A couple of springs past, after my early morning walk, I stood at the front living room window admiring the beautiful spring day when I heard faint high-pitched noises coming from the heat duct at my feet. I couldn’t imagine what the noise was and briefly questioned whether it was my shoes, but my shoes didn’t squeak. I stood still, barely breathing, straining to identify the sounds.
On my hands and knees, with my ears near the duct, I heard the squealing and whimpering of several tiny animals greeting their mother and nosing around looking for a nipple. It could only be mice.
We had once made the mistake of leaving cat food in the basement and found ourselves hosting a small colony of mice who chose an antique pin ball machine for their home. But we hadn’t seen any sign of mice for years.
When Dave got up a few minutes later, I had him listen to the sounds. On his hands and knees, he was also able to hear the tiny squealing creatures. We agreed, mice were nesting in the heat ducts, but we inspected the ducts downstairs and couldn’t find the place they had entered. I soon realized that I could also hear the nesting creatures when I stood next to the bathroom duct.
Thanks to Google I found the sounds of a full nest of baby mice, confirming we had mice in our heat ducts, and proving you really can find anything on Google.
Then the sound disappeared for a while; we couldn’t find a trace of it anyplace in the house. After a couple of weeks, it was easy to forget about the issue until the noise returned.
After a walk, I went to the front window to pull the drapes and there, at my feet, once again coming from the duct, was the sound of another litter of mice. A mouse can breed up to ten times a year. Babies begin breeding within weeks of birth and can have up to fourteen babies in one litter. There was a rodent disaster about to break loose.
My mind ran wild with visions of a quiet army of mice, breeding, defecating, dying, while warm air from the furnace wafted over their filth and gently deposited the plague in every single corner of the house, in every breath we took. I began researching pest control services.
Before the week was up I went in for a routine visit with my doctor. As I sat in the quiet exam room, waiting for the doctor and flipping through a magazine, I heard it again. A faint mewling sound coming from under the chair I was sitting on.
“Wow!” I thought, “That sounds exactly like the mice in our ducts!” Then, in a moment that embarrasses me even today, I realized the pitiful sound of a dozen tiny, nursing, mammals was coming from the soles of my shoes which were quietly planted on the floor beneath me. I removed one shoe and saw thousands of tiny air bubbles and small drops of moisture seeping from the soles.
Moisture and air. That was it. I’d worn my walking shoes that morning. The pavement was wet from an early shower. I’m convinced Google used the sound of damp walking shoes to demonstrate the sound of a litter of mice!
Each time I heard the noise, I had been standing over the ducts in the quiet early morning after my walk. I had been standing next to Dave every time I asked him listen to the sound from the ducts.
The next time you think you’ve done something dumb, or made an ignorant assumption, remember this true tale. You’ll feel better about yourself.