Infested

The title of this blog post is for dramatic effect.

We are, thankfully, not experiencing any real infestation issues in our humble Squamish abode. However, it appears that a couple of silverfish decided to move in with us. It was okay when there was only one or two of them per month – but recently, they seem to have invited their friends over. And that is not okay.

Really, it hasn’t been that bad, but in the past week or so, we’ve been average a sighting or so per day, so it’s officially time to nip this in the bud before it becomes a problem. Thankfully, the exterminator says this is an easy fix (and a relatively inexpensive one) and this time tomorrow we should be completely silverfishless.

This blog post isn’t actually about the silverfish; they are merely the inspiration for the story I am about to tell, which is the story of the Squirrel House.

The Story of the Squirrel House

I feel bad calling it the Squirrel House, because I actually really enjoyed these particular digs. In Vancouver, I had graduated from roommate living to solo living, but I had returned to roommate life when I moved to Whistler. I lived with assorted roommates for a year or two, and although I really liked every person I lived with (I’ve actually never had any bad roommates ever, and I’ve 16 roommates in my life* – 17 if you count Cedric), it was time for me to move out on my own again. The Squirrel House – it wasn’t called that at the time, of course – represented my triumphant return to the roommateless bachelorette life, Whistler edition.

(*16 roommates seems like a lot and I just realized this may make it seem like I changed roommates every 4 months. In fact, I have lived in several four-person apartments. They were more housemates than roommates, although I actually did share a room with three other girls my first year at UBC.)

This house was perfectly satisfactory and came with a few bonuses like a pull out futon I could use to host guests and some extremely friendly landlords who would sometimes give me their leftovers – the BEST! The house was older and my suite got a bit (quite a bit) cold in the winter, but that was my only real concern.

Until the first mouse incident.

The First Mouse Incident

I never actually saw the first mouse; it was Cedric who perceived its presence. You see, I had these lovely blue knit mittens that I kept in my purse. They’d recently developed a hole, which was annoying but I didn’t think twice about it. Cedric noticed the hole and the unraveling material and told me it looked like a mouse had been in it. “Nonesense,” I said, somewhat unsettled at the idea of a mouse snooping in my purse.

Upon closer inspection, we realized that there was a bit of paper embedded in the wool of the mitten – like a piece of wrapper. I recognized it instantly: we had these little hotel-style individually wrapped chocolates at my office and I always kept a few in my purse. I emptied my bag’s contents and found a chocolate with a few nibbles taken out of it, part of the wrapper missing.

This was slightly worrisome, but not too bad because:

  1. I had never seen a mouse in the house before, nor evidence of a mouse, so I figured this was a one-off incident of a mouse who had come through the front door; and
  2. I was dating Cedric (though not yet living with him) and I knew I could count on him to deal with this situation.

Cedric set out a trap and two days later, he informed me that things had been taken care of.

Unfortunately, that was not the end of this story.

The Second Mouse Incident

A week or two later, I was minding my own business and baking some cookies when I saw something out of the corner of my eye: a mouse scrambling across the floor, along the baseboards, and behind the washer/dryer. This one really startled me and I did the classic cartoon character shriek.

I was not as calm this time around because:

  1. It was now becoming clear that this was not a one-off incident; and
  2. By now, Cedric had moved three hours away to attend school.

I went up to the main house and thankfully, one of my landlords was there (this was their second home, so they weren’t always up). He came down to the suite with me and set up a trap. I did not sleep well that night and kept waiting to hear the mouse trap sound, but I did not.

I did my research, learning that mice were very perceptive and if they spotted something out of the usual (like a trap where there wasn’t one before), they’d steer clear of it. The all-knowing internet suggested setting up multiple traps in numerous locations, so I went to IGA Marketplace and purchased a butt-ton of mouse traps.

I struggled with the idea of murdering a mouse, and I also struggled with the idea with dealing with a mouse carcass. It seemed odd to me that I was perfectly fine with seeing squirrels outside (****FORESHADOWING****), yet a mouse inside seemed so horrifying. Nonetheless, I had a job to do.

I set up my traps strategically, like an American Ninja Warrior obstacle course for mice. Some, I laced with peanut butter; others, Nutella (for the European mice). I went to bed that night feeling empowered but also very nervous.

screen-shot-2017-01-19-at-8-52-58-pm

I deemed this photo Instagram-worthy back in the day.

When I woke up the next morning, I half-hoped to find a dead mouse in one of my dozens of traps (because that would mean I had been successful), but I also half-hoped I wouldn’t find anything (because that would mean I didn’t have to deal with the dead mouse). I went to check the traps: empty… empty… empty… ARGH.

A tiny lifeless Timbit-sized mouse was in one of the traps (one of the Nutella ones, incidentally). I’ll fast forward through the mouse disposal part (it involved a broom, oven mitts, a plastic bag, and closing my eyes a lot). Suffice to say, the situation had been dealt with – or had it.

The Point of No Return

A week or so later, I’m sitting on the couch, quietly tapping away at my computer – when suddenly, A SQUIRREL EMERGES FROM BEHIND THE WASHER DRYER. I can’t even remember what happened – did I open the front door to send it outside? Did it go back to where it came from? Would it emerge at night and run across my face while I was sleeping?

Things were decidedly not okay. I considered my options:

  1. Drive three hours and stay with Cedric (inconvenient because I’d actually just returned from a weekend at his place and didn’t feel like making the trip again);
  2. Crash on a friend’s couch (for how long?!??!); or
  3. Take up permanent residence in a Whistler hotel, Eloise style.

I phoned my landlords, who were not at their Whistler home but who said I could stay in the upstairs portion of the house until the issue was resolved. This seemed like a better solution than the options I had considered.

Unfortunately, this was the beginning of the end of my time at the now-dubbed Squirrel House. Consultations with pest control did not seem promising – it would take a lot of work to make the house squirrel proof, and wimp that I am, I no longer felt at home in the Squirrel House. (In my defense, there are some health and safety hazards involved with cohabiting with squirrels).

I bid adieu to my wonderful landlords and my little bachelorette pad and moved into a new place. Luckily, my new landlords were just as awesome as my old ones had been – and they assured me that they’d never had a mouse problem in the 25 years they’d been there.

So a couple of silverfish? Pffff – that’s nothing.

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One thought on “Infested

  1. Pingback: Meltdowns and Mice in Charlevoix, Quebec | Out of Bounds Squamish

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