Speedy Gonzalez

Someone fell off the face of the blogosphere, eh?

(Wow. Did I really just say “blogosphere”? Ick.)

For the last week I have been dying to post, but unfortunately, my life was taken over by a new house guest. An unwelcome house guest.

  

Um. Ewwww.

Recently when I was going through the kitchen drawer that contained my dry goods, I noticed that some of the bags had holes. At first, I thought they had just ripped open accidentally, but as I dug deeper, I found the above. Yep. Speedy Gonzalez had paid a visit to my apartment, and I was totally unhappy about the fact.

(Source)

That’s right, Speedy, I’m talking about YOU.

I’ve never really lived in a place where I had a rodent problem, and frankly, given the fact that I have cats, I didn’t think I ever would. As it turns out, my cats only have eyes for Fancy Feast.

Fail.

So when faced with this new problem in my life, the first thing I did was to go on Twitter and panic. Obviously. I mean, what else would one do?

After a few more creeped out tweets, I conjured up the strength to go into the kitchen and clean out the drawers in my kitchen built-in. I pretty much had to get rid of all of the food I had, which really bummed me out. I also was sad about my KitKats. I’ve always planned to make a separate post about them, but the long and the short of it is that Japan makes crazy KitKats, I love trying all of the flavors and every time Maya comes home from Japan, she brings me all of the seasonal flavors that they’ve had in her area since she last visited. The mouse only ate a few of them, but I was still pretty grossed out.

Although I threw everything out back on April 20th, I didn’t actually work myself up to finding a solution until last week. I was walking around Japantown after a dentist appointment and I noticed that they had put in a Daiso Japan at the Miyako Mall. I’ve been to the Daiso at Serramonte, but I had never been to the new locations in the city. I decided to just stop in and browse.

Daiso is a very popular Hiyaku-en chain (100 yen shop…the equivalent of a $1 store) in Japan. Here stateside, most everything you will find in a Daiso costs $1.50. There are certain items that might cost $3-$6, but they are in the minority. As far as products, they sort of sell everything. Dishware. Glasses. Aprons. Cleaning Supplies. Candy. Soap. Fabric. Cards. Organizational Supplies. Pens. Pots. Chopsticks. CD cases. Screwdrivers. Toys. You name it, there is probably a cheapish version of it being sold at Daiso.

Of course it didn’t take me long to find what I needed: Mouse-proof kitchen supplies.

I had been wanting an expensive set of tupperware to keep the dry goods in, but I am pretty broke. When I walked into Daiso, I realized I could mouse-proof my kitchen for much less. So I sort of bought $30 worth of items.

(Then I went back later in the week to the Market St. location and bought more.)

 

These guys were the main items used to sort everything out. Plastic trays and plastic locking containers. The larger plastic containers cost $3/each, but I thought it was worth it.

I also bought a cutting board. Completely unrelated, but I just wanted to share.

I was pretty zonked out from carrying all of that home on foot, so when I got home I only really had time to organize the drawers.

Cooking utensils, measuring cups, eight zillion plastic spatulas and a set of J “Wake Up! Mother F*cker” chopsticks. What? YOU don’t have a set of profane chopsticks in the same drawer as your heart-shaped measuring cups?

Spices, pea protein powder, ground chia (the mouse ate the non-ground variety I had on hand..), Biscoff spread, etc.)

Wax paper, plastic wrap, tin foil, zip lock bags, coffee filters, pot holders, magic bullet.

Seeing my drawers all organized filled me with immense pleasure. You see, for the two years I’ve been living here, I’ve just been dumping things in there. The utensil drawer also had pot holders, tin foil and all sorts of other garbage inside. I could never find anything and I just about died of embarrassment when my friend opened it when looking for a bottle opener. I yelled, “NO! NOT IN THERE!”

I didn’t want him to know what a slob I am.

The other drawers had been equally as messy. This new organization made me feel very calm….but not as calm as when I finally got this cabinet done:

Tupperware (containers in the left bin, lids on the right), toaster, mixing bowl, pots, strainers, frying pans, cheese grater, scale, etc.

This picture cannot convey to you the joy that comes with seeing this cabinet organized. You see, much like that top drawer, this cabinet had just been a nightmare of tupperware thrown EVERYWHERE. Anytime I took something out, everything fell onto the floor and I would start yelling a string of curses that would make a sailor blush. I couldn’t ever find anything either. Now, I know where everything is. So. Awesome.

Lastly, I tackled the top of the built-in unit. Just a few days before, it had been piled high with crap, but now, it looks organized and clean.

You can actually see empty space! I just may faint!

Another really helpful thing I found at Daiso were those green collapsible shelves. As you can see, I’ve used one here on the counter top as well as in my tupperware cabinet. It really helps maximize space and makes organization really easy. I’m considering going back for a few more of these to help in other storage areas of my apartment.

One last thing I found at the store that made me a happy camper:

KitKat protection!

This is a rice storage bin, which I am using to house all of the remaining KitKats. I had been a little hesitant to keep any, as the mouse had been in the bag I had kept them in and the idea kind of skeezed me out. In the end, I decided to go through all of the candy, piece by piece. Any wrappers that looked even remotely chewed or scratched were tossed, whereas the rest were stored in this Fort Knox-like security area. I still feel a little wary, but I ate a cheese KitKat the other day and I’m still alive, so I think it’s okay….

(Yes, you read that correctly. I had cheese flavored KitKats, but those were not the ones that got eaten….)

I am also keeping my cats’ dry food in a rice container.

I have learned several things from this mouse experience.

1) Mice will eat whatever they can. Don’t leave ANYTHING outside of a plastic container.

Remember that picture of my spice drawer? I hadn’t finished washing the plastic ware when I organized that drawer, so I left the turbinado sugar package that the mouse had missed out on before in the drawer, thinking I would put it in a plastic container the next day. The next day, I found the mouse had been back and he still had a sweet tooth.

2) A clean kitchen makes me feel significantly more calm and happy

Often times I wouldn’t want to cook because everything was so jumbled and messy that I would feel overwhelmed. Now, I find it is the opposite. I enjoy going into the kitchen to make something as I know that all of my tools are right at my finger tips. It also makes me want to wash my dishes more often, so that the whole room will feel as clean and organized as my built-in unit. I am feeling encouraged to clean the fridge and the sink area in the near future. Although my kitchen was never really filthy, it was cluttered and certainly hasn’t had a really good scrub down since I moved in.

3) I shouldn’t worry so much about telling my landlord when there is a problem:

I had been really afraid to tell my landlord, as I thought it would reflect poorly on me. I thought it meant I was dirty and they would want to evict me or something. I know that sounds crazy, but after living most of my life in a rent controlled apartment in the Mission district, where the landlord really was trying to get us out, I’m sort of wired like this. In my old apartment, we routinely kept things like plumbing and heating problems, broken windows and pest issues to ourselves.

I did end up telling my building manager, however. All is cool. He told me that other tenants throughout the years have had similar problems. If I wanted regular snap traps, he would be happy to give me some, but he recommended I try out a sonic device that is designed to repel the rodents from the unit.

I decided to pick up a 2-pack from my local hardware store and I have one plugged into a socket in the kitchen and another in my studio’s main room. The sound is at a different frequency than what humans or cats hear, so the felines are good with it. I can hear a slight buzzing sound from the things, but it isn’t a big deal. I don’t know if they actually work, but as the alternative involves seeing dead mice, I am all for this approach.

So far, I haven’t seen evidence of another visit….and I hope it stays that way!

Have you ever dealt with a pest problem in your home?

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9 Responses to Speedy Gonzalez

  1. elaine! says:

    Aw, man! What a bummer. Mice are gross. Adorable, but gross. Hanta virus, etc. Eek!

    We get mice in the garage — thankfully, not the house. They rip up the insulation around the water heater to nest in. We started letting our cat into the garage, hoping that between sheer terror and the lingering smell of cat, the mice would be scared away.

    What actually happened is our indoor-only, well-fed kitty decided that the live mice were like his toy mice. So he would hunt them, grab them, and then bring them into the kitchen so he could chase them around the fridge and table and cabinets.

    Super gross.

    We sealed up the entrance to the water heater insulation, which helped. We tried normal mouse traps, but I think my boyfriend was traumatized by trying to humanely dispatch the mice that were caught but not killed in the traps. 😦 Then we tried live mouse traps, but I don’t think the whole catch-and-release thing worked too well… the one we released out in the sagebrush just kind of sat there looking despondent and traumatized, and I wonder if he survived long enough to find a hidey-hole in the marshlands.

    Anyway … sounds like the perfect excuse to organize your kitchen! I love 100 yen shops. 🙂 And I’m jealous of your rice containers. I could actually use a couple of those for, like, rice.

    • girlinchucks says:

      Yeah. I couldn’t bear the idea of finding live mice, suffering mice or dead mice. Despite wishing that my cats had earned their keep, I’m sort of glad they never caught any. It isn’t like cats eat mice, they just hunt them for sport and then bring their “prizes” home to you and me in expectation of praise.

      Sorry kitty, but if I find a dead mouse on my bed, you’re going to get something from me, but it ain’t gonna be praise!

      The kitchen organization definitely was a bonus. I’ve wanted to do it for ages, but unfortunately it took vermin invasion to get me up off my butt!

      You should totally hit up Daiso the next time you come down. Lots of interesting stuff at the J-town locale.

  2. Spiz says:

    I didn’t realize how afraid of mice I was until I had mice in my apartment. I opened my snack cupboard and saw a box of Ding Dong’s shaking. There was poop everywhere. There was poop in the utility room. I could hear mice moving in the walls. I eventually found the hole they were coming into the apartment(under the sink) and sealed it up myself but that didn’t stop them from roaming in the walls. I had the worst landlord too. He never fixed anything and when I told him about the rodent problem, he was like “whateves.” Also, my apartment flooded numerous times and he tried to fix it as cheaply as possible, which of course didn’t work. Anyway, mice are gross.

    • girlinchucks says:

      They’re skeery. I’m so glad I didn’t find a mouse actually there in the flesh when I opened my drawer! I can’t find the hole where they are entering either.

      My building manager isn’t a bad guy. Maybe a little absent minded sometimes, but friendly. And he did offer traps…but I really have no interest in snap traps…

  3. Sarah says:

    Eek! We deal with mice a lot. Combination of crazy neighbor lady and crap tons of bird food attracts them. Luckily they’ve never gotten into our food, they just come in looking for shelter.

    I can say those repeller things didn’t work for me. The only thing I use after lots of experience is these Ortho Home Defense traps. Easy to set snap-style trap but the dead mouse is totally concealed so I don’t have to look at it. I’ve also had good luck with an electro-shock box, but I had to look at the mouse.

    I take no prisoners.

    • girlinchucks says:

      So far, the repellers haven’t worked here either, as I found evidence the little guy was in there last night. So glad I organized the kitchen though….the mess was minimal at least, with no spoiled food!

      Anyway, they say to give the repeller a couple weeks. Hopefully it might help eventually…I really don’t want to have to move to real traps…even when the mouse is hidden…

  4. Eric says:

    JOOC- how exactly are those wire-frame looking plastic baskety thingies supposed to mouse-proof your spices? Or are those just for organizizization?

  5. I was wondering if you ever considered changing the layout of your
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    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it
    better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one orr 2 images.
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