Monday, September 19, 2011
I'm seven weeks into my running layoff now and I'm not missing a thing. I've been riding my bikes into the ground, though, I already broke my chain once on the Surly! The guy at the bike shop told me to go easy on the poor bike...
I finally made it up north Dam Hill at Horsetooth on the bike, faster than I can run it. That was an accomplishment for me, since I used to always seem to run faster than a lot of the cyclists on that hill. At the beginning even Bingham Hill was tough, but now I can do Bingham Hill with a lot less effort.
I am getting some opportunities to chase things for cross-training though. Like the newest member of our family, the one who wasn't invited but makes himself comfortable every night in our house, Einstein.
Einstein is a mouse.
This time of year in Fort Collins the mice like to come indoors looking for food, when it gets cold outside at night.
So far Einstein has outsmarted us even though he's come close to death several times. I could have done him in once, but I can't kill mice. Mice squeaking in a trap make me cry.
I have a hard enough time dealing with the inescapable crunch of running over gazillions of grasshoppers on the bike path this time of year, so killing a mouse is over the top for me.
I had the opportunity, and I thought my effort was enough, but I didn't do it and he ended up escaping. Now he's managed to evade all of our traps and foil all of our efforts. We've tried to bait him with dog food, peanut butter, oatmeal, and I don't know what else. Dennis deals with the traps, not me.
Iris and Isabelle hear him and try to chase him but he knows to get under the oven and in the cracks where they can't reach him. They sniff, but they never get close. They don't pay much attention most of the time. Does this look like a buffalo who is ready to chase a mouse?
One day I heard him stuck on the glue trap in the garage, near the doggie door. He was trying to get off of it and he was squeaking. I felt victorious, but his squeaking was making me feel guilty. I dropped him and the glue trap into the trash can in the garage, saying, "sorry little mouse!" and thinking once I closed the lid we would never hear from him again.
Later that day I went out to put a trash bag out in the can. I opened the lid, and something dark flew out! It went flying across the garage.
That mouse freed himself from the trap deep in the garbage can, got up near the lid and waited for the opportunity to get out! This mouse deserves a diploma of some sort. That's when I decided to name him Einstein. My sister has a cat named Einstein. Maybe we should borrow the cat for a while.
Most mice find little cracks or holes, or get under doorways. Einstein uses the doggie door.
A few days before we "caught" him I opened the little closet that we use as a pantry, and something dark and furry came flying off the shelf, brushed my hand as it flew across the room, and by the time I realized what it was, all I saw was the swinging flap of the doggie door. The girls were nowhere to be found. They were too busy looking for squirrels in the trees in the back yard, oblivious to the mouse.
After we set traps, Einstein chewed his way into a triple-wrapped bag of flour and an unopened bag of tortilla chips. There were chips all over the shelf. We cleaned everything and put all the chewable items up in the cabinets. Or so we thought.
I had a big cardboard container of oatmeal that I cook in the mornings, and I left it out on the counter one night, not thinking about the mouse. In the morning I found the oatmeal in the state below.
He tried gnawing through the cardboard at the bottom, but then must have given up and jumped on the top, where he chewed a hole in the plastic lid! I found shredded plastic all over the counter, and of course, another trail of mouse poop across the stove. We also found more little turds in the pantry again, on top of the cans. Ugh!
After cleaning up again, Dennis said that was it, he was getting some different mousetraps and wanted to keep him from getting up on the shelves in the pantry, so he placed a sheet of plastic wrap across the lower shelf all the way to the door, thinking Einstein might bounce off of it if he tried to leap up there.
That didn't work, we found mouse poop on the shelves again!
So far, no luck. We got a reprieve from cleaning up mouse poop the past 2 days but I have a feeling it won't last.
That's about it. Mostly these days I am working, painting, riding the bike, and hanging out with the girls at home. There's nothing as fun as an afternoon game of Stick in the back yard grass.
I thought about going off on a rant about people who talk on the cell phone while riding their bikes on the bike path, but I'll save that for another day.