Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Blind Mice

This post is about blinds and rats, not blind mice but it was the closest I could come for a title.

"You Dirty Rats"

We live about 120 feet from the ocean and that means we are in the perfect place for the Norway Rats or, "Rattus Norvegicus" that live in the rocks on the beach to come looking for a handout. We seldom see these guests as they are nocturnal and I am not. Like Mexican drug gangs, they prefer the dark to work their mischief.

They seem to hit my workshop before the house so I thought that this year I would attempt to stop them there, a first line of defense. I first noticed their presence when they chewed through a plastic box and got into my bird seed. That was when I pulled out the heavy artillery, those giant sized mouse traps that will easily break a finger if it goes off while you are setting it. I smeared peanut butter which they prefer to cheese (despite the Tom and Jerry cartoons we remember) on two of them and placed them against the walls of the workshop.

Sure enough, the next morning I found one of the traps held a very dead, foot long (if you count the tail) rat with more than a finger broken, but I will spare the details. I put him in a plastic bag and into the garbage can and re-set the trap. The same thing happened for the next four mornings, four more dead bodies in the garbage, and then it stopped. I can't believe there were only five of them that ventured up the path so I will leave the traps in place. The rest are probably gathered on the beach now wondering where Tom, Jerry, Ted and Alice got to.

And Now The Blinds

When we bought the house in 1989 we had blinds installed on all the windows. We splurged for the designer blinds because we were taking out a mortgage anyway and thought, "what the heck". As I recall they cost about $100 per window at the time. Well, they lasted 24 years but are now starting to fail. Norma raised the bedroom blind the other day and some of the strings broke. 24 years was a pretty good life for them so I started looking for replacements. Designer blinds are now two or three hundred dollars each so I was having nothing of that. After a few phone calls and Googling I found custom sized DIY aluminum blinds at Home Depot for $55. Now that is more like it!

I carefully measured and drove into town. The blinds come oversized and they use a trimmer to cut them to length. A simple job and I was back home in less than an hour.

The old blinds came down easily but the mount for the new ones is different. It consists of three metal brackets that screw to the top inside of the window frames. They come complete with Phillips screws and while I hate those things, I did not have an equivalent Robertson replacement on hand and did not feel like driving back into town for screws so I got my screw gun out and fitted a #2 Phillips driver to it and started. The process involves balancing a screw on the driver, holding the bracket in place with one hand while operating the driver with the other. Sounds simple, and would be with a Robertson screw but the Phillips head screw wobbled and fell off the driver several times. I ended up with unintentional holes in my hand and  in the wall before I finished.

Well, the job is done and Norma is happy, having mentioned only once that we should have at least "looked" at the $250 designer blinds. After 49 years, she is beginning to know me.


  1. I can relate to your experience with those Phillips screws. I HATE those things! I keep a supply of Robertsons in the workbench for that very reason. There's always a job from the 'to-do' list that needs such an animal.

    It is nice to know though, that Canadians can be recognised for another great idea!

  2. So that's what they call those screws. Had to google that to find out. Other than RV's I don't see many of those.

    1. Only in Canada Bill. They fit on the square driver like a socket on a wrench and do not fall off. They are impossible to strip as well, the shaft of the screw will break before the head strips.

    2. Quit publicizing them. Sooner or later everyone will want them. I'll trade you my local bear if you want. Sylvia just told me that our compost bin was wrecked last night. On second thought, you can keep the rats.

  3. Like you, I detest those Phillips screws. I also have a nice supply of Robertson head screws in my arsenal.

  4. Must be some sort of Phillips epidemic. Seems someone else on the Left Coast was having issues with Phillips screws.

  5. what is it with Norma and you first you won't feed the deer now those poor little rodents!!!!! Cheers les

  6. Being a Dutchman, I really should defend the phillips brand, but I must agree that it is nothing compared to the robertson. If you must use a phillips screw driver I recommend a magnetic one.

    Cheers, Peter.

  7. According to Wiki, the Robertson screw would have probably surpassed the Phillips screw. But because of the fiasco Mr. Robertson went through with an England screw maker causing him to declare bankruptcy, he refused to license them to anyone else. Henry Ford found them easier to use in the assembly line, but only had limited quantities of these screws.