We first met Carlene in April, when the pandemic pushed her to become her own hairdresser. Now, still in quarantine, Carlene becomes a calculating huntress. She tells her story to Michael Hardy, her grandson.

I’ve been living in my house for 31 years, and I never had a mouse in the house. Well, a few days after Thanksgiving I found a candy wrapper on the floor beneath my kitchen compactor. It was one of those Kind bars, with nuts in them. I picked the wrapper up and saw the end of it had been chewed off. Half the bar was gone! I must have a little mouse, I thought.

I threw the rest of the Kind bar into a trash bag and left it out in the utility room overnight. The next morning there was a hole in the bag. When I picked it up, coffee grounds spilled out all over the floor. Then I went into the kitchen and saw the same Kind wrapper, but the rest of the bar was gone. The mouse must have dug that bar out of the trash, dragged it over to the compactor, and eaten it. This mouse was smart.

So now I started looking for where he got in, and I noticed a little round opening under the compactor. I stuffed the opening up with a big wad of foil and thought that would be it.

The next morning, I noticed a few of my Hershey’s Kisses were missing from a serving bowl I had in my living room. This was one candy-loving mouse. So I decided to test him: that night I left exactly nine Kisses in the bowl. I even wrote down the number so I wouldn’t forget. In the morning, there were seven. 

Another night, I left a single unshelled pecan on a footstool, and he carried that off as well. I thought, I need to get this little booger. I don’t like mice. They’re dirty. They’re nasty. They bring in disease. You don’t know where they’ve been. I didn’t like the idea of him running around my house at night while I was sleeping.

I couldn’t call an exterminator because they would have had to come in the house, and I’m in quarantine. Anyway, I’m pretty self-sufficient. I will try things. If I see that I can’t do them, I’ll ask for help from my family, but I decided I was going to get this little guy by myself. I scoured the house and just could not find the spot he was coming in. The only place I could think of was an opening behind the little refrigerator in my wet bar, and I sealed that up with duct tape as best I could. But he kept coming. 

So now I got to thinking that I needed some traps. I ordered two little plastic ones online, and when they arrived I baited them with Jif Extra Crunchy peanut butter and set them out in the living room, which seemed to be the mouse’s favorite place. Well, that mouse bumped them around and ate the peanut butter, but the trap didn’t spring.

Those traps weren’t worth two cents, so I pulled out the big guns. There were these two large black traps out in the greenhouse, which I bought about five years ago from Ace Hardware. They were pretty dirty, which is why I didn’t want to use them at first, but I cleaned them off, put about half a tablespoon of peanut butter in them, and set them out.

The next morning I woke up, came into the living room, and sure enough I got the mouse. Hopefully he’s in mouse heaven.

I’ve kept the traps out ever since; they’re out right now. I thought maybe his family would come to look for him, but I guess he’s a loner. It remains a mystery how he got in. But I’m not leaving any more candy out—it will all be under glass or in tins. And I sleep better at night knowing he isn’t running around.

Read more from our Notes on a Pandemic series:

An Eighth Grader Battles Existential Gloom, Watches Netflix

A Prepper Community Near Terlingua Is Ready for Just About Anything

He Hoped Sheltering in Place Would Save His Marriage. Instead, It Led to Divorce.

I Live in the Middle of Nowhere. I Still Got COVID.