If you can't handle funny/gross rodent stories, stop reading now.
Just after New Year's, we had some overnight company and baked some delicious sweet thing or other for breakfast the next day. For some reason, the kitchen and then the whole house smelled HORRIBLE!!! It smelled like ripe cow dung, but where on earth would we have gotten that? None of us had even viewed a live cow in at least months. Has the cat made a mess somewhere? Is the baby really, really sick?
Over the next few weeks, it became clear that it was the stove and we finally identified it as baked rat s**t. Every time we heated up the stove. The food never tasted funny or looked funny, but still. Hubby got in there with the vacuum and wet paper towels and cleaned exceptionally well under all of the burners where we did find some droppings. How on earth did they get under the burners and not die? Where was the cat while they did that? We'd bake another pizza, and the smell would be less...but not gone. He would clean it again...and there was always something to clean. We'd leave the cat in all day with the bottom drawer of the stove open and she was always interested in crawling under there.
Finally, we set a glue trap - under the main, big burner. And caught 2 mice. It's very weird to glace down through the burner and see tiny eyes looking at you. We set another glue trap the next day. And got another. We now keep a glue trap under that burner and only remove it when we're cooking.
We could not figure out how to remove the lid of our stove to investigate and clean better, so we waited for my folks to come to town. For some reason, neither of us was scared to jerk the 22 year old stove away from the wall as long as my dad was here. On our own, not so much...
When the men started to take the stove apart, I was desperate for a nap AND had just fed the baby, so I plunked him in the extremely willing arms of his Nannie, and bolted upstairs for a nap. Glorious, delicious nap amongst a pile of clean laundry.
When I came back down over an hour later, I asked how the the mouse-capade had gone. My mom didn't look up from her diaper changing and directed me to the men in the living room. The stove looked like it had never been moved or tinkered with. Both men were looking at the floor and did not look up when I asked how it went. Not good. Finally my husband said it was "irreparable". I found it very unlikely that they broke the stove in their search, and it had been working fine before. What do you mean....
Apparently stoves are built with a very large, thick layer of insulation (think atic insulation) around the body of the oven. Of course this makes sense, but I just had never thought about it. On top of the insulation is a metal shelf that catches crispies and above that is the top of the stove that holds the burners.
We had a family of mice decide that the insulation would make a great home. Yes, I said family. From my family's description, it looked like a little mousy warren. Basically through all the insulation. When we heat up the stove, the mice scedattle while their home get's REALLY warm. Seeing how this has been the coldest winter, no lie, in 30 years, are we really surprised that we have a mouse problem? So the insulation is infused with mousy pee and poop, though the mice may be gone now. They put the stove back together and slid it back in to place. Where it now stinks a bit even when we're not heating the oven. We've been burning a cranberry candle a lot.
So we need a new stove. And with our new little baby, we have exactly zero extra cash these days. And did I mention that my 12 year old Lincoln has started hesitating while going up hills? It feels like a transmission thing, but Hubby thinks it just needs a tuneup. I'll take a tuneup! I really hope he's right. But we have not reduced our federal tax withholding and have not done our taxes yet with our new, cute deduction, so maybe that's where the money will come from.
Here's a sweet picture of our newest deduction:
Wow! I'm really good at making a short story long!