Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Of Mice and (Wo)Men, 4

Okay, so this really isn't the continuation of the Mouse Brother's story. Instead, it's my explanation to you that yes, we really did have mice (or at least a mouse). And, they were in our walls, and did chew through our electrical wires. And, we did catch one in a trap.
We started hearing them back in mid-November. It started out as little scratches in the walls. Then, the cats became interested in the noises, and started stalking all the little nooks & crannies (and in-floor heater vents) in the house. We'd usually hear the wall-scratching at night (sometimes it would be so loud I'd even wake up, and I am a heavy sleeper). But, it wasn't every night, just sometimes. And, we'd hear scuttling in/on the ceiling/roof, but would just say it was squirrels or birds or our imaginations. Oh, and I guess I should say that, yes, we do have 2 cats, and no, the mice were never seen inside the house (yuk).
Then, on New Year's Eve Eve (yes, 2 days before the New Year), I was in the living room watching tv (or maybe on the computer) when I heard a strange whooshing or popping noise in the wall next to me (behind the Christmas tree). Then the lights went out. Not all of the lights, just the ones in the living room and kitchen (i.e. all the big lights). I checked the breaker box, but nothing had flipped. About an hour later R called on his way home from work. He was planning on stopping at his favorite store, and blah, blah, when I heard the noise again--from the same spot! I told him quickly about the noises and lights and that I thought he should get home now. He was there 10 minutes later. He checked all the same things I did (different light switches, wall outlets, and breaker box) and found nothing new. We had a spare outlet, so he decided to fix the first one on the circuit (located in the exact location where I heard the noise). He fixed it and tested it--and it worked! But, the next one down the line still didn't. He ran off to Lowe's and bought another new outlet to replace it. Afterwards, it still didn't work. So, the problem had to be somewhere in that 6 foot stretch of wall between the two outlets.
The next day, Sunday, was his day off, so we decided to just start pulling off paneling and find out what the heck was going on. Lo and behold, not 6 inches from the first outlet, we found an area of singed wood!! (That's singed, as in freaking burned!!) The wires had been entirely chewed through and were poking out enough to short the circuit and burn the wood (in our walls--in a 30-year-old trailer)!!
Since we had already pulled down some paneling, we decided to go a little further down and see if there was more damage. We found one other spot that had been chewed to the wire (but not even close to as bad as the first spot) and a few others that had started being chewed! By now, it was Sunday evening, and New Year's Eve, no less. But, we decided to give our insurance people a call anyways--that's what insurance is for, right? They took our info and said that someone would call us Tuesday. They did, and set up a time for the guy to come check it out--in a week! So, there we were, watching tv in the dark (thank goodness that was on another circuit) for 1.5 weeks!
Not going to complain, though, because we were approved for repairs and compensated for our time and materials. Compensated enough to do all the stuff we had been planning to do in the living room anyways (replace wainscot, window trim, and paint)! I thank God that we were here when all this happened. I mean, if we had been gone (stayed in Gulfport longer after Christmas, or gone to NM to visit my family) who knows what could've happened! And, now we have the living room looking so much better than it has in the 2.5 years that we've lived here (and probably even longer than that)! The walls are fixed, windows re-framed, wainscot up and painted (1st coat last night), and we have wood outside for the window trim, "chair rail," and floor kickboards. We finally took down those two stupid lights that were always in the way, patched the million little nail and thumbtack holes, and painted that weird section of wall that falls in the no-man's-land between the kitchen and living room.
The place is looking pretty good, and we owe it "all" to that/those little mouse/mice!

Back to the Mouse Brothers story. So, since we caught that one little guy (almost 2 weeks ago), we haven't caught anything else, or heard any more noises. So, the jury is still out whether it's because:
1. They didn't like the cold weather (the average temps have been about 15 degrees lower since that weekend).
2. They came in the house (through the big hole we made) and the cats ate them.
3. Seeing their dead kin scared them off.
4. There was only one mouse.


At 11:52 AM, Blogger Mon 's valuable input...

eek! those suckers are destructive aren't they?


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