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Chocoholics, and the Pursuit Thereof

June 30, 2013

One morning not long ago, when I rose and rushed out the door to take my car to the repair shop before work, I never imagined the curious problem that would be waiting for me at the studio.
Once I finally arrived at the studio, I put away my laptop and purse, having worked on promotional blurbs for my latest novel while the car was being serviced, and proceeded to organize myself for the day. I had inherited some miscellaneous office paraphernalia from my uncle, who had just closed down his frame shop after many years, and was integrating the items into our system. Among those items were magazine file bins I wanted to add to the counter at one end of the break room. That is where the problem came to my attention. A few tiny black pellets graced the tops of some of the existing bins, and a few more were on the counter top itself. Mouse droppings.
Our studio is a 1927 residence-turned-commercial building, and has had its share of small critter invasions over the decades. Most of that stopped during the years we had resident shop cats spending the nights inside; however, our last feline employee passed away several years ago, and it seems the mice had been biding their time. Last winter I found the remains of a Hershey’s Kiss in my office closet. A mouse had dragged it into the farthest, darkest corner of the closet and apparently was mauling it on a regular basis. I cleaned that up as soon as I found it, albeit with a smirk that another critter in the studio besides me had a passion for chocolate. No other evidence of the mouse occurred, so I assumed it had moved on.
And then today came.
I was concerned. The break room was originally a kitchen. We no longer have a stove in it, but we keep a microwave on one of the counters, and a full-size refrigerator for everyone=s use. I keep snacks set out for my employees B peanut butter cheese crackers, hard candies, granola bars, etc., any of which would make perfect mouse bait. Everything needed to be cleaned up and goodies packed into plastic containers. I opened the lower cabinet doors next to the sink and saw B a single mouse dropping. Several unrecognizable scraps of red and brown paper accompanied it. Frowning, I began pulling stuff out: containers, partly emptied boxes of food stuffs, unopened instant beverage cans, and paper goods. Nothing.
Red and brown. The box of Nestle Instant Cocoa packets was already opened. I always kept a few packets handy on top of the microwave. Looking inside the box, the destruction was plain as day. The upper layer of packets were completely shredded. This mouse had more than a passion for chocolate — it was obsessed. It had ignored peanut butter cheese crackers and granola bars and gone straight for the chocolate. Aghast, I pitched the ruined box and its contents, then finished emptying the cabinet. Behind large plastic beverage coolers I found traces of chocolate drink mix powder and a ton of droppings. Egad.
I spent the next two hours checking all of the cabinets, upper as well as lower. Anything suspect or not critical went straight into the trash. Anything that could be disinfected was. All loose food items went into sealed plastic bags or plastic storage containers. As best I could tell, the mouse, or mice, had only been in the one cabinet, and on the counter top of the unit on the opposite side of the room. None of the upper cabinets had any openings to them where a mouse could conceivably find passage, unlike the lower cabinets, so all edibles went up there.

Since I’m really not interested in maintaining another shop cat at this point in my life, I will likely need to lay traps. I would prefer the mice simply lose interest and move elsewhere, but as we seem unable to communicate, and I am unable and unwilling to share the space, there is no other choice. Hopefully once the first mouse bites the big one, the rest will freak out and flee. I hope. It sucks that I can’t have a bowl of Hersey’

photo courtesy morguefile

photo courtesy morguefile

s Kisses out.

  1. I have heard of cats who are so well fed or lazy that they do not bother to chase mice!

    • Those would be lazy cats indeed! I have yet to see one not excited by small living things crossing their paths. We still are guarding our chocolate, just in case…

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