Monday, 15 September 2014

Surprises about how mice come and go

In the last 3 weeks, as a family, we've killed 12 mice in the house. Jello has most certainly done his share.
The hunter, the prey in his mouth 
"You can run, but you can't hide" 
"Move and you're dead"
We think the mice started to come in when a few days of rains caused them to hide from the weather. Then it snowed, and they came in again. Now its getting cold, they're coming in for the winter. I'm sure that if we searched, we would find their food cache. A few months ago, we found about a pound of bird seed buried in Karen's sewing stuff. Last fall we found their store of mouse poison in my ski boot. We've been fighting the mice since we moved in (amazing, both the the 2012 and 2013 posts were both called "Smart Mice").

About the time we found the 4th mouse this go-round, we decided to call the exterminator back. There's no exterminator in the Canmore area any more; we have to call one in from Calgary. The one we use in Calgary guarantees no more mice if they can access the entire foundation wall. Two walls of ours are under a deck, which we didn't want to pull up. But with this mousal onslaught, we said (un)screw it, and today pulled up some boards in prep for the exterminator's visit on Wednesday.

We started by pulling a few boards up beside the wall we thought was their access point.
Two removed
It was MUCH harder to get the boards up than I imagined. The brilliant deck builder had overdriven most of the brass screws, and the deck had been painted a number of times since the deck was built. So, more than half of the screws were embedded 1/4" - 1/2" into the boards, and I had to carve the wood away to get them out. Most were stuck, so in order to not strip the screw heads, I had to hand-loosen them. It was slow and painful work (and I have at least 3 blisters to prove it).
Carved out and exposed
We got those first two boards out as we were instructed by the exterminators some months ago. We looked underneath the deck and saw something strange.
See that line in the darkness?
We discovered that the deck was built over an old, boarded up, basement window. This was news to us. We had a no idea that there was a window under there. We realized very quickly that we had to pull up a couple of more boards in order to access that window.

Another two painful hours of pulling screws and...
The boards are up
...we found the window -- and the way the mice get in. Whoever covered the window boarded the window up, but the window casing doesn't actually meet the hole cut in the foundation wall.

The metal window well, and the window
That lower right corner is the issue
It should surprise me that there's a window in the house we didn't know was there -- but it doesn't. It should surprise me that the way the window was sealed up when it fell into disuse wasn't even marginally done correctly -- but it doesn't. It should surprise me that my house is full of mice -- but it doesn't.

The exterminators are here in two days. Jello's gonna have 48 more hours of fun.  

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