And then we tried the inhumane ones, and lemme tell you after releasing a wee baby mouse near a park, who I am sure was eaten shortly thereafter...just put 'em out of their misery faster.


Call an exterminator. Seriously.
You're going to run out of tupperware.


On an unrelated note....where did you get the B&W dishtowels. They would match my kitchen well....minus the mouse hair.


Not to rain on Jason's parade, but releasing house mice in the wild is not humane nor kind to the people living near the release site. If the mouse manages to escape getting eaten or run over or starving to death it will find a way into the nearest house or building and become someone else's problem.


A sad fact about mice (that I know because I LIVED IT...the horror!) you never have a mouse in your always, always have mice. I caught 13 over an 8 day period this winter (ugh.) and I was not humane to them, so I give you credit for that.

Try the peppermint oil trick though. I put those under our bed because I was freaked about mice crawling on me in my sleep and we never found any droppings in our room.


Reading your post is my lunchtime routine at work, and also the best part of my workday. Especially mouse and deodorant story entrees. Seriously...Thanks!


On a different topic, I thought this might be of interest for Noah, given his interest in the Star Wars opening credits (and that you might have fun with it as well).


Oh yeah. You so liked that mouse!

Katie Kat

Oh no! What if you just let the Mom and Dad go and that little nest of cute, naked, ORPHANED babies is now behind the wall... with no FOOD, or WATER, or WARMTH???!!!! YOU HAVE TO SAVE THEM AMY! WAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! (Think of it this way, if they die the smell will be WAY worse than rescuing the little nippers!)

hee hee


You do deserve a medal!!! Because I think he is really, really cute and I am just not sure I would do the catch and release thing. Especially the opening of the container part....OH.MY.GOD. I don't brush spiders out of the corners of the ceiling because I am afraid they will fall on me. The same general concept applies here. AAAAGGGGGGHHH....I just gave myself heeby jeebies.


You SO deserve a medal. Just your story and pictures are giving me nightmares. There is NO WAY I would put a mouse, no matter what kind of container it's in, in my car. EWWWWWW! I would not be able to release it either. I could possibly bring myself to pick up the container and toss the whole bit in the trash. But I'm not sure I could even do that. You are so brave . . . you are my new hero!


You SO deserve a medal. Just your story and pictures are giving me nightmares. There is NO WAY I would put a mouse, no matter what kind of container it's in, in my car. EWWWWWW! I would not be able to release it either. I could possibly bring myself to pick up the container and toss the whole bit in the trash. But I'm not sure I could even do that. You are so brave . . . you are my new hero!

kari weber

Ick! And also Yuck.

And! And! How much more Gladware does Jason plan on going through?! Pretty soon he will be forced to go into the next Holiday Themed cabinet!

Won't someone please think of The Landfill?!


Hell, Amy, you are a better woman than I am. In the middle of a mouse problem at my old house I once came home to find a dead one in the middle of the living room floor. Put a mouse in a tupperware? A DEAD mouse even? I couldn't even enter the room. I went back outside and couldn't even look at it through the window. I made my neighbor's brother dispose of it while I sat in my neighbor's kitchen, trying out her new espresso machine (because I really needed more caffeine right then). When the brother came back he wouldn't even tell me where he threw it. I tell myself it was a Christian burial, though.


God, reading this makes me soooo thankful we moved out of our rustic cabin (ie. Shack ) in the country. Not only were there mice galore, but we also had bats, chipmunks, and...wait for it...
Screw being surrounded by unspoiled land. The new house has a nice, crack and gap free basement that those nasty little rodents can't squeeze through.
Assvise for you; if you can find the gaps and/or cracks that micky and friends are squeezing into your kitchen through, stuff them full of steel wool. Little fuckers can't stand the way it feels on their feet so it's pretty good at keeping them out.


Oh god, please stop with the mice stories! Because I am FREAKING OUT that ours are not yet gone. OMG, was that a scritch noise? GAAAAAAH!

I feel you on both the hatred and the guilt. I blame my mother, because she used to be Catholic. It's inherited guilt. Damn her.


UGH, even the pictures are making me shudder. UGH. We had mice like two years ago, and I STILL think they are here when I get up at night to go to the bathroom. Their memory lives. GROSS, GROSS, HORRIBLE YUCK.


Your mice are luckier than mine were. I even think mice are kind of cute, but pooping in my kitchen is a capital offense.


As someone whose home had a mice infestation/invasion during her 38th week of pregnancy, I have become somewhat an expert on mice removal.

Step 1: Forget catch and release (for all the reasons other commenters already covered).

Step 2: Find the point of entrance, and cover that spot up good! Once mice find a way in, they tell all of their micey friends, and pretty soon they will be moving in to your home by the tour bus load. After they move in, the breeding begins, and those little fuckers breed like crazy.


I am so glad to see that the word about Foer is spreading!

beta dad

Wow! I've never known a woman who was so freaked out by mice, despite the stereotype. Oddly, the only person I knew who was deathly afraid of the little rascals was a big old redneck I worked with when I used to live in Central VA. He drove a huge, jacked-up truck, lived for Nascar and hunting--the whole bit. But when a mouse ran into the house we were building he totally jumped up on the sawhorses and squealed like a little girl. I don't quite get it. I understand recoiling from a snake as kind of a hardwired defense mechanism. But what's so horrible about a mouse? (OK, rats are pretty gnarly though.)

From Belgium

Oh I so hope they haven't bred, because when they do it is a horror.
We once had to replace a portion of the isolation foam on the roof because the mice had made a nest there. How we found out? We got a poopstain on the roof of our living room, directly below where the nest was.
I don't mind mice (don't have them, thank you cat)but that was GROSS!


Ok, that last line? Perfect. And I am with you on the ick factor but we are cruel and put out poison. BECAUSE YUCKYYYYY.


Had a thought on the "Any" mouse from the other day. Could that have been "Ani"? As in Darth Vader's previous incarnation? I can just see it now addressing your cat and dog: "I am not the mouse you are looking for. I can go about my business." [End jedi hand wave]

Mouse Phobic

I'm not using my real name here because I'm still embarassed over how I acted, but. . . I'm a costume designer. I often work with a production company with offices in a 100-year-old building and an occasional mouse problem. I was once doing a fitting with Mr. Hollywood Actor when he looked down and said, "Hey, there's a mouse in here." I jumped up on a chair and shrieked. My much hardier assistant opened the door of my office and chased the mouse down the hall. Mr. Hollywood Actor was very gracious but I felt like an idiot.


EEEK. Thanks. I will not sleep well tonight.


If you always drop the mice off at the same place, it's not lying when you say you are taking it to be with its family. At this rate what will you put your Christmas cookies in?!

Mariana Perri

If you keep this up, you will soon have to hold one of those tuppeware parties to restock on plastic containers!lol


My mother-in-law call in a panic this morning and said she had captured a live mouse in her garbage disposal, and wanted my husband, her son, to go and remove it. I said, "Honey, you know what you gotta do right? As soon as you get in the house, turn the water on and hit the switch! Don't think about it, just do it!!" I haven't heard from him yet today, and he's a gentle soul (read pussy)so I know it was going to bother him to do that. Poor guy.


As a former researcher in a mouse lab, I can tell you that you appear to have mice of the Peromyscus genus--the large eyes, white bellies, and agouti fur give a strong impression. These deer mice belong in wooded areas; you're not doing too wrong by them. They probably really DON'T want to be in your house. We had some show up in our home, too, and didn't fear as much of a recurrence as we would if they'd been house mice. OTOH, we used snap traps.

House mice, of the Mus genus, are smaller, have smaller eyes, and are altogether a different sort of beast that deserve no mercy, because they will keep coming back. They find every crevice and are terribly determined to live indoors.That's why they're the ones people keep as pets--they don't run too far away.

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