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Harriet Berkal: The Christmas Mouse that Visited my Jewish House

by Harriet Berkal, Dec 22, 2020

Yesterday, I had to call for a storage container to be delivered to my house, as I have a few uninvited visitors in my basement. I’m not ashamed to say this, as I keep a very clean house, but it takes the smallest of holes for them to gain access. People are actually afraid to admit they have had them. They aren’t attracted to dirt; they are seeking warmth and food.

However, I loathe vermin! They are carriers of disease. But I’ve learned much from this latest episode.

  1. I’m not the only one in the neighborhood to be experiencing a mouse infestation right now. It turns out that the storage company has been recently, inundated with these types of calls. But why? We’ve had an unusually warm December. Why aren’t mice happy being outside, walking around like the rest of us- basking in the warmer temperatures? One woman called the same company as I did, wanting the entire contents of her home, moved into storage.

The City of Winnipeg enforced a by-law in 2013, which doesn’t permit cats from roaming the streets of our city. Exterminators must have rejoiced at this new ruling.  If one travels to Europe, cats are everywhere, even in Israel. This allows for the natural food chain process to take place. Cats eat mice and that’s how it is meant to be. But not here, unless you own a cat. I also hate cats as well.  It begs the question as to why the city enforced this regulation when it was beneficial to have cats roaming, (just not for exterminators.)

 “Owner’s responsibilities 18(1) Subject to this section, the owner of a cat that is in the City of Winnipeg must (a) ensure that, if the cat is over the age of six months, it is sterilized unless a valid licence for an unsterilized cat has been issued for the cat; (b) ensure that the cat does not run at large; (c) ensure that, except when it is (i) on the owner’s property; or (ii) on the property of another person who has consented to the presence of the unleashed cat; the cat is at all times kept on a leash that is never longer than 20 feet in length and no longer that 6 feet in length when the cat is on a street, on a path or any other place that is not an open space or when people or other animals are within 20 feet the house.”

  1. Is there a coincidence that many are experiencing mice inside their homes, while at the same time the Kapyong Barracks has been demolished and acres of soil have been disrupted? Surely the mice have migrated east into the homes of middle Tuxedo.  I had never associated the two before, but now it makes sense.
  2. I’ve retained exterminators for many years, but they missed something this time round. You must do a perimeter check to ensure you have no points of entry. Mice need the smallest opening to gain access. But there is a new trick I just learned which deter mice and it blew me away. They steer clear if they smell fox urine. I learned this from a check out person at Home Depot as she was bagging my extra traps, etc. She used to work at a hunting store and they indeed sell little bottles of fox pee in bottles, which you can spray around the perimeter of your home. How they collect it from them, is beyond me, but hats off to them for making this important contribution, to those neurotic enough to want a mouse free existence. How come my exterminator never disclosed this little gem to me?
  3. Spray foam the perimeter of your crawl space if you have one. That typically where they come in but if you have an attached garage to your home, they can come in there as well. You can also lay live baited traps with peanut butter, but I’d rather leave it to poison, fox urine and spray foam

I don’t have any recollections of having mice in my childhood home in River Heights. I bet most of you in your 60’s, don’t either. But you likely remember neighborhood cats roaming about.

Mice as mentioned are carriers of disease. Thank God they aren’t carrying Covid. But the mess they can make and the hours and cost to sanitize is so disruptive. Wasn’t 2020 already bad enough?

I jest in calling it a “Christmas Mouse”, as there is a sweet holiday story associated with that tale (a pun no less.) The main character is a mouse who helps the family prepare for Santa.

I’m sure many grew up with this charming story of a creature not considered invasive.

Perhaps we need a book called the Hanukah fox who outsmarts the mice seeking refuge from the cold? Some are not bothered by mice at all, while the rest of us sleep with one eye open, and despair at these little creatures, who mean no harm, but have the power to cause one tremendous mental anguish.

Someone brilliant came up with the word MOUSE for the cursor control on our computers. See, they were always here, and powerful.

Get a grip, Covid is scarier!

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