Yesterday, I called Orchard Supply Hardware to ask if they had live traps for mice.
The person who answered the phone said she thought they did. She tried to get someone else's attention, then transferred my call. After maybe 10 rings, she picked up again. I asked again. She said, oh, didn't someone help you? I said no. She put me on hold. After a few minutes of hold music, she picked up again. I asked again. She said just a minute and put the phone down (I could hear people talking nearby). About two minutes later, someone hung up the receiver.
I called back, and asked to speak to a manager. The manager told me that they had live mousetraps. I asked a couple of times in a couple of different ways, just to be sure; he said they had 'em. So after work I stopped by on my way home.
On the shelves, they had live traps for squirrels (maybe two feet long and six inches across the square cross-section, constructed out of thin metal rods spaced an inch or two apart) and live traps for larger animals (maybe three feet long and a foot across, made out of larger-spaced rods), but no live traps for mice. Lots of ways to kill mice, but no live traps. (I found myself a little perturbed by the number of different kinds of traps that make sure you don't have to actually see the mouse after you've killed or maimed it.) I found an employee to ask if there were more traps somewhere, but he said no, just what was on that shelf. I would have made a bigger fuss, but (a) I hadn't had dinner yet so I was low-blood-sugar crashing, and (b) Lola was at my place but was going to be leaving soon, so if I wanted to see her I had to get home.
(I confess that I stopped briefly for another errand because it was almost literally on the path between OSH and home, but it turned out that Office Max didn't have any Tungsten T3s in stock.)
Anyway, today I called several hardware stores; one told me they didn't carry such things, another said, "Yeah, sure, we got those" but on further questioning revealed that what they had was glue traps (like flypaper for mice). I thought about ordering online, but didn't want to have to wait up to a week for the traps to arrive, and it seemed silly to spend a lot on postage for a $3 item.
Eventually I found a store that carried what I wanted: Ace Hardware, in Los Altos, near Foothill and Springer. The guy who answered the phone knew immediately what I was talking about, and knew he had them in stock. I drove over there, and bought the traps (a pair of Victor M007s, as recommended by Nao; little plastic traps just big enough to hold one mouse each); while I was there, I picked up a few other items, like some power strips, that OSH never seems to have the right kind of. The Ace people were friendly and helpful; highly recommended.
Came home, set the traps. A couple hours later (I worked at home today), a little after it got dark out, I heard a little thump from downstairs; a little later I went down to check, and the trap baited with peanut butter had been sprung. I called Kam to see if she wanted to join me in an expedition to a nature preserve where we could release the mouse (it's nice to have the help of a butch person when dealing with mice), but it gradually became clear to me that in fact there was no mouse in the trap. Alas. At least it didn't get the peanut butter.
So we'll see. The design of the trap surprises me a little; it seems like it would close as soon as the mouse sets foot in it, rather than after the mouse is all the way in. But Nao says they work, so I'll leave 'em out a while longer.
I suppose the fact that I'm going into such detail about a mouse indicates I have no substantive news to report. I do have a large number of items to post at some point (well over 500 last I checked; don't worry, I won't post 'em all at once), but that'll have to wait a little longer, as I have a lot of editing to do tonight.