How we came to purchase our home.

WPA Photo

A Works Progress Administration photo offers a glimpse of our home's past.

Reproduction Windsor Chair

Finally, a dining room set.

No Power, No Heat.

Our first snow storm and it's aftermath, October, 2011.

Lead Poisoning

Updates to our son's lead levels.

Bit By Bit

My wife's blog on being pregnant, giving birth and raising our first child with all the complications, hardships and joys that life throws our way.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Rice Cakes

They're delectable, aren't they?  Unwrap the plastic bag, pull out this wafer of Styrofoam, take in a sniff of that caramel or that artificial sea salt scent and savor the texture and feeling of eating a rice cake.  

Ok, most of us don't really do that.  In fact, if you were like me, you'd rather reach for any other treat besides flavored rice cakes... unless your a ravenous mouse intent on being an organic flotation device.

Yes, they've returned.  These pesky rodents just love an old home and rice cakes.  Having had rats as pets in high school, my wife (OK, me too) is (are) hesitant on ridding our home of mice using poisons, especially with one and a half children running around.  So, instead, we purchased a mouse trap that takes care of the deed and seals itself upon contact.  No mess, just throw the whole container out.  Much better than the "instant" (as in instant death) chocolate milk-like powdered bags filled with poison that our predecessor left for us to find.  

This past month, while entertaining our son, a whiff of death emanated from the floor boards.  The smell was similar to one of my first posts where a rather large carcass of a mouse (perhaps mouse-rat hybrid) was stuck under the bathroom vanity (What is that Smell?).  The whiff was so putrid that being downwind was enough to make me seek it out.  

I ventured into the basement, trying to sniff out the tell-tale scent.  No luck.  There was no trace of the scent, there was a dried dead mouse, yes, but the strong pungent smell of death was only present in the keeping room above, not in the basement.  After throwing out the dried fuzzy-wuzzy, I brainstormed.

My next thought was that the putrid relative of the dried fiend was trapped in the insulation, much like those discovered previously (Surprise in the Insulation).  I went at it (again).  I took down the insulation that I had replaced.  To my dismay, bay after bay of secure insulation was ripped down in search of that deathly critter.  Again, no luck!  After taking down all the insulation, there was no sign of it!

I returned back to the main part of our home, itchy as all hell, with no discovery to report.  So we sat there, in the keeping room, on our couch, smelling rotting flesh.

Then, it occurred to me.  Could it be possible that a mouse was lurking on the ground floor, crawled into the couch, got stuck, and died?!  Oh how nasty!  Just the thought was making me want to vomit, not to mention, throw out our nearly new couches.  I tore apart the couch.  The smell was there, but not.  It kept coming and going.  I gutted the couch cushions.  Every last bit of polyester stuffing was gone.  Once the couch looked like a deflated balloon, I thought, I would find something, the smell was just that strong.  I used a shopping bag wrapped around my hand as a precaution.  Here's what I found:

A big fat NOTHING!

We could still smell that putrid scent.  At least its not from the basement or the couch.  The wall, however, had the strongest smell.  The wall directly behind the couch, the only wall to have the original windows still in place.  I followed the scent but there was nothing under the baseboard, outside the window or in the window.  

It's been a couple weeks and the smell is long gone.  The corpse was never found.  I doubt the critter awoke like a zombie and left searching for it's next meal.  My best guess is that the rodent was hiding somewhere in the foundation sill when it died.  Either just under the clapboards on the outside or in one of the baseboard plumbing chases that were drilled through from the basement side.  I guess the only comfort is that the smell is gone, for now.

Then come the noises.  Oh, you thought I was done?  No, there are now noises.  Behind the keeping room's fireplace paneling last night, we heard a scurrying.  Yes, a fat mouse had gotten wedged as it was climbing the bricks behind the paneling.  I was able to peer behind the panel but was unable to see anything so I assume he's now relaxing somewhere above.  

Also, at night, while sleeping, sometimes, we hear the furry beast munching on a nut over our heads.  The attic, much like the floor above the keeping room is hollow.  The floors are roughly eight inches plus in depth, a playground for these guys.  I fear that I may have to pull up all the floor boards in the attic, search out any openings up there, put in new un-compressed insulation and reseal.  Then, the same thing for the basement.  I should also go around the perimeter of the home and find any other openings.  I'd really hate to start putting out poison...