Literally, oh, rats. This blog entry is not for the faint of heart. In fact, simply writing this blog is sending a vomitous sensation coursing through my veins. My skin is crawling, I am freaking out and I’m not being overly dramatic.
Why am I confessing this grotesque fact concerning the place I call home? Maybe, just maybe, I’m hoping that someone out there reading this blog will come to my rescue and tell me why I should not fear?
Let me preface my tale of woe by stating that Steve and I lived in two homes that were surrounded by greenbelts, nature trails, and wildlife galore. In our previous homes we encountered coral snakes, raccoons (one actually making itself at home via our doggie door), foxes, squirrels, deer, scorpions, hawks and finally, coyotes…but rats? Okay, in truth, we had to deal with a few of these nasty critters, but the “we” was actually Steve dealing with these putrid, pesky pests, not me.
Now I find myself living in suburban San Antonio, far from the urban areas where one might find rats, and far from the woodsy hill country nature inhabited areas of San Antonio, where one might not be alarmed to have a rat encounter.. Here I am, living in a community surrounded by well-kept homes. Homes built side-by-side, with yards and fences, and a slim chance of encountering wildlife. So, why me? Why pick my house? My attic? My attic with nothing, I mean nothing stuffed in the eaves or dark corners of the upper areas of my modest home. This invasion of these scary hairy beasts is disgusting, nasty, gruesome, but the gnawing mammals have arrived …so now I must deal with reality.
A week ago I came home with armloads of groceries, I dumped a box of dog biscuits in the garage, hauling the rest of my bags to the kitchen. Several day later, having forgotten the discarded dog biscuits, I was horrified to find two golf-ball size holes in the cardboard biscuit box. It was not a pretty site. I have a queasy, overwhelming heebie-jeebies fear of critters, like mice, much less rats! So here I am, alone in my garage with this invaded masticated box. This creepy box that was sure to have a rodent inside, munching away on Lucy’s Milkbone Dog Treats. What to do? First, I turned on the overhead light. Second, I began clapping loudly and in low manly tones, bellowed, “Get out, run for your lives!” I tipped that small dog bone box over with the tip of my big toe and ran back in the house. Peeking out of the slit in the back door I waited, and waited. When there was no sign of life, I tiptoed over to that box, and holding it with my finger and thumb shook the existing biscuits into a tupperware container. I had conquered Goliath, and felt great relief.
Several days later, Brooke pointed out that one of the children’s car seats had a rather large critter type hole chewed in the seat. The carseats had been removed from my car several weeks earlier and had been sitting in my garage.
Okay, alright, I knew this was time for a personal intervention. I had a problem, and I had great incentive to come clean. Michael Jackson, you and I have a great deal in common. When you sang, “Ben, the two of us need to look no more. We’ve both found what we are looking for…” Well, Michael, I hear you, I found exactly what I was looking for…Terminix!
I use Terminix on a regular basis. Roaches, spiders, nasty little nightly creatures, I don’t like ‘em. I am happy to spread carcinogen likely insecticides around the perimeter of my home. Michael, not the before mentioned Michael Jackson, is my exterminator. I love this young man. Michael comes to my home and sprays away on a regular basis. Michael is the first person I called to jump start my intervention. He comes immediately and set rat traps, yep RAT traps. Five large, horrid traps now exist throughout my garage.
The next morning I check the traps. Numbers 1-4…clean, #5 bingo, there Ben is! Large, furry and dead, I think.
Michael has told me to call him if I find a “body.” Thinking I am a woman of independence, brave, bold and so on…I put on Steve’s big leather gloves. I bend down, okay, I look down from a footstool at my “Ben” and my heart begins to palpitate, my breathing becomes shallow and my hands begin to shake. I quickly realize there is no way I am going to pick up that gigantic rat trap with a dead rat hanging by it’s little neck. I try three times, then I surrender, I call Michael and tell him he has a friend waiting for him.
Fast forward, Michael comes to my rescue, collects “Ben” and calls for reinforcement. Steve, (what is it about these names) comes out and assesses my attic and surroundings. I now am $4,000+ about to be rat free. It seems rats have burrowed their way through my attic insulation. My home is to be #1. hermetically sealed, #2. special extra carcinogen filled insulation blown into my attic with a lifetime guarantee, to insure no living creature will be allowed to enter, or survive in the upper regions of my home.
Have I been had? Don’t know, don’t care, I simply want the rodents gone…forever.
One last footnote on this gory subject. When Steve, the Terminator, was presenting my bill, he jotted his quote in a rather large informational full color packet describing rodents. I must ask why does an exterminator feel the need to add insult to injury by giving said victim a booklet with a life-size, personalized photo of “Ben” himself? Steve measures, calculates, fills in the blanks of his large pamphlet. He proudly hands me the now pricey packet, complete with Ben’s beady eyes staring straight into mine. “This is for you to keep,” Steve says with great pride. Great, now I have no doubt, no doubt whatsoever, exactly who is inhabiting the space above my head, no doubt what these not small size dudes look like. Their nasty naked paws burrowing their little paths through my attic insulation, making nests and doing whatever these whiskered, saw toothed varmints do. Am I supposed to feel some personal connection now that I can "keep" this up-close-and-personal leaflet of my current co-habitants? Thanks Steve the Terminator.
So long Ben and all the Ben-nettes. When Michael sings,
“Ben, you're always running here and there
You feel you're not wanted anywhere
If you ever look behind
And don't like what you find
There's something you should know
You've got a place to go”
…To someone else’s attic.
For what it’s worth,
P.S. I had to look really hard for this Bible verse. I took it way out of context, but hope you can find some humor in it, I know I did.
Isaiah 54:4 "Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.