When you live on a farm, there's not much escaping the rodents. You hope that they stay outside, and don't cause any trouble. Rats are quick to move into a pile of hay, and quick to help themselves to anything edible they can get at. Mice are the same, just smaller.
We live in an older house, one that was never finished, and we have had mice in the house a few times in our 24 years here. After we renovated it, we seemed to get rid of the problem, as the access routes were now blocked off. I had noticed though that the weather stripping on the bottom of the garage door was missing a few pieces, and it was just one of many jobs that hadn't been dealt with. To get to the point, I discovered we had a mouse Thanksgiving Monday. Didn't actually see it, just what it left behind. Once you know you have one, well you start noticing the evidence here and there. And some of the evidence was on the kitchen counter. Yeah, gross.
I set the 'can on a dowel with peanut butter on it, over a tall bucket' trap out that night, but didn't catch anything , and there was evidence in the morning that the mouse had been on the counter again. Yeah, gross. Didn't catch anything the next night either.
Other things were going wrong too. The kettle had decided it didn't want to heat up water most of the time. The fridge was occasionally freezing instead of just cooling, and then the toaster decided it didn't want to stay popped down.
Larry and I headed out on holiday, and left instructions to make sure all the food was put away, cupboard doors were closed, and to check the counter every morning. Put the trap out, and stop and buy some of those snap traps.
When we got back from holiday, the first thing I asked was about the mouse. Hadn't caught it, but hadn't seen any evidence of it either. I said that well it's not like it just went away. I looked too, and there was no evidence it had been around. Too good to be true I thought. And to continue the upswing, the toaster started working properly again. It stayed popped down when you pushed the lever.
Yesterday there was the lovely smell of fresh baked apple muffins at one end of the kitchen, and a weird smell at the other side. Didn't think too much more about it. A bit later when I came for another muffin (who's counting, certainly not me), I smelled it again, but stronger this time. Got the sniffer going, and tracked it down to the toaster, and it was a dead smell. Meredith said she had noticed the smell earlier, but of course it was me that had to figure it out. I got Larry to come over and smell the toaster, and he just about gagged. He said to throw the toaster out. But, he didn't do it. So I took the toaster outside. When David came home, I got him to pull out the crumb tray, but there was nothing. He peered in all the nooks and crannies and ventilation holes. Nothing. I got the flashlight and did the same, but still couldn't see anything. I really needed to know though. So I got the screwdriver and started to take the toaster apart. As soon as the bottom was loose, I could see the dead mouse in there, in the end where the lever was. The sickening part was that I had had two slices of toast for breakfast that morning.
Gross. Gross. Gross. It was enough to make me retch. The toaster is now in the garbage, and you can be sure that I've checked the kettle as well.