Monday, November 03, 2008

Of Mice and Men (and Big Sticks)

First off, a little housecleaning. Apparently someone likes my blog. Ghee! Sarah commented on my "Oh, the Frustration" post from a couple of weeks ago and she actually said that she liked my blog. I was shocked. No one likes my blog; most of my readers only read because they feel obligated. I don't even like my blog. She also mentioned that I had good taste in music. I'll give her that much. But, to answer her question, I will say I was moderately pleased with the results of my presidential research project. I still have some reservations. I won't get the final papers in for another week, but I did hear a lot of good on-topic discussion during the days we spent in the library and computer lab researching. Also, the loudmouths got quieter as the week went on and they realized it wasn't such an obvious decision. I also had the least problem keeping kids on task that I ever had during research. Many of them were genuinely interested in the topic and a few even came away with a changed perspective on politics and these particular candidates. We'll see if my reserved optimism manages to hold when the due dates rolls around.

Another interesting observation from the research week: In my lower-level class that's about half black and half white, I may be getting a slim majority for Obama. In my higher level class it's about 66 percent for McCain and 33 percent for Obama. I would say that it was because I only have three minority students in that class (one Hispanic and two black), but all three minority students are writing in favor of McCain. The funny thing is that I didn't hear a single kid ever say out loud that they were choosing Obama while several of those for McCain were very vocal with their opinions from early on.

Second, to follow up yesterday's post, I actually did contact the Harlem Children's Zone about attending their 3-day workshop to learn their methods. I'm not sure anything will come of it because the website says it gives priority to organizations that have the necessary funding to implement the program already and I obviously don't have the money. I also contacted my principal to get her take on it as well. I'll keep you updated on this if anything happens.

And now, on with the show.

Why is it more of an affront to my dignity as a human being that we have mice in our home than the river of ants we dealt with last month? The ants were annoying because they couldn't be stopped from getting their way like a swarm of synchronized two year olds, but I wasn't offended by their presence. I just wanted them to stop coming into my house. In fact, with the exception of cockroaches, which a loathe and fear, I don't really take it personally when any insect or other variety of arthropod pays me a visit. Thank god I've never seen a roach inside the house in our two and half years living here.

It's another story entirely when the invader is warm blooded and fur bearing. I saw the first mouse Thursday night and I was gripped by rage. I briefly considered stomping the life out of the vermin until I realized he'd already slipped under the closet door and I wasn't wearing any shoes. Instead, I turned back to my football game and didn't think about it again. I figured there wasn't much I could do about it at that late hour and the game was more interesting, but on the inside I was seething.

We may have actually already solved the infestation. I caught one in the hall closet with a glue trap baited with organic peanut butter (the only kind we had) during the night Friday and a second one in another glue trap set along the door to the office Saturday night. We haven't seen another one and the last two were bold enough to run along the edge of the hall in plan sight in the late afternoon so I'm hoping there isn't a craftier mouse only cavorting through my home in the darkness while the rest of us sleep.

What pisses me off is that two years ago we thought we had solved this problem when we sealed up the space around the drain pipe under the sink with steel wool and foam insulation from a can. Apparently it either took them two years to find a new way in or the invasions have something to do with cotton. Last year they planted peanuts in the fields around our house and no mice. This year and two years ago they planted cotton and there are mice.

So if you're a mouse in my house and you're using my computer to read this blog, I'd like to say, "Screw you, and if I manage to catch you, I've got the same big club of a tree branch for you that I gave to your two little buddies. I hope you get raped by a giant flying cockroach."


Julie said...

I will now have nightmares of being raped by a giant flying cockroach because I have an irrational fear of them. Thanks, Jacob. And here I was all set to congratulate you on trying to make the world a better place.

Chris said...

You get 'em, Jacob. Personally, I think poison-tipped blow darts would be a fun way to extinguish mice.

It's lucky for me that I don't live in the country, because I suspect mice would have a wide range of options for ways to get inside this house.

Mickey said...

This is weird because just last night I went through the same brief mental exercise of "why do I find the ants we currently have merely annoying but a mouse would cause immediate alarm and drastic action." It's really strange that you were writing a post about that very thing maybe at that very moment.

But I do hate mice. It's not that I blame them, it just seems that, unlike ants, they seem to have a greater understanding that they are trespassing. Like that one mouse in Wyoming that was sitting on my clock radio looking at me when I turned the light on one night, despite my serious steel wool and duct tape fortifications. Good thing I slaughtered more than 20 of his friends and family that season. I lost count, but it was a rodent holocaust.

So far with the ants, I just make sure I kill any I see with my finger whenever I go into the kitchen. I think it's not a big deal because I never get the sense that the ants are looking at me and thinking things over.

Courtney said...

Maybe it's because insects are merely gross, but mice can cause disease. Those fuckers carried the plague and killed a third of Europe.