La Canicula

This month, I have been focusing on some very unwelcome houseguests. In keeping with that theme, let me introduce you to one of those guests who is on her way out...La Canicula. She arrives every year in mid-July and leaves sometime in mid-August. La Canicula affects every one around her. The more havoc she can cause, the better!

Who (or what) is La Canicula? Wikipedia says that La Canicula is the equivalent to "the dog days of summer", which is the hottest time of the year. But, I would have to disagree. La Canicula is so much more! La Canicula is blamed for everything that happens in Mexico from mid-July to mid-August. Extremely hot weather, the lack of rain, bad crops and stomach problems are all her fault!

It is believed that if La Canicula enters during a dry spell or heatwave, the weather will remain the same until she is gone. Same thing with stomach problems. I found this out last year. Just as La Canicula entered, I got sick. I originally blamed it on some bad seafood that I had eaten. I was deathly ill for weeks! I went to the doctor's office on numerous occasions, took tons of tests and medicine, with no relief in sight. I lost about 12 pounds. I had to end my ESL course a few weeks early, because I was incapable of going to work.

During this whole ordeal, my father-in-law insisted that it was La Canicula and that I wouldn't feel any better until she left. And you know what...he was right! And from that day on, I have been a true believer in La Canicula!

So, if you got sick after July 14th, you now know that it was because of La Canicula. But rest assured that relief is just around the corner. La Canicula leaves on August 20th!

With Love,
Leslie Limón

Of Mice and Men (Part 3)

Our rodent saga has turned into a trilogy...

The rain season has been a little dry this year. So, the rats and mice have been almost non-existent. Ahh, but notice I said almost. Last weekend, the dry spell was broken, rain and rodent-wise. When I arrived home from work on Friday, I was greeted by my son Nick. Maybe it was the adrenaline still running through his body, because Nick had a wild-eyed expression on his face, while he told me of his most recent adventure. In this adventure, Nick encountered a mouse. He stealthily studied his prey before pouncing upon it and trapped the wild creature with his bare hands. (My son, The Rodent Hunter! I'm so proud.)

I, of course, immediately inquired as to what had become of the little furball. Nick, very nonchalantly responded that he had tossed the miniature beast to the lion, er, cat. Ashley then entered with the same enthusiasm, boasting of her big brother's heroics. She also added that the cat had refused to eat the tail and that it was still visible for all to see.

But there is more to this tale...

Bright and early, this Monday morning, I awoke with one goal in mind...laundry! When I turned on the washing machine, I noticed that the water wasn't filling the machine as fast as it should. Knowing that the filters were probably stopped up, my hubby removed the water pipes and inspected the filters. Upon inspection, Hubby noticed that one of the filters was full of a suspicious substance. Not giving this substance much thought, he proceeded to clean the filters. Listo! (Ready.)

Now I was free to continue with the task at hand. I filled the washer with dirty clothes, added the soap and poured the fabric softener into the handy dispenser. While the washing machine did it's thing, I did mine and cleaned my house. Less than an hour had passed and it was time to take the newly laundered clothes outside to hang on the clothesline. But what is that small, gray thing at the bottom of the washer? My first thought was that it was a piece of foam from Hubby's shop. I was tempted to pick it up, but then decided that Hubby should take a look at it first. (One of my wisest decisions.) Hubby, also thinking that it was a piece of foam, picked up the gray, unidentified object, only to find out that it wasn't foam. IT WAS A MOUSE! It had somehow found it's way into the washing machine. And to top it off, I had washed it with our clothes!

Nothing grosses my Hubby out, but he says that this was the most disgusting thing he had ever encountered! I cleaned the washing machine inside and out, with boiling water, bleach and whatever cleaning products I could find. I re-washed the clothes at least twice, just to give me some peace of mind that no mouse fragments would be found. I agree with Hubby, this was our worst experience with rodents!

And I promise that this is the last sequel. (For now!)

With Love,
Leslie Limón

Of Mice and Men (Part 2)

Every year, it's the same story. After the first heavy rains of the season, the rats and mice that live either in the empty field behind our home or in the sewers, make their way into our home. Only they don't enter through the back patio. My hubby says that they make their way in through the sewer pipes in the bathroom and through the drain pipes in the kitchen. Makes sense to me, because there is faulty design with the plumbing throughout this house. Some of the PVC pipes were left uncovered, on purpose, to be able to unclog any clogged pipes. (I still don't understand why someone thought this was a good idea!)

The rodents usually enter our home late at night. When the house is quiet, you can actually hear the rodents scratching and squeaking their way through the pipes. At first, this noise would scare me, but now it just annoys me.

Catching the little critters has gotten easier. In this case, neither of the cats have been successful. The mice hide in the tiniest, hardest to reach places. The first year, my husband would move everything in sight, and throw his heavy work boots at them. I would be standing on the other side of the room, armed with my broom, just waiting to take a swing at the vermin. Most of the time I wasn't of much help. I was so scared, that as soon as I saw the little fur ball, I would toss my broom on the floor and hide in the kids' room.

You should see us now. If we see a mouse, we no longer make a big deal out of it. Okay, I still scream at the sight of them, but I know that his days are numbered. Now all my hubby does, is lay out a couple of the sticky mousetraps. He places a peanut on each trap as bait. (And it works!) In a couple of hours, the unwelcome house guest has been caught and disposed of properly. (My hubby, my hero!)

Rats aren't so easy and very scary! Two years in a row, Hope has been surprised by a rat swimming in our toilet bowl. Yes, swimming! Rats have no shame! The first year, my hubby repeatedly flushed the rat down the toilet. Have you ever tried to flush a rat down a toilet? It's not an easy task! The second year, my hubby decided to bludgeon the rat with the plunger first, then he threw it away in our garbage can outside.
Mousetrap, mouse, bait (chocolate)Image via Wikipedia

But catching a rat isn't always that easy. I don't want the rat in my house, but I refuse to help trap the ugly, little monster. Sticky mouse traps don't work with rats. They can wiggle themselves free in seconds. So, don't waste your money. Our preferred mousetrap is one very much like the contraption in the picture. For bait, we place a small piece of chorizo on the hook. The rats are captured in no time and sentenced to death.

This has been our routine for 5 years. I don't think I will ever get accustomed to it!

With Love,
Leslie Limón

Of Mice and Men (Part 1)

My house sits in front of a large, empty lot. All sorts of trees, wild bushes and weeds can be found there. Lurking amidst those tall weeds are rats and mice just waiting to enter my house!

I encountered these unwelcome house guests shortly after moving into our rental home. Every morning, when I would take the trash out to our back patio, I would be greeted by a rat or mouse that had been foraging in our garbage can. I would scream, then my hubby and suegro would come racing in to "take care" of the vermin. (My heroes!)

These chance encounters weren't reserved for the morning. In the evening, I would again, take the trash out, and sure enough, the exact same thing would happen. Even when I would go outside to hang my laundry on the clothesline, I'd see a rat or a mouse scurry across the patio. And it was never the same rodent. My hubby and father-in-law made sure of that!

I never got used to seeing those furry creatures. It got so bad, that I refused to take out the trash. My hubby would have to escort me every time I went to hang the laundry. There wasn't much we could do, because we had 3 little kids to think about. So no poison or mousetraps. We tried the "sticky" kind, but they don't work with rats. Rats are strong little furballs. Finally, we gave in to the situation and got our first cat, Tiger.

Having a cat may not be good for our asthma. But the fact that our "problem" was quickly disappearing outweighed any possible health issues. Even to this day, there has never been a rat or mouse in my back patio.

But the rodent saga doesn't end there. With the rain season, comes more rats and mice. Only this time, they're inside the house! (Coming soon to a theater near you!)

Tune in next week to see how this saga unfolds...

With Love,
Leslie Limón