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 I was standing at the door of a vacation cabin, taking the heat.

“Mike, your worker should have seen those mouse droppings on my bed and called me!” my customer said, his face red with anger. “My wife took one look at that poop and yelled, ‘We’re heading back home now, Bob!’ I practically had to get down on my hands and knees and beg her to stay.”

My crew had sealed the home against rodents three months ago; they came back monthly to check for new activity. Then the owners walked in and the you-know-what hit the fan. Had my techs missed that mouse poop? They might have, because vacation cabins are dark and even a skilled tech with a flashlight can miss a few droppings.

On the other hand, they might not have because every evening platoons of mice probe mountain cabins for entry holes. Even if they can’t find one, they’ll put their fuzzy noses to the grindstone and chew through seemingly impenetrable walls—those teeth are like drill bits. Weeks later a home can explode with mice.

I didn’t bother trying to explain all that to my customer. Rodent control isn’t a murder investigation where timelines and theories are important. Rodent control is the art of dealing with the reality in front of your eyes. And the reality was that determined mice—some way, somehow—had slipped through our first line of defense. But they don’t beat us a second time.

I apologized to my customer and scheduled my crew to get the critters out ASAP. He had our Home Defenders guarantee and that’s all that mattered.

Keeping the wife happy was the reality in front of my eyes.

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