The Lighter Side of Owning a Ferrari – Enemy at the Gate  by john babos


When my wife Crystal and I had our dream house built in the country, I planned for the shortcomings that rural life can bring such as dirt roads, sporadic phone service, no cable, and even worse, no pizza delivery.  However, my most trying challenge so far has been battling the dreaded “Peromyscus Maniculatus” a.k.a. the Deer Mouse.  As the weather turned colder the little rat and it’s cousins would move in and proceed to violate everything. Eventually they migrated into the better neighborhoods of my house, mostly the Corvette and the Ferrari. (For reasons still unknown they avoid my Jeeps and my next door neighbor’s 1967 Ford Galaxy).  The little varmints chewed on plastic inserts and vacuum lines not to mention leaving little gifts and stains on the Ferrari’s leather dash.

Since I don’t like the thought of killing the little rodents, (it would end this story), my battle strategy against the mice was somewhat limited, but what the heck, I’m a college grad and most mice probably don’t make it past the eighth grade. I thought I could outsmart the little rats.  My first attack was with moth balls.  I placed moth balls under and in the cars.  In a sense it was extremely successful, all the moths disappeared, but when I arrived at work  people would ask me how long my clothes had been in storage due to the unmistakable mothball smell.  The mice weren’t deterred at all.

  Round two, chlorine bleach. I put the bleach into small containers under the cars thinking that surely would discourage any visits to Maranello’s pride and joy.  The best I can tell, the mice weren’t bothered and the fumes left my garage smelling like a run down swimming pool I once visited in Bangkok Thailand.   (That’s a different story in itself  and told to guys with lots of beer).

Round three, electronic transmitters.  According to the advertisement , these state of the art devices emit a high frequency pitch that drive rodents crazy.  $79.95 later the mice are still laughing, and my garage looks like a miniature disco with small flashing lights every time the emitter goes off.

Round four, cayenne pepper.  I saw this tactic while perusing magazines at the King Sooper’s library.  “Hey, what a deal,” I said to myself, “ I’m conveniently here at the super market, I’ll buy the pepper after I put the magazine back in the stand.”  Well, I’m still sneezing and the mice now have seasoning for the plastic inserts and vacuum lines.

Round five, Irish Spring Soap.  Someone told me the odor associated with Irish Spring original scent (the green stuff), really discourages rodents.  I placed slices of soap under the cars and that was nothing short of ridiculous.  The soap disappeared only to be found in the trunk of the Ferrari.

Round six, cat hair.  What a great idea I thought.  The cat scent would surely chase the mice away. I asked a cat owner to brush their cat and I placed the hair in small bags under the cars.  And progress; for months there was no sign of any mice.  But, the cat hair mysteriously disappeared one day and the mice reappeared just as quickly.  I would find the cat hair weeks later in an elaborate nest under my workbench.  New cat hair didn’t work either, the mice had gotten smarter. So, maybe they finished eighth grade.

As the escalation continued, I trapped three wild feral cats.  These cats are really tough and have the looks even their mother wouldn’t love.  Years of surviving in the wildness have left them scarred and maimed, covered with stitches and one with an eye patch.  Unlike with Sylvester, Tweedy Bird would have gotten about as far as “ I thought I saw a pudd…,” and chomp.   This plan seems to be working so far.  However, there appears to be a down side.  The cats have taken over.  They demand food, sleep wherever they like and use the cars as scratching posts.  Any attempt at discipline leaves me bleeding or locking myself in a room.

In the event the cats don’t work out and the wildlife department has to tranquilize them for release into an unpopulated area of the country,  I’m planning my next course of action.  I decided to go back to basics and study their behavior.  In Mammals of Colorado, University Press of Colorado, 1994, the Peromyscus Maniculatus , the Deer Mouse is reported to be the most common mammal of North America and has been the subject of extensive research (they must be in other cars).  I learned that the creature lives in every ecosystem except marshy wetlands.   Now, all I have to do is convince Crystal, my lovely wife, to flood the garage and park the cars in two feet of water.