Growing up on the ranch, I am was exposed to many different wild critters. I knew that mice existed, but somehow we never really had a problem. I promise you that I am a good housekeeper, and although it annoys my boys, I am extremely neat and tidy. We even have ranch kitties for keeping snakes and mice away, although I don’t think they are earning their keep.
What makes this mouse somewhat unique is his preference for chocolate. I can just visualize him after a night of raiding my pantry with a five o’clock shadow of chocolate strewn across his face and nose. The normal baits of peanut butter, pecans, and cheese, do not tempt him in the least. Hershey bars, Hershey Kisses, even cooking chocolate is what he wants and attacks with vengeance. Because of his strange chocolate addiction he has been dubbed Choco, by 14-year-old Austin and his brother, Jamison, 10-years-old, two major choc-a-holics.
Choco Mouse’s first raid was actually kind of humorous. But after a recent return from the grocery store with several new packages of various kinds of chocolate candies to replenish my boys stash, very little humor was left when Choco Mouse and his band of chocolatiers succeeded in taking one bite out of nearly each piece that I brought home. I can only imagine what they did to the pieces that they left behind. My boys nearly cried when they saw the trashcan filled with chocolate that I knew was desecrated by Choco. That is when I noticed that Austin and Jamison might be experiencing some mild chocolate withdrawals.
After buying so many Rubbermaid containers that I was unable to properly see out of my back Jeep window, the boys and I stacked everything that a mouse could possibly be interested in into plastic bins. The idea would be that he couldn’t get to the object of his desire and leave peacefully. In case he didn’t take the hint, we sat out no fewer than 6 sticky mouse pads baited with chocolate in the pantry for some extra assurance. Daily we checked the traps to no avail, while daily the mouse would leave me a little evidence that he was still there. He seemly taunted me saying, “Yes, I know you know I am here, I know that you think I am stupid, and my strategically placed evidence should let you know that I am not.” That mouse was basically thumbing his nose at all of our efforts.
A Choco sighting occurred one morning as my boys sat blurry-eyed at the kitchen table eating their breakfast before school. Jamison reported that he saw a mouse come out from under the pantry door, then turn around and run straight back in. With a bewildered look on his face, he swore to me that he spotted a silver foil hat on his head. I questioned him further, and it was revealed that he believed to see Choco with a Hersey Kiss balanced on his head. I am sure that Jamison was giving Choco too much credit, but at any rate a sighting seemed to spur Austin and Jamison to officially declared war.
The boys set out D-Con mouse traps as well as the old fashion mouse traps with peanut butter and classic cheese just to cover all of their bases. Austin started doing Google searches on know how to properly mouse proof a house. “Mom,” Austin, called from the den, “they even eat paper towels. And that glass of water on the table that you have out. Well, that helps him wash it all down. You are an enabler, enabling Choco. Um, you know it doesn’t say a thing about a chocolate loving mouse.” Somehow the boys began to think of catching this menace as a game. They hurry into the kitchen each morning and afterschool checking the traps and looking for signs.
“Well, this has just gone too far. Choco has taken it to a whole, new level.” The chocolate withdrawals had finally hit Jamison hard, and with that comment he went out the back door and returned with Mimi and Popsy’s cat. Lightening, as this cat is lovingly called is the complete opposite of our ranch kitties. His long legs, gray color, and quickness makes him a mouse’s worse nightmare. Jamison placed him in front of the opened pantry. A few growls and snorts from his mouth let us know that he was aware of his job. However, after a morning with him in the house he seemed more interested in exploring our house than staking out our pantry.
As we headed out the door for school, Jamison called out, “We’ll be back and with re-enforcements despicable Choco.” Immediately Austin and Jamison discussed their plans of attack which involved plans for gathering up all of the ranch kitties and locking them in the pantry overnight. Although I informed them that wasn’t going to happen, it was nice to see them have a united front. For the first time in a long spell both boys are working together to accomplish a goal: ridding our kitchen of a rodent and protecting their chocolate stash. As with nearly everything in our house, it all goes back to the chocolate.