Proofing the flat or discovering the horror

New Year, new game. When I wrote: change will come in January, this one wasn’t one I had in mind! Let me set the scene for why we are not dog-, but mouse-proofing our flat…. it all started out when we came home last week (in a movie this would be the time for rain and scary music, but in real life there was jazz music playing and the sun was shining, well, I guess that’s life contra movie, but if you want to, you can switch on scary music while you continue on to read this).

Before our first breakfast back here (and can someone please explain, why I always find these things before breakfast??) we discovered that unbekownst to us, we apparently ‘sub-let’ the flat to what now feels like a cohort of mice (going back to Roman times: a cohort is 1/10 of a legion, which was about a 4,000 men – means a cohort is about 400).  That first day (that Sunday, before breakfast) all we had to throw away were our (still unopened) bags of ground almonds (Waitrose: your brand of ground almonds are no challenge to the teeth of mice, let me tell you), the IKEA Branäs baskets – apparently willow and acrylic paint are on the mouse menu as well as our loose tea (still unopened bags as well). Not sure what they did with the tea, but it looked like the Boston tea party in the baskets. All the rest of the food (i.e. unopened bags of nuts, etc that hadn’t been attacked or discovered by the mice) was stored in the fridge or in glass/hard plastic containers. We thought (naive as we were) we had managed to keep them away. Not really… Next day the two other Branäs baskets were chewed and some signs of mouse presence were unmistakingly left there and on the carpet (eeeeeeeek!). G casually mentioned we needed to check behind the sofa as well…and I was still thinking, no way they were going there as well, and forgot about it…until Friday, when I looked behind the sofa for the toolbox, in preparation for the weekend January Cure chores. I quickly got the picture that I was completely wrong and mice had had a party behind the sofa- they also read (or shredded) a couple of old editions of Die Zeit (the German newspaper), which I had kept under the sofa in case I needed paper for protection (e.g. painting projects). The Brigitte magazine, however, hadn’t been touched – should we now conclude that these were male mice (Brigitte is targeted for women) or that Brigitte uses mouse repellent paper/colour print…? Working my way around the sofa, I found a (suicidal?) mouse that passed away in a our large glass vase.  At this point, I lost it (completely) and made G come back home from work to help clean up – which is what you see in the picture. Some time spent on the beloved internet search machine told us that mice will eat –  wait for it – EVERYTHING and (German) pest control sites advised to store everything in glass or plastic containers. This includes (but is not limited to) clothes and shoes. We also learned that gap from about 0.5cm upwards is not a challenge for a mouse to squeeze through. Happy times! Thankfully, all our wool and fabric stash was stored away safely in hard plastic boxes, but as I found out yesterday, the private letters in my chest of drawers were not so lucky. They will all have to go, too. To give you an idea of what I have to part with: a card from my first boyfriend (when I was 17) and a cheer-up letter from my sister from the time I was really ill.  Things that I kept with me even when moving here, because they meant so much to me. Heartbroken! But I can’t keep chewed, peed and xxx (hm, censured) on things at home, especially not, when there is a warning about a growing risk of the hanta virus in mice sh… hmm, legacy. I am not sure what to do if they go into our books and the sheet music…

In Germany it is the landlord’s task to make sure that no pests (that includes mice) are in the property, and rent can be withheld up to 100% if this isn’t done, but apparently here that’s not the case – so we deal with it step by step. We can get the pest control in, but because of the layout of our flat it wouldn’t make sense to just do our flat and not the one above and below (and, no, funnily I don’t want to pay for those, too).  We are still completely baffled why we had what feels like a cohort of mice in the first place. We left no food lying around while we were away, except for unopened bags (like the ground almonds), but we have done this here, as well as in other places, many times and there was never a mouse in sight.  Did you have similar experiences? Did you find anything that helped? If you have any tips for us, please leave a comment!


2 thoughts on “Proofing the flat or discovering the horror

  1. Lolle Pampolle says:

    What an unpleasant welcome! 😦
    Ich hatte glücklicherweise noch nie ein Mäuse-Problem, von daher kann ich euch da gar nicht helfen. In irgendwelchen Ferienwohnungen oder auf dem Campingplatz gab es vielleicht mal eine Maus, aber die wurde dann mit einer klassischen Mäusefalle gefangen und dann gab’s auch kein Problem mehr.
    Was ich bei so einer ganzen Armada anstellen würde wüsste ich auch nicht…
    Hoffe ihr findet ganz schnell eine Lösung!
    Liebe Grüße!

    • dotsandyarn says:

      Danke! Ich habe so was auch noch nie in einem bewohntem Haus gesehen! Der sichtbare Mäuse count liegt bei zur Zeit bei 3… Heute sollen die Fallen kommen – interessanterweise sind Mäusefallen in unserer Gegend in jedem Geschäft ausverkauft. Sollte uns das was sagen…? Etwas beängstigend fand ich doch schon, dass die an wirklich alles gehen, man kann ja nicht den gesamten Haushalt verpacken. Wir werden über die Entwicklung berichten. Liebe Grüße, M.

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