Thursday, May 28, 2015
Update on the mouse hunt: After letting things sit for about a week, I just cleaned under the sink. Either the mice got into the poison, or the blocks are disintegrating. I found green poison powder but no real evidence the blocks had been nibbled on. However, I haven't noticed any mice streaking across the living room since the guy was here. There haven't been any piles of sawdust or signs of gnawing, either. No news is good news.
That was the sink. Next I checked under the stove. I didn't even know that drawer at the bottom comes out until Pest Control Guy demonstrated. I took it out and found a lot of dust, some poop, and one fat, dead little mouse. The rubber gloves, dustpan and I dispatched him post haste.
I checked his belly for teats and determined he really was a him. That doesn't mean there aren't more of them flitting around the house. At some point I'll have to move furniture and check under the couch with a flashlight. If any of them died behind the furnace (they may have been getting in and out in the furnace room, too) then they'll just have to stay there. The furnace guy is coming next week to clean the furnace and check on the air conditioner. If I hear a yell, I'll know the poison worked.
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When I decided to let the experts deal with my rodent infestation, I made my first calls to local, small-time pest guys. I suspect the one I went with works out of his house. He showed up at the door with a bucket of poison bait, which he scattered around the house for $100. I really didn't need any more than that. The big-name outfit I also called would have charged me $300 just to come out and inspect the place. I didn't need an inspection. I already knew I had mice. What I needed was a way to get rid of them. Pest Guy's methods worked. No muss, no fuss.
Big-name outfits do the job and do it well; that's how they got to be big names. The trouble is, they charge two to three times the going rate. That's because these once-little outfits have bloated into big corporations, with whole herds of employees who want benefits, paid holidays, and annual cost of living increases. Plus the CEO needs new carpet in his office. These costs all show up on your bill.
I've encountered this before, but the first time I really noticed it was when Mom passed and I had to clean out her apartment. I wanted all the furniture out ASAP so I wouldn't have to pay for another month's rent. I decided to donate it all to the Salvation Army. They pick stuff up for free and pass it on to the needy. Win-win.
So I called. The charitable non-profit told me they couldn't come by for two weeks. "We'll be there some time on a Wednesday," they said. "We don't know when. We're very busy. Also, you need to put everything in bags so we can move it (I'm assuming they didn't mean the furniture). And we'll need a full inventory."
Uh-huh. And would you like me to label everything? You're getting this stuff for free. Why should I have to deal with this?
I thanked them politely and said I'd get back to them. Then I called the local re-usit shop and asked if they wanted some free furniture. They showed up within a week, at an agreed-upon time, and carted everything off without any further effort on my part. Other than the smaller appliances and towels and household stuff like that, which had to go to a different store, but I can lift those so it wasn't a problem.
Here in the farm country we used to have our own telephone company, the ol' D&E (Denver and Ephrata), the equivalent of two tin cans on a string. You could stroll down Main Street and drop your payment in the slot outside the office and get some exercise at the same time. If you had a problem, you stopped by the office and they fixed it for you.
All that changed when some national outfit bought them out. For a while you could still pay bills at the office, but then they closed the slot. Then they closed the offices. The nearest place to pay bills in person, or talk to a human being if you had problems, was their phone store in Lititz, six miles away. Then they closed that. If your phone service goes out, you can contact them by email. Or call. Which is tricky when your phone's not working to begin with. (This actually happened to me.) I think the bill I now have to mail goes to a place in Ohio.
At some point I'll probably say Screw You and get a cell phone. We still have Verizon stores in the area, where you can walk in and yell at some recent college grad who's being paid minimum wage to take your abuse. That's a lot more satisfying than cursing at a computer screen. Email just doesn't convey sarcasm like face-to-face confrontation.
Then there was my job at the printing company. There used to be two companies. If you couldn't get a job at one, you could go to work for the other. Then the one got bought out by some national firm. Then that one bought the one I was working for. Then my job got sent to India. Eventually all the work got sent to India, and the printing company closed down. Global economy, gotta love it.
This is why, when I finally get around to getting home Internet, I'll buy it from my cable TV company, because they're not a corporation yet. They still have an office where you can walk in and pay your bill in person, and human beings you can yell at when things don't work. I'm going to miss that when Comcast or somebody eventually buys them out, which is practically inevitable in these times of corporate mergers.
I think I'll hang on to some of that mouse poison, to introduce myself to the new corporate overlords. I've recently learned the best way how to deal with vermin.