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04 November 2005 - 00:01

cleaning bakeware

You know that brown rime that builds up on your metal bakeware? The burned-on stuff that you cannot scrape off, that acts like it has chemically bonded to the metal?

I know how to get it off. Or, more specifically, I know a compound that will take it off.

Mouse urine.


It was only a day or two after I last evicted the mouse from our house that the wife found the mouse's cache of sloe pits.

In the stove.

More specifically, in the pan drawer underneath the oven. You know, the drawer where you store all your metal baking wares. The cookie sheets, bread pans, muffin tins, pie tins. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

She also discovered the little mousie had been making frequent use of the space under the range, and above the oven. Presumably cleaning up any tidbits or spills that had fallen under the burners. Leaving lots of little brown recycled tidbits.

She was not happy. With my mouse.

I don't know how the little rodent came to be "my mouse", but all of a sudden her complaints were directed, not at "the" mouse, but at "your" mouse.

I mean, I was the one who trapped the little sucker. Four times. Who evicted it three times. Who found its entryway into our home, and boarded it up. Who hauled it, probably to its doom (I still regret that) in the park two blocks away. (And yes, once I figured out we were dealing with only one mouse, and that I had effectively blocked it from ever returning to the inside of our home, I actually did contemplate setting the live trap in the park to see if I could catch a blue-tailed mouse and bring it back to its home turf in our garden.)

I am that mouse's least favorite human being.

But it became "my" mouse.

Especially after she needed a cookie sheet (which is how she discovered the pit cache) and found one corner of it covered in little brown, recycled tidbits.

The mouse's toilet.

Which is where we discovered mouse urine is extremely effective at removing that brown oxidized layer off of metalware. That ancient cookie sheet now has one extremely bright, shiny little corner.

And so, aside from cleaning the range and oven drawer, cleaning up after "my" mouse became "my" responsibility.

I had no idea we had so many pie tins. Or bread and cake pans. Muffin tins. Pie crust caps and cookie sheets.

Not to mention a basting pot.

How she fit all that into that one drawer, I do not know. But it took three cycles of filling the sink and dish strainer to clean it all. Scrubbing each piece, inside and out, with hot water and soap. Lest any microscopic droplet of mouse urine and hantavirus should remain.

And after all that extra chore...

I still feel bad about kicking the mouse out in the park.

My mouse.

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