… for they shall not see me attempting to blow them up.
Hi! How are you today? I’m just fine. What’s that? Oh, it’s been a pretty standard day, really. I got up, took a shower, went to soccer, made plans with a friend, came home, checked my email, had some lunch, spent some time organizing my basement, and went outside and set my lawn on fire.
Oh, like you’ve NEVER DONE THAT.
What? You… haven’t? Oh.
Hey! Look over there! Something SHINY!
[Oh, now would probably be a good time to thank y’all for weighing in on the bed issue. Thanks! King wins by a landslide, unless I give greater weight to Otto’s comment, which really I would, except that he voted for a TWIN. Therefore his opinion is discounted on account of his being very cute and all, but crazy.]
I have a little problem. It’s sort of embarrassing, you know, so I haven’t wanted to talk about it. I always thought I wasn’t the sort of person who could find myself facing this kind of issue. I’ve always been really careful. But here I am, and I’m trying not to be ashamed.
I have moles.
There, I said it! Go ahead, laugh! I bet YOUR lawn is beautiful and pristine, and not dotted with mounds of fresh earth every five feet. And if you HAD noticed a few mounds of dirt, say, a month ago, you probably would’ve known what they were RIGHT AWAY and not just gone “huh” and continued on with your life until the mounds of dirt were suddenly everywhere, because “huh” turns out to be the international password for COMMENCE HAVING WILD PROCREATIVE MOLE SEX HERE IN MY YARD. In my professional estimation (yes, I am a professional rodent tallier, didn’t you know?), my humble acre is now home to approximately eighty billion moles. There may be some rounding error, but that’s pretty close.
So I consulted with Otto (“Go to Home Despot and ask them what to buy to kill them,” “Wait, I have a better idea! You come up here and take care of it for me!” “Ummmm…” “Wow, the magic’s gone. You won’t even come up here to take care of my moles. Bastard.”) and headed off to The Big Orange Store in search of a little box labelled “Mole Death.”
(There is no such box. In case you were wondering.)
The kids were with me, so it was a beautiful opportunity to talk about the Circle of Life.
[Chickadee: But why do you have to KILL them?
Monkey: Poor molies!
Me: They’re killing the lawn. It’s okay, there’s a million of them.
Chickadee: Why can’t you just ask them to go somewhere else?
Me: Um, I tried that already. They declined.
Monkey: Poor molies!
Me: Um, they also eat… bikes. And scooters. And sometimes swingsets.
Chickadee: KILL THE MOLES!
Me: … and little boys.
Monkey: KILL THE POOR MOLIES!]
I narrowed it down to two products, neither of which had any sort of price labelling. One looked like a box of gummy worms, and claimed to be advanced rodent bait capable of killing off an entire colony. The other was a box of firecracker-looking smoke bomb things.
After wandering the store with both items for about three hours, I found an employee.
Me: Hi, I’m trying to decide which of these to buy. Can you help me?
Him: Let me see… oh. Heh. No, I really can’t. I have no idea.
Me: Uhhhhh okay. Can you find someone who can help me?
Him: Maybe. Let’s go ask over here.
*we walk halfway across the store to another guy*
Him: Hey, do you know anything about these things?
Second Guy: Nope. No idea.
Me: So much for that whole “all of our employees know about our products” thing, huh?
Me: Okay, well, could you at least scan the boxes so I know how much they cost?
Him: Sure! That’s easy!
He then spent 15 minutes trying to figure out how to get his scanner to work.
Final analysis? The gummy worms cost three times what the smoke bombs cost. Smoke bombs it is!
The smoke bombs sat on my kitchen counter for a while, because I wasn’t looking forward to using them, and I CERTAINLY didn’t want to use them while the kids were around. But today was the day. I headed outside with my smoke bombs, a shovel, and some matches, directions clamped firmly in my hands.
Rodent Smoke Bomb
An effective, quick and reliable control product for gophers, moles, woodchucks, rats, skunks, and ground squirrels. The smoke will penetrate deeply into tunnels to do the job.
I cannot decide what I find most disturbing about this. The fact that it says “to do the job” rather than “kill, maim and destroy,” or the idea that there are squirrels that live in tunnels. Squirrels are creepy enough in the trees, thanks.
DIRECTIONS FOR USE: It is a violation of Federal Law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling.
Really? Because I was totally going to use them to create hazy graveyard ambience at my next Halloween party, but now that I know it’s a federal crime, I guess I won’t. Unless some ground squirrels show up.
Insert cartridges into burrow, fuse end first, immediately after fuse is lit.
Fuse end first? What if it really IS a firecracker and it comes barrelling out of the hole and it shoots my eye out? Also, I was really hoping to dance around the yard with it for a while before stuffing it into the hole, and feel somewhat sad, now.
Do not hold burning cartridges in your hand.
Ever? How do I light it and put it in the hole if I don’t hold it…?
Cover hole with a flat rock and step to the side of hole. DO NOT STAND BEHIND THE HOLE.
I am fresh out of flat rocks. Crap. However, my confusion over that was quickly forgotten as I realized that I CLEARLY do not understand the anatomy of a hole in the ground. WHICH WAY IS THE SIDE? WHERE IS BEHIND? I am completely unconvinced that I know where to stand. Silly me, I thought a hole in the ground did not have sides and a front and a back. I don’t want to stand behind it (in violation of federal law!) but I. don’t. know. which. is. behind.
Do not use cartridges where vegetation is dry and likely to catch fire.
Yeah… um… see, when I asked the moles to leave and they said no, I asked them to please stick to the wettest parts of the yard, at least, and they said no to that, too. Moles can be such assholes.
DIRECTIONS: USE WITH EXTREME CAUTION
Wait. Weren’t those just the directions? That I just read?? Or I am supposed to use the foregoing directions with extreme caution…?
1. Read this instruction sheet and understand the specific directions for the type of animal you intend to control.
Good advice. I’d hate to go after the moles and end up being responsible for the death of a cheetah somewhere.
2. Carefully pull fuse out from under the rubber band. Push fuse all the way back into the cartridge.
But… then… what do I light…?
3. Have a board, garbage can cover, or large flat rock handy for covering the hole. It is recommended that safety glasses, gloves, and a long sleeve shirt be worn.
Garbage can covers! Brilliant. Solves the shortage of flat rocks, at least. Let’s see. I’m wearing… glasses. And, um, a shirt. That’ll work.
4. Test the hole to make sure it is wide enough and deep enough for the cartridge.
4a. Even if the hole is wide enough and deep enough, chances are excellent that you’ll manage to insert it at a funny angle while it’s sparking and smoking and you’re flipping out thinking you’re about to burn off a couple of fingers. Should this happen, whack the cartridge with a shovel. It will make you feel better.
5. Light the fuse and immediately insert cartridge fuse end first into burrow and cover the hole to trap the smoke. Stand to the side of the hole. Never stand behind the ignited cartridge.
God, here we go with THIS again. WHICH WAY IS BEHIND when we’re talking about a HOLE IN THE GROUND? Will this be easier to ascertain with a compass?
Be certain your face is not near the ignited cartridge.
5a. If you put your face near the ignited cartridge, you’re too stupid to use this product.
The minimum fuse burn time is 5 seconds.
5b. Just kidding! If you push the fuse back up inside like we told you to? The minimum fuse burn time is 1 second! Hahaha!
Try to avoid breathing cartridge smoke.
5c. See 5a. Moron.
6. The effectiveness of this product will be limited under conditions of dry or porous soil, which permit the escape of toxic gases from treated burrows.
Well then, let me just go right ahead and order up different soil conditions than what ATTRACTED THE MOLES IN THE FIRST PLACE so that your product will work better.
The booklet then has separate sections on treating each kind of vermin. In the section on moles, it says to treat main runways, which can be located by looking for “a series of fresh conical mounds of dirt.” Right. My ENTIRE LAWN is a series of fresh conical mounds of dirt. Apparently my DRIVEWAY is the main runway.
Eventually it was time to actually light the things. So I did. They scared the crap out of me and sputtered and smoked and I held each garbage can lid down with my trusty shovel while thick, yellow smoke bloomed from underneath the edges of the lids. I’m not convinced it smoked any further than the edge of each hole.
Except for that one where the grass caught on fire, a little bit. Because I foolishly felt the need to beat the flaming grass with my shovel before putting the lid down over the top, THAT one gave off a ton of smoke that was then carried on the breeze, up and away. I fully expected squirrel carcasses to start raining from the trees. Sadly, all that happened was I saw one of my neighbors peeking at me like I was doing something insane in my front yard.
Which, I guess, I was.