Tahlequah Daily Press

Columns

December 10, 2012

Warm weather may be to blame for mousy behavior

TAHLEQUAH — If you are easily nauseated, you should skip this week’s column. If you insist on taking the plunge, I suggest you get a bucket.

A rancher friend of mine told me the mouse population has exploded, and he attributed it to the unseasonably warm weather. I probably should have checked with Roger Williams over at the Extension Service before I embarked on this topic, but at the time of this writing, I’m sure he had already gone home for the day, and would not relish a phone call from me.

He told me a number of field mice have fallen prey to his brush-hog in recent weeks. “With all the gore, it kinda reminded me of that Tom Cruise movie, ‘War of the Worlds,’” he said, and then added, “I knew it wouldn’t bother you to hear about it, ‘cause I read that column you wrote about how you and your cousins flushed mice down the toilet.” I didn’t bother to point out that jettisoning a small mouse into a septic tank or sewer line is a rather sterile and tidy procedure, not in the same league as shredding a far larger rodent with the blade of a brush-hog.

Many folks depend on a house cat to rid them of the occasional unwelcome house mouse. Until recently, our excuse for a feline, Zeus (known in some circles simply as “whitecat”) showed no interest in disposing of rodents. He often toyed with them until I took them away and pitched them outside. Otherwise, the critter would have crawled off and died where we couldn't reach it, but its stench could reach us.

There was that time my husband and I were in Palm Springs and our son was home on break, and he called to tell us Zeus had killed a rat that had gotten in through the garage, and then placed the carcass in front of the sofa. Perhaps the cat figured if he didn’t dispatch the interloper, it would compete with him for food.

One morning last week, the cat decided to get serious. At around 4:30 a.m., I was awakened by a squeaking, like someone was rubbing a couple of pieces of Styrofoam together. This was followed by a crunching sound, like – well, like a cat devouring a mouse. I turned on a lamp and aimed it at the cat, who was on the floor near the foot of the bed, head cocked, gnawing on something with studied determination.

I looked more closely. I wished I hadn’t. Dangling from the cat’s mouth were a tail and a hind leg. “Hey!” I yelled, hoping the cat would take his meal elsewhere. Instead, he increased the speed and volume of his chewing until the last vestiges of the mouse had disappeared.

When we got home from work that evening, I found what I first thought were two lozenges of cat feces on our clean flannel bedsheets, surrounded by a grease spot the size of a volleyball. I summoned my husband, because everyone knows if a cat defecates on your bed, the animal is sending a clear message that you’ve done something to offend it – and I figured the offending party must be my husband.

He looked at the mess, and said, matter-of-factly, “Those are mouse-fur hairballs.” Gross, I know, but that wasn’t the worst of it. The next morning, the cat began to retch right in front of me and deposited, on the living room carpet, something small and oval – with ears.

I thought I’d reached my mouse quotient at least for a few weeks, but a couple of days ago at work, the gals up front began to shriek. A mouse had been spied in the breakroom, and it had run behind the pop machine. Every time the critter popped its head out, more screams erupted, and the guys in the newsroom rolled their eyes. I would never scream at the sight of a mouse (I reserve my chick behavior for bugs, which prompts eye-rolling, too), so I got a broom and waited. When it poked its head out, I stabbed it with the bristles. We haven’t seen it in a few days, so maybe it expired. Then again, we haven’t smelled it, either, so maybe it has migrated to another part of the building.

If the warm weather is causing the mouse infestation, I’m praying for snow. Otherwise, I’m thinking of calling D-Con to see if they need a new spokeswoman. Mice disgust me, too, and I have no problem proving it.

Kim Poindexter is managing editor of the Tahlequah Daily Press.

1
Text Only
Columns
  • Keeping the interest of boys is just a matter of ‘gross’

    A couple of my friends complained to me recently that they didn’t know how to “connect” with their teenage sons, and that they are growing apart from the sweet little boys to whom they once read bedtime stories.

    July 14, 2014

  • ‘Different’ situations aren’t so very different, after all

    “Well, that’s different!” It’s the favorite phrase of the hypocrite, when confronted with his glaring flaw.

    July 7, 2014

  • Threats on social media or elsewhere won’t change any minds

    I try not to take political positions on my private Facebook timeline. I used to sometimes, in what I considered a polite way, but that offended friends left and right – literally. And sometimes I watched in horror as a thread degenerated into name-calling between people I respect, but who happen to be polar opposites on the political spectrum.

    June 30, 2014

  • Striking the hyphen, and other journalistic maneuvering

    A couple of years ago, my office phone rang. With no greeting or fanfare, the caller indignantly said, “Did you know they’ve taken the hyphen out of ‘fundraiser’?”

    June 23, 2014

  • taylor.armerding.jpg IRS spins email yarn as Obama slips past another scandal

    Forget everything you've heard about email. All digital trace of a former IRS official's email over the 25 months the agency harassed conservative groups has mysteriously, improbably vanished. Gone, too, is the White House's accountability as President Obama slips from another scandal.

    June 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Front-load washers are harbingers of foul-smelling fabric

    May 27, 2014

  • Beetles in the office aren’t up on blocks

    We have more dead beetles here at the Daily Press office than you can shake a can of Raid at.

    May 12, 2014

  • NOLA always worth your time, especially for Jazz Fest

    When it comes to New Orleans, you can have a “glass half-full” or a “glass half-empty” attitude.
    Either you see anniversary celebrants enjoying a romantic dinner at the Court of Two Sisters, or the aging transvestite hawking her wares on Bourbon Street. You hear the joyous sounds of Zydeco music from the band on the corner, or the lewd cursing of the drunken frat boy at Pat O’Brien’s. You smell the enticing aroma of Cajun cuisine in the French Quarter, or the fresh puddle of vomit on the sidewalk.
    I’m a cynic, but I take the “glass half-full” approach to New Orleans. My family loves the city’s character, even with all the blemishes that repel respectable folks, and we especially love the Jazz and Heritage Festival. That’s where we were last weekend. The main action is out at the fairgrounds, with its sweltering temperatures, stick-tight-laden grass, and sea of sweaty bodies packed in around a dozen stages and 60 or so booths selling local food and crafts.

    May 5, 2014

  • Selling of lies in the dreaded car game

    Recently, my husband and I did something that is discussed in the same tone of disdain reserved for Communists, salesmen, politicians, lawyers, and sometimes, journalists. We bought ourselves a “furrin” car.
    We decided on a foreign contraption because my husband now commutes to Tulsa every day, and a quick calculation revealed the horror our three-quarter-ton diesel Chevy would visit upon our bank account. That vehicle gets a comparatively impressive 18 mpg, but doing the math on the current price of diesel and a 150-mile daily round trip is enough to send anyone to the nearest toilet to hurl up the previous meal.

    April 21, 2014

  • Wild West pits U.S. government against “We the people”

    Unless one has been living under a rock over the past week, one couldn’t have missed the recent standoff in Nevada between a rancher and the U.S. government. It’s only one incident in many that has the government of the people pitted against the people.

    April 16, 2014

Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase
Stocks