An Impediment To Pesach Cleaning
Last Sunday afternoon, we discovered mouse droppings in the basement and kitchen of our house. We haven't had any problems with creatures in the house, aside from the occasional spider or grasshopper, since the days of the "panda bear".
My wife rushed off to Home Depot within minutes of discovering them to buy some mouse traps and returned shortly thereafter with the glue trap variety. That night, I placed peanut butter-covered Cheerios on top of these traps in the kitchen and basement. The Cheerios were gone the next morning and there were tiny foot prints across the top of the glue traps. This mouse (hopefully not mice!) was good, but was he good enough for what I had in store for him for night two?
On night two, I placed two Victor snap traps in the kitchen and two in the basement. I placed Cheerios under the lever to bait them and to verify whether they visited the trap. In the middle of the night, I went down stairs to check on the status of the traps. I turned on the lights and all the traps were still set and the Cheerios were gone. To add to the insult, I found a mouse dropping on top of the counter top as if to say, "Ha HA! You think you are so smart that you can catch me. Well, I will show you what I think of your traps. I can go ANYWHERE I want, buddy. You hear that!?"
Reassessing the situation, I now placed Cheerios directly on top of the levers that activate the snap traps to further lure the mouse to its last meal. Additionally, I put down two d-Con traps baited with cheese. I came downstairs hours later to find every trap still set and all the Cheerios gone. I had been had once again by a rodent whose brain is much smaller than mine.
After a little internet "research", I discovered that my placement of the snap traps was incorrect. I decided that on night three that I would place the snap traps directly up against the wall and to increase the sensitivity on the snap trap lever by putting peanut butter on it in the hopes that the vibration would set off the trap. During Mincha that day I said, "Ribbono shel Olam, you want us to start cleaning for Pesach, but how can we start doing this now when there is still a mouse in our house? I don't want to harm this living creature, I just want it out of my house."
Before I went to bed that night, I heard a loud SNAP in the kitchen. I found my first mouse when I went to investigate. Then, within the next hour there was another SNAP in the kitchen shortly followed by a SNAP in the basement. Two more mice.
I set some more "peanut butter hair trigger" snap traps before I finally went up to bed and was happy when I came down the next morning to find them all still set and no additional signs of mouse activity. However, hours later, my wife called me at work and reported the first daytime sighting. Lil Tzaddik was looking at a book in the family room when all of a sudden he yelled out, "Mouse! Mouse! Running all around! I see it. I see it. I promise!"
My wife immediately called a pest control person to come over to deal with the problem, however, he could not come until the next day. In the meantime, my father-in-law brought over three packages of snap traps, some mouse poison, and put steel wool in any hole that he suspected a mouse might try to get in. He and my wife worked diligently cleaning places they had never cleaned such as behind the washer and dryer in the basement - only to find even more mouse droppings. In hisbodedus that afternoon I said, "Ribbono shel Olam, everything in this world comes from You! While Pharaoh hardened his heart when he was overrun with frogs, I am not hardening my heart now with these mice. I know that the filth that we are finding in my house is only but a physical manifestation of what I have created spiritually. I know in my heart of hearts that recently I have not been careful to refrain from speaking lashon hara and I resolve at this very second to me more careful in this regard. Ribbono shel Olam, please accept my teshuva and help me clean my house and rid it of these mice - if not for my sake but for the sake of my children who are in school learning Torah at this very minute!!"
On my commute home, I recited Tikkun HaKlali and shortly thereafter my wife called me on my cell phone to tell me that the pest control person had rearranged all his appointments so he could put us at the top of his list and come over and handle the situation in our home. That evening, he put down mouse bait/killer throughout the house that he said would take about a week and a half until it was 100% effective, and also gave us instructions on what we needed to do during this time. There were no additional mouse sightings after he left and I did not notice any additional dropping when I woke up the next morning or even the next morning after that.
Reflecting back on all of this, it was a tremendous act of kindness on Hashem's part to have this occur when it did since we had to take all these things out for cleaning anyways, and also because it happened before we had switched over the kitchen for Pesach.
Yesterday, I learned that a neighborhood woman was in a serious car accident early last week. A garbage truck ran a red light and smashed into the side of her car as she was making a left turn. The garbage truck came within six inches of killing her. After 45 minutes of cutting her out of the wreckage, she walked away relatively unscathed.
The accident occurred at 8:30 in the morning - the same time my wife would have been at this intersection to take the kids to school. The only reason she wasn't there that morning was because she left early; scared at the thought of being home with mice in the house.