We Have Mice! How To Get Rid Of Them Without An Exterminator

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I swear I don’t live in a run down housing project. My building is actually fairly nice, just really, really old. Prewar old. And we live in an area with all sorts of critters like foxes, deer, chipmunks and our dreaded field mice.

Now after our whole mold situation, I’ve been on vigilant alert for any issues. We love our apartment and it’s well below market price so we’re not willing to move unless it’s something absolutely dire or a fantastic deal.

Anyway, it was 3am and my daughter just woke up for her middle of the night feeding. She was being fussy, so I took her to the living room to calm down and get sleepy. I put her down in her baby swing and decided to start working on my blog from the couch. So I’m sitting there, hunched over my computer, and in the corner of my eye, I saw it plain as day, a big ass mouse scurrying across the room right underneath my daughter where she was swinging. It scurried out through a hole underneath our radiator in the living room.

I couldn’t help myself, I let out a bloodcurdling scream. “Oh My God, Oh My God, Oh My God!” I repeat over and over in shock.

Of course my husband jumps out of bed, after hearing me scream like I was being murdered, and rushes to the living room, thinking that our daughter died or something.

Thankfully, just a mouse in the apartment.

I couldn’t be in the living room at night after that, at least until we resolved it and kind of figured something out.

So now it’s been two weeks since THE SIGHTING and I feel confident that what we’ve done will prevent mice from entering the apartment. Our issue wasn’t that we were leaving garbage out, although we could’ve been better about that, or that they were living in our walls, they weren’t because the walls are concrete. The issue was that they were entering from the basement. And the basement is controlled by property management.

Here’s What We Did:

1. Contacted Our Super

Our Super is pretty decent. He does tend to whatever issues come up in the apartment, although, he usually just does a quick fix. But this time I made sure to direct him and make sure he was taking care of all our requests. By contacting our super we’re also making a record of the issue so that if it continues we can take it to our property management and let them know that they were aware and they failed to correct. (You have to think like a ninja when you’re a tenant because usually ownership wants to spend as little money as possible to correct problems like this. Sometimes you have to lay down the big hammer and put some pressure on them).

2. Filled All The Holes

There was a hole in the wall right behind our oven, that was the mouse’s entry point. It crossed through the kitchen into the living room and exited from the left radiator. There was a large enough hole in the hardwood floor for the mouse to exit.

FYI-A mouse is able to enter any hole that is the size of a quarter or bigger.

It was a huge task to look through the whole house and find these holes, but we had to in order to keep the mice from coming in. So the Super came the next day, brought one of those metal Brillo pads and some spackle, then filled the hole. He used the metal Brillo to reinforce to spackle so the mice couldn’t just break through it. That took him a total of five minutes to do.

3. Set Some Traps

So this is not the first time I’ve had a mouse in my apartment, unfortunately. The first time was when I was living in Queens and we had these horrible upstairs neighbors that never took their garbage out and next door neighbors who fed birds and left bread out. So of course we had mice.

First we tried the sticky traps. They’re like these rectangular squares that you can put down and they have a really sticky film on them as well as crumbs, so that the mice will HOPEFULLY try to get the food then get stuck in the trap. Just know that sticky traps are not good if you have pets because obviously the pets could get stuck in them and they are incredibly painful to get out. Also they aren’t good if you have small children because they can accidentally touch the trap and it’s like touching sticky super glue.

We actually caught a mouse on the sticky traps in Queens and I really didn’t like it. I thought it was so inhumane, the mouse was stuck in the trap for hours squealing and trying to get out. Then we had it pick it up like that, kill it and then throw it out.

This sounds horrible, but I just don’t want to see the mouse. I want it to get caught in the trap, hidden from view, and killed right away. I’m not someone who enjoys seeing animals suffer.

This is, in my opinion, the best trap to get and it’s really efficient. You just put some cheese inside or peanut butter and leave the trap wherever you think the mice will go. When we got this we caught the other mouse right away, literally the next day, and it was easy to get rid of.

4. Mouse Repellent

This is the best repellent for mice. I was concerned about putting poison out or something like that since, you know, chemicals are bad for children and pets. This mouse repellent spray is all natural.

Apparently mice really hate the smell of peppermint or any other strong scent. The ingredients are peppermint oil, spearmint oil, cinnamon oil and vinegar so pretty much all natural. There’s also sodium lauryl sulfate (2%) which is an organic compound meant to thicken the spray.

All you need to do is just spray around the house and that alone will keep mice away. So I would recommend putting it near your doorway, behind appliances and anywhere that you saw the mice before and that will repel them.

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I hate mice, there’s something about them that’s just so nasty and dirty. Having them in your house is just the worst.

Mice tend to be very sneaky and hard to get rid of on your own so be patient. Hiring an exterminator if you don’t have an infestation and only one or two mice will be super costly. You really don’t need to do that if you only have a small mouse problem. These tricks will help you keep mice out and get rid of the ones you have, fast and cheaply!

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What To Do When You Dislike Your Job

 

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I’m going back to work in less than a month, my maternity leave is over and I really wish it wasn’t ending. Though it would be nice to earn real money again, short term disability and paid family leave is really nothing in terms of compensation.

During my time of just being at home with family, I realized why I’m always so on edge and why I’ve been so unhappy with my career. I finally have the job that I’ve been looking for for so long, but it’s the people that make it miserable.

You see, I thought I would be happy doing challenging work with competitive pay but I was wrong.

There’s not a single one of my bosses that I’ve liked. You can follow all my blog posts and see just how miserable this job has made me. Yet I stay because of the benefits; because I have to put food on the table.

  • I’m Beginning To Realize It’s Just Me.

I’m not a team player and organizations don’t like that. They want someone who’s going to do what they’re told, follow the pack, play fair and be nice, all while being trampled on. And I don’t know how to be a team player in that kind of environment.

Ever noticed whenever you question something at work or you you realize that you’re taking on more work than you should, they always throw out “be a team player?” Like that propaganda is going to make me forget that I am being used beyond my compensation. If I already know that I have no chance of being promoted mainly due to the culture of the company, why would I do more and why would I want to be a team player on a team that doesn’t recognize hard work and excellence?

The truth is I work better on my own. I like to solve my own problems, have my own system and have autonomy over the quality of my work. With team environments, generally, jobs want a systematic approach that’s not necessarily most efficient, consistency across the board and groupthink where everyone has the same opinion. And that’s just not me and that’s not going to change, I’ve tried.

So here I am, a black sheep in a white flock, trying to stay inconspicuous.

I Haven’t Met A Manager I Respect

I honestly have rarely met a manager I can respect. Just because you’re above me in rank or in compensation doesn’t mean you own me; the corporate world kind of forgets that.

The only manager that I have ever been able to respect was one that looked out for their employees, mentored them and wanted to see them succeed. Plenty of managers will pay lip service to that kind of idea but actions always speak louder than words with me. And someone who doesn’t walk the walk is less than a manager in my eyes.

So right now my manager is someone who complains a lot, wants to get things his way, a brown noser and someone who pretends to be nice but really isn’t. I’ve worked with him for about a year and a half now so I have low hopes that things will get better. I just can’t get myself to respect him.

So what do I do? When I’m working at a job that has no growth with a manager I don’t respect?

My goal for when I come back to work is to just keep my head down and take it day by day.

I’m not going to pretend like I love my job or that I respect my manager or that I’m even friends with my coworkers, because I’m not. What I can do is control my attitude and realize that I’m at this job for a reason. I can quit any day I want. But I don’t. And that’s because I still need to keep this job for whatever reason whether it’s benefits or pay.

A lot of career advice will tell you to just talk it out with your boss or change directions at work or put everything in emails, but sometimes that advice is just full of shit.

I’m giving real world advice here and that is: work’s not fair and work’s not always right. You have to keep a long-term goal in mind even when you’re doing something you hate because you’re not going to be at that job forever. And I want to say that there’s nothing wrong with you just because you can’t fit into corporate culture; it’s really not for everyone. It’s not for me either but you need to use it as an opportunity even if it’s only a short-lived one.

Worst than being at a job that you dislike is being the person who’s constantly jobhunting for the perfect job, which I don’t believe exists unless you’re your own boss and can control your work environment.

So my main point is to make an exit plan, find out what you love and find a way to monetize that. Then make a deadline on how you’re going to make that your full-time job and do it. Your day job can just be a steppingstone, something that can get you to the next place in life.

Maybe I’m not corporate made, it’s not who I am but somehow I’m going to find a way to make my job work for me and help me grow into a career that I can be proud of and love.

It’s OK if you’re failing at work or just getting by, as long as you treat it like an opportunity and a stepping stone to help get you the kind of work you love.

I Married A Gambler

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My mother was always wary of gambling. As far as I knew, my father never gambled much. He liked blackjack but he could always enter a casino with a set amount of money that he would allow himself to lose and be able to walk out before he went over his limit. That number he had in his mind was never more than $200 and he didn’t gamble often. Besides, my mother hated when he gambled, it reminded her of her childhood and of her deadbeat father who gambled everything on mahjong. I wasn’t around gambling much as a child.

So when my husband lost $500 on a poker game, I didn’t think much of it. It was his hobby, something that helped him relax. Little did I know that I was inadvertently enabling him.

My Husband, we’ll call him K, is a good poker player. He gained interest in it from his Uncle who had run some illegal poker rings in the city and did some time for it. He started playing with his friends and when his friends stopped playing with him because he was taking all their money, he moved on to the casinos.

And he had a lot of beginners luck. He made $10K and paid off his student loans with that. He was a good player and he swore that it was a game of skill so, to me, I never saw it as a gambling problem.

But that how gambling problems start…

K would ask if he could take a trip to the city underground clubs or the casino when I went away and visited my parents for the weekend. I didn’t mind because he was asking me and he was still winning occasionally; it was a shared financial decision. If he lost, he lost. If he won, then even better. The truth is, I was also gambling. I was gambling on him to win.

And we did this for years, even though my job would fluctuate in income because I worked on commission and we still had debt to pay off and a small child to take care of. I knew we were being financially irresponsible so I started to make a tight budget to get things under control and I started looking in depth at our bank statements.

“K why did you take out $300 from our checking on this date and why did you take out another $300 two weeks before? What are you doing with this money?” My voice was soft and nervous about the answer. I mean we needed that money, it was winter and the slow season for commissions.

“Oh I owed my dad some money and I used the other $300 for a little spending here and there.”

“I didn’t know you owed your dad money… Please just let me know beforehand because I wasn’t expecting this expense.” $300 for money here and there seemed like a lot but I gave him the benefit of the doubt.

A few months passed from that incident and I didn’t think much of it until I saw another large debit from our checking only a month later. This time $400!

“K, what are you spending this money on! You spent nearly 1/2 of this commission that I made. I wanted to buy X, Y and Z and now I can’t because we can’t afford it.”

He lowered his head in shame and spilled it. He had been gambling behind my back for the past couple of

months. Instead of seeing a movie, he was going to the club in the city. Instead of taking a trip with me to see my parents, he stayed behind to “clean the apartment,” but was really taking a trip to the local casino to play poker.”

“But if you could only see the hand I lost on! Statistically I should have won any other time. He just caught a lucky card on the river!”

I could feel my blood start to simmer with rage. He had spent over $1000 behind my back over these three months. Here we were, we agreed to get our debt down and cut down spending and he was just dropping money down the drain at the casino. I was the only one sacrificing by cutting down my trips to Starbucks and holding off on buying new work clothes. And worst of all he was lying to me about it.

I never felt more resentful.

And that was our cycle for the next couple of years. Months would pass by with us saving and then a charge would pop up mysteriously for $200, $300 or $500. It was always just what we could afford to lose but it kept us from saving. On days I found out of his secret gambling, we’d fight viciously. Then he’d promise never to do it again or try to rationalize a reason why he would win next time. Then he would stop going to play poker for a few months until he got the itch and this cycle would start again.

It was toxic.

Still, K was a smooth talker and managed to talk me into a trip to Las Vegas one year.

“It’ll be fun, we won’t even gamble that much. We can do shows, go to clubs and walk the strip.” He knew I liked clubbing.

“Ok, but we should just go with a set amount of money to gamble with and leave our debit cards at home.”

“I don’t want to be stranded without our debit cards in case of an emergency,” he said, “we’ll be responsible” he assured me.

We spent $2500 on gambling during our 4 day trip to Las Vegas.

This time I was out of control too and got sucked into blackjack and slots.

I was so angry at both of us, it ruined our trip. I never wanted either of us to gamble again. Everything good about our trip was overshadowed by our ridiculous spending.

Later that year, his gambling got worst. He discovered online poker and dumped $20-100 a week into that and hid his trips to the casino where he was losing $200-500 per visit. Every time I would go through our statements, it was in fear of what I might find. I was tired of fighting and of feeling like I was getting nowhere. I kept trying to make up his losses by working harder but it was still money being lost. The fights were terrible. I’d scream at him and call him a loser. We were starting to fight in front of our daughter to the point where she would try to break up the fight or start crying.

One day K suggests that he can do the budgeting. “It stressed you out too much and I can see where the money is going and can help out.”

At this point he had swore he would never gamble again and had gone 6 months without an incident. I really wanted to believe he was under control. So I let him do the accounting for two months.

It wasn’t long before I realized he wasn’t doing it; I got an email saying we missed a credit card payment.

I think I knew what I would find, but I really didn’t want to find it or even believe it. But there it was, back before he offered to handle the budgeting was a $1500 debit on our checking account. This would be the most he has ever lost in a single day. He was taking his gambling up another level. And his whole reason for wanting to take up the budgeting was to hide his gambling again.

“What’s this charge for $1500?” I asked my husband as he walked in from a grocery run. I already knew the answer.

His composure just slumped in on itself and he lowered his head in shame. My head was spinning. I could barely hear him as went through his usual excuses…”I didn’t mean to spend that much,” I was playing so well, but it was just one hand that went south and ruined it for me,” “You don’t even know how much this makes me feel like shit,” “I’m such a loser.”

He was good at gaining sympathy. But this time it was so clear to me. I couldn’t believe that I didn’t see it before. Maybe I didn’t want to believe it.

K was sick. He had a gambling addiction and, through my own denial, I enabled him.

$1500 dollars. That was 1 months rent, that was a commission that I was lucky to get if a client closed after 2 weeks of work, that was 4 months of groceries or a year of gas. This time I wasn’t going to let it go. I closed my eyes and saw myself at 40 years old with a deadbeat husband who had spent $100K in gambling during their marriage. I envisioned myself as a 40 year old preparing for divorce.

I wasn’t going to hide the problem and pretend it was just between us. I wasn’t going to make up the money. I wasn’t going to make him promise to pay it back. (Which he never did).

So I called his mother.

And I told her everything, that this was the end of the road. That I couldn’t be married to a gambler and he had lost $15K during the course of our marriage so far. He needed help. He needed to go to Gamblers Anonymous (GA) and see a therapist.

I was angry for a long time. I made him sleep on the couch for two months. I cried randomly by myself. I wouldn’t talk to him or look at him. I couldn’t trust him.

His parents had an intervention and expressed their disappointment and concern. They didn’t want to see our family fall apart.

After that, he made a commitment to go to GA meetings. I took away his debit card and put him on a cash only system. He had to provide receipts for everything he bought. I made him change his number because the casinos and poker clubs would text him “buy in deals” to tempt him. I cancelled anything that reminded him of poker. And he agreed.

It’s been a year and he hasn’t gambled. Today he called me and told me he went to a GA meeting for support. He felt tempted because he had some spare cash from his birthday he felt he could spend. But instead he went to the meeting. I’m proud he’s able to still admit his weaknesses and work to correct them.

I feel lucky most days, so far he’s overcome this demon that haunted our lives for so many years. I can’t deny the role I played in enabling him either. I know it could have gotten worst and that there are some women who learn too late that they’re losing everything to gambling.

If you know someone afflicted with gambling addiction please don’t be afraid to confront them or intervene. The contact for the National Gambling Helpline is:

Call 1-800-522-4700

Chat ncpgambling.org/chat

Text 1-800-522-4700

Sending my thoughts to the men, women and families dealing with this mental illness and obsession.

Even though my husband has been gamble free for a year, I can’t forget that he’s capable of it. And I have to forgive him for the money he’s lost. For my sake and his, all I can do it support and love him through his gamble free journey.

Amazon’s “Subscribe And Save” Program Will Save You So Much Money

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Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

I’m a huge lover of Amazon. It’s probably the place I shop most. My bank account statements are literally lined with Amazon, Amazon, Amazon.

The Amazon Prime subscription is pretty awesome and I find myself relying on it more with every year that passes. I secretly hate trips to Target and if I know what I want to buy, why not just buy it online?

A bit of a caveat, not everything on Amazon is a worth buying. One of my most recent Amazon mistakes was buying food type items. No I haven’t tried Amazon Fresh, I think that’s a completely separate category, but I have tried buying in bulk Miss Vicky’s jalapeño chips from a 3rd party vender. I love them so much! I ended up buying like 40 in a box and tell me how they ended up with expiration dates that ended the following month? How am I supposed to eat 40 bags of jalapeño chips in a month? ??

I also made the mistake of buying 16 kinder eggs because my daughter loves them and I want to give them as a reward for doing homework. Tell me how their expiration date was for the following week? Why would I buy these from that seller again? I’m not going to give my daughter 16 Kinder Eggs in a week!

So you have to be careful with certain things because Amazon is still a place where people sell wholesale and sell leftover inventory when they can’t sell in their brick and mortar store. It’s just one caveat.

But I still opt for the Amazon “Subscribe and Save” purchases. These items are not going to expire as easily as food stuff so it makes sense for me to buy them in bulk or buy them on a regular schedule so I can get the discounts. When you do Amazon “Subscribe and Save” you can get either a 5% discount for subscribing to buy an item or you can get 15% off if you have five or more items subscribed for delivery that month.

For example, May I ordered five different household items so I was able to get the 15% discount that whole order. But in June, I had only three household items subscribed for delivery to so I was only able to get the 5% discount.

Any discount is better than no discount, but I usually try to arrange my purchases so that I can get 15% off my order every month. That means every month I’m getting five different items that I can subscribe to through Amazon. The nice thing is that you can move orders around so that you can meet your 15% discount with the five item minimum easier.

I would recommend going for items that are not going to expire easily, that you need on a regular basis and are easy to ship. Things like soap, diapers, baby wipes, shaving cream, lotion and shampoo are great examples.

So what am I ordering every month? On my subscription list are the following items:

Those are just some of the things that I like to buy from Amazon. Just know that they’re mostly household items that can fit in your closet for a few months and non-perishables. The subscribe featured items are also constantly being shipped to other people, so they’re less likely to be stale.

And of course this is all predicated on the fact that I have Amazon Prime, which I think I pay $13 a month to get free shipping on all Amazon Prime items. Totally worth it especially with the new Subscribe and Save feature. With a 5%-15% discount, these items are highly competitive with any other store pricing.

If you don’t have it already, definitely sign up for Amazon Prime, right now they’re offering a 30 day free trial for those just starting out! I would recommend giving it a try and mixing it with buying items through the Subscribe and Save program, it basically pays for itself! I hate making Target runs mainly because of how busy the store near me usually gets and how disorganized they are. Amazon is a deliver to your door type of service.

I used to worry that someone would steal my package but I honestly never had a bad experience with ordering through them. Their customer service centric policies are what make them an amazing business model. And they have no issues with refunding if you have a bad experience.

So would definitely recommend using Amazon as part of your grocery/household shopping arsenal. You can definitely work it so you’re saving on things you need and in bulk. At which point, the cost of Amazon Prime pretty much pays for itself.

Happy Shopping!

The Horror of Finding Mold In My Apartment

This is the worst thing that has happened to us in a while. I don’t know which is worse having bedbugs or having mold? Both are pretty intense to have in your apartment and are nightmares to deal with.

This is the second time we’ve had mold in our apartment. I’m not talking mildew from leaving your shower on too long. I’m talking about full on mold attaching itself to half our furniture in our master bedroom and some of our furniture in our second bedroom. I’m crazy for not moving the first time but who wants to move in the middle of summer when you’re broke and made no plans on moving? Looking for apartment is the biggest pain.

As far as I know it’s not toxic. It’s just a lot of mold. The kind of mold you would find on a piece bread.

The first time our apartment went through this, it was a disaster. We had been living in the apartment building for less than a year and I had noticed that the apartment was kind of getting damp and a sort of musty smell. None of our towels were dry, not even when we hung them out, and our home was feeling really hot and humid. I had noticed that there was a piece of wood on the floor in our bedroom that was damaged and getting darker. Still, it was summer, we figured it was hot and that’s why the apartment felt this way. We weren’t that sick, I was getting congestion and occasionally losing my voice but I wasn’t connecting the dots as to why. Then one day, my husband decided to look behind the furniture while he was cleaning and found a whole giant colony of mold.

It was disgusting. Upon taking a deeper look, it was under our bed, behind our vanity dresser and in our second bedroom where my then 4 year-old daughter slept. It was coming up between the floorboards, getting in our clothes and in the air. We realized we’d been living with it for months.

I immediately contacted our landlord and expressed our concern over the health hazards of living with mold. They were accommodating, we didn’t have to pay one months rent and they paid for our dry cleaning and laundry service. They seemed responsible and brought a professional company to remediate the mold issue. It took one month for us to be out of the apartment to correct the mold. They ripped up the floors, brought giant industrial dehumidifiers to clean the air for better air quality, re-patched the floors and scraped out all the mold.

In the meantime, we were three people living in a one bedroom. It was such a nightmare! We had to clean the apartment top to bottom to live in it, sleep on an air mattress and within a month move again. When we returned, our bathroom had been re-done and our floors re-patched with new planks. We were grateful. We felt that the company had done enough to ensure that the apartment would never get mold again. So we stayed.

And from 2017 to 2019, there weren’t any issues. At that point I had gotten renters insurance, just in case. I made sure we took short showers during the summer so not to add to the humidity and I ran our dehumidifier on high while we were at work. This worked for a bit. But this year we were more careless; with the new baby I didn’t want to use the dehumidifier and dry her out. Somehow, I feel like I could have prevented this.

But the mold issue goes beyond using our dehumidifier. Mold thrives in wetness and warmth. Without a source of water, there would be no issue. Considering that there’s significant mold in two rooms in the house, there’s a serious underlying moisture problem that was never addressed the first time.

One thing you need to know about our apartment is that it’s beautiful. It’s huge with over 1300 sqft, working fireplace, galley kitchen and foyer dining room. The ceilings were high so we were able to get a large entertainment center. For the rent it’s a really, really, really good deal. And when we moved here, what we were paying was already at the top of what we could spend so moving to a different apartment at this point is just not financially feasible.

Now with the second incident of mold, we have a six year old child and newborn infant. It seems unsafe for us to stay when we know that this mold is a reoccurring issue.

We could move to another apartment, but there just aren’t that many options. Everything reasonable or nearly comparable is $300-600 more rent than what we’re paying now. Plus a potential brokers fee. There’s a housing shortage where we are.

We’re considering possibly staying after they remediate and just hustle and buckle down so we can get a down payment on a house. The maintenance on the house would at least be in our control, but it’ll be at least six months before we have a good enough down payment.

Just goes to show how hard it is to be a homeowner, even with interest rates low, the costs are enormous: with 20% down payment, 2-5% closing costs and buffer money you’ll need to maintain your day to day expenses. It seems so out of reach.

Now I know how people who are living in Flint, Michigan feel, they can’t sell their homes because of their tainted water situation and most are not in a financial position to buy a new home so where do you go?

Maybe it would be better for us to stay in our moldy apartment. But then I wonder, what would happen if five years from now either of our children get sick with cancer? We would always hold it against ourselves that we didn’t put our health first.

So what to do? We’re caught in this sick sort of moldy limbo of needing a new place and not being able to afford a move. ?

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Tags: mold in apartment, mold around children, mold remediation apartment, recurring mold, health effects of mold, life with mold