Over the past 20 years I have written volumes about computers and other unfathomable gizmos. I got five articles out of buying one new cell phone and those five columns didn’t begin to explain how adrift I was/am in the sea of technology. Just as a fair warning … I need to buy a new iPad. My current iPad is so old it will no longer do updates. It is so old it will not run many new programs. And, here’s the deal breaker, it is so old it will not let me play the same words my Words with Friends opponents can play and I am being beaten regularly. If there is one thing that could induce me to make the dreaded trip to the Apple Store, it is losing at Words with Friends.
I do know enough about computers to know the mouse has great power. When all else fails, right click. Do not let my blasé use of high-tech terms such as right click and mouse convince you I have stepped up my game, computerwise. I am still waiting for the thing to completely take over my brain and do its bidding.
But now I have issues with another kind of mouse. This variety of mouse is the kind that is on the move this time of year. My house is surrounded by bean fields and corn fields. In the warmer months, the mice are happy, or at least moderately satisfied, with living in the fields. This is, of course, where the food is. Now the crops are mostly harvested although for some unknowable reason, the corn on a nearby corner that completely conceals any oncoming traffic from either direction has been left unpicked. Someone, no doubt a person who drove there in a car with a dented fender, has already taken a machete to a few of the outermost stalks. I’m sharpening mine tomorrow.
The mice who have recently vacated the bean and corn fields required a suitable replacement home for the winter. In a perfect mouse world, this replacement home would have many of the features of a field. It would shelter them from the hawks. It would give them a place to burrow into a new little nest, a nest in which they could reproduce like crazy. It would have a ready source of food. A disturbingly large number of the local mice have decided my house will do nicely as a substitute for their former field home. While they might be pleased with this arrangement, I am not.
Normally, I love all the little woodland creatures, just as long as they stay in the woodland. When they move into my garage it’s a whole different matter. In first grade, I always got a “U” for Unsatisfactory under the heading “Shares well with others.” One of the things I do not share well is my home with mice, so I set about to kill as many as possible.
When you take yourself to the hardware store to buy mouse traps, someone will invariably suggest a humane trap. Really. One humane trap frequently touted is the sticky mat on which the mouse becomes adhered. I’m not sure how this qualifies as humane because unless someone is willing to bring the mouse food and water, it is going to starve to death while its scratchy little vermin feet keep it moored to the mat. And mice make noise, you know. They do not suffer silently. They squeak. This is not restful. There are all kinds of traps that lure mice into a box at which point you’re supposed to throw the whole box out and start over. When a person is dealing with the number of mice invading from local farmland, a person could go broke buying those boxes. So this person buys the snap trap that are eight for three dollars. Even this is barely enough to stem the tide.
I like to bait my traps with peanut butter. It sticks to the trap and requires some effort on the part of the mouse to eat. This effort is usually enough to spring the trap. But sometimes, as I am making my rounds of traps just like the fur traders in the wild west, I find a sprung trap, empty of both food and mice. This means I have to rebait, which is semi-disgusting as I must deal with a surface recently delicately licked by a mouse tongue. This is not restful, either.
Often, when I am putting the trap back on the ground, the dang thing springs shut all on its own. Talk about not restful. Even though my fingers are well out of harm’s way, the spring always manages to sting just a little. I finally hit upon the idea of putting the trap on a piece of paper and gently laying the whole thing on the floor. All this, you understand, to out-smart a creature with a brain the size of a proton. I wonder how long it would take my computer to take over that.
Marla Boone resides in Covington and writes for Miami Valley Today.