Monday, March 19, 2007

An Impediment To Pesach Cleaning

(Picture courtesy of Pestcontrol-products.com)


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.

Postscript:

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.

15 Comments:

At March 19, 2007 at 9:25:00 AM EDT, Blogger yitz said...

And the mouse says, "I shall exalt You, G-d, for You have impoverished me and you have not let my enemies rejoice over me." [Tehillim 30:2]
Are you the enemy??? :))

 
At March 19, 2007 at 9:39:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

I hope not! :)

 
At March 19, 2007 at 11:49:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Bob Miller said...

I used to root for the cats against Mighty Mouse and other cartoon mice.

 
At March 19, 2007 at 12:24:00 PM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Yes, all of a sudden they are no longer so cute.

Also, I now have a problem eating rye bread since the seeds share a striking resemblance to you know what...

 
At March 19, 2007 at 1:37:00 PM EDT, Anonymous chabakuk elisha said...

The postscript turned the post a little more serious than I had expected - B"H all are well.

(I always had a problem with chocolate sprinkles due to their resemblance to the same)

 
At March 19, 2007 at 1:42:00 PM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Chabakuk Elisha:

Indeed. It is all a matter of perspective. If Hashem told us that one of our loved ones would be in an auto accident, but then gave us the option of mouse infestation, we would undoubtedly choose the latter. We would be so happy that our loved one wouldn't be injured or killed that we would dance when seeing the mice.

But given our limited perspective, we just see the mice as bothersome and an annoyance...

 
At March 19, 2007 at 1:51:00 PM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Two weeks before this accident, my wife was driving my father somewhere. As they sat at this very same intersection waiting for the light to turn green, my father asked my wife a question. She responded and did not know the light had already turned green. Just as she was about to put her foot on the accelerator, a large truck ran a red light and zoomed by within inches the front of the car. Had she not been caught up in the conversation, only Hashem knows what would have happened….

 
At March 19, 2007 at 3:57:00 PM EDT, Blogger Moshe David Tokayer said...

I must be missing something. In my perek shirah the mouse says, "And you are righteous in all that has come upon me for you have acted truthfully while I have caused wickedness"

 
At March 19, 2007 at 6:37:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Bob Miller said...

Variations are known to exist in the text.

 
At March 19, 2007 at 10:40:00 PM EDT, Blogger Neil Harris said...

Glad everyone is alright. Mice are not fun.

 
At March 20, 2007 at 10:43:00 PM EDT, Blogger torontopearl said...

We also had mice issues last year, primarily in the kitchen...where he/they left a trail. The rodent had managed to get into overhead cabinets that store some Pesach goods. Apparently our mouse likes Kosher Swiss baking chocolate and nuts and raisins.
Thank G-d we managed to rid ourselves of it in time.
Thank G-d the neighborhood woman was okay, and thank G-d your wife chose to leave earlier. One never knows, do they? So we must always give thanks.

 
At March 21, 2007 at 4:35:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Neil & Pearl: Yes, Thank G-d I haven't seen any sign of them within the last few days.

 
At March 22, 2007 at 1:02:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am suprised that no body mentioned the picture of Reb Shaya kestira know to ward off mice

 
At March 22, 2007 at 1:04:00 PM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Could you give me some more background on it? I have never heard about it before.

 
At March 22, 2007 at 1:13:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.geocities.com/itzik18/RYP.html

here is a link

 

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