One, my neighbor (i.e., hero-in-waiting) Tony told me he'd tried both traps and the live capture ones didn't work as well. In the same breath, he told me he'd killed 18 mice in the first three days in his house. I guess he was trying to make me feel better. That comment led me to reason two: If I couldn't use a stove on which a mouse had traversed, how did I think I could remove a live one from my house? Or live with one rattling around inside a trap until I could secure help?

Recognizing one's limitations is very important.

Ten minutes after Mary and her family left my house, I heard a loud snap. Screaming bloody murder, I leapt out of my kitchen and got on the phone. Mary, Danny and Finn hadn't even made it home yet. They circled back to my house, and Danny played executioner. It was his 40th birthday. Now you know why I called them angels.

The exterminator came on Monday and did exactly what I "coulda-shoulda-woulda" done. He took the snap traps I already had, applied nontoxic bait and stuffed the cracks with steel wool. Now, my snap traps did have one eco-touch: They are made of FSC-certified wood, meaning the wood used to make them comes from forests that were managed in a way that cares for indigenous communities and the land.

My neighbor Tony—who, fortunately, finds all of my pleas "funny" and isn't sick of me yet—checked the traps last night. They remain empty. I have found the courage to cross the "killing zone" and make tea and coffee (caffeine is a powerful motivator) and am trying to be gentle with my fears.


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