Here's the scoop: January 30, 2013

Popular topic
There are some topics that simply aren’t spoken about in polite company. Fortunately, I’m not always polite. Plus, I’m “talking” about it in writing.

As a result, today’s topic will be mice. For the most part, mice are not desirable creatures. Sure, some folks own mice for pets. However, most of us refer to these creatures as “pests” not pets.
An argument can made that mice do have a certain “cute” factor, but many folks could never view these animals in those terms. Mickey and Minnie are exceptions, of course. When it comes to “regular” mice (vs. the trademarked type), most of us think of ruined food and shadowy creatures scampering across the floor — usually when there’s company present.

The fact is, mice are often associated with locations that are not well cleaned. Naturally, this is an unfair assessment because when it comes to getting inside and away from the cold, mice tend to seek any shelter that’s convenient. For whatever reasons, last fall and the current winter have reportedly been banner years for mice.

Help me!
This “invasion” goes way beyond the 1950s stereotype of a well-coifed housewife perched helplessly upon a stool — screaming — as a single mouse looks up helplessly and wonders about the cause of all the fuss. No, just about everyone I’ve talked to about the issue has experienced a double-digit mouse infestation this season. It’s like these rodents have also discovered the wonders of Performance Enhancing Drugs.

Because the mouse problem is so widespread, the topic is no longer a banned at cocktail parties. In fact, everybody’s talking about the issue. It’s kind of reached the point where people look at you funny if you don’t have a mouse tale. Of course, they would really look at oddly if you had a mouse tail.

In fact, mice-capades (my term, please don’t use it without paying proper royalties) have become the source of water cooler chatter. Like high and low thermometer readings, mouse sightings/slayings have become a point of pride.

Can you top this?
Boasts like “Got three last night — one a double-header!” are something you’re likely to hear from a co-worker. For the small group of folks not up to date on mouse terminology, a “double-header” is the rare occasion where two mice arrive at a trap simultaneously and, ya know…

I hate to cast suspicion, but I would swear that I’ve even heard people make up mouse stories to improve their “cool” factor. Hey, it’s OK to not have mice. You’re simply missing out.
There’s no need for me to fabricate any mouse-related activities. I’ll admit it, we’ve had a few this season. Because our cat tends to only sleep on the newspaper and not actually read it, I’m going to casually mention that she’s been slacking.

As temperatures have dropped, so has the cat’s ambition. She has had little desire to do much more than sleep by the fire, despite the comfort of a thick winter coat.

When the “trapping season” went into full swing, I was enjoying a pretty good success rate. On the down side, the cost of traps and peanut butter were starting to have an impact on the household budget. I even started making casual remarks in front of our feline, such as, “We’re spending so much money on mouse control, I hope we have enough funds for cat food.”

The cat, naturally, recognized this as an idle threat. She merely stared at me as if to say, “Remember, I don’t like going outside in the cold either, so save enough to buy more kitty litter, too.”
— Brian Sweeney