Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Let's just call this our welcoming committee.

It's taken me a few days to recruit the strength to write this post. I am in the midst of major heebie jeebification.

After we got home on Saturday, Jason went into the kitchen to get a snack for the kids and noticed a large amount of rodent droppings around our stove.

Hang on a second while I go breathe into a paper bag.

I'd left a (sealed) packet of oatmeal by our stovetop and *whatever* it was had gotten into the package. Judging by the poop left behind, there was a serious partay. "Ain't no party like an oatmeal party", as the song says. Anyway. As soon as Jason pointed out the evidence to me, I fled the room and left him to clean it up. I've mentioned my irrational fear of rodents before, and the thought of mice and or rats in our house fer real freaks me out. We've had rats in the attic a few times over the years, but I was always able to tell myself that they weren't able to get into the house. Ha! I say again, ha!

So, of course, we boiled the kitchen in its entirety, and called the agency that manages the house (we're renters, you see). As freaked as I was, I had to laugh listening to Jason's side of the conversation. He told the lady that we'd been away and found rodent poo in our kitchen when we came home. Then she must have asked something about what kind of rodent he thought it was cause he goes, "Well, I'm not sure. I'm not really an expert in, um, droppings." Hee hee. Jason is many things, but he is not an expert in scat.

She told us that we needed to put a trap out--that if it was just one "animal" that didn't justify sending an exterminator. Huh? In my mind, one animal justifies putting on a haz mat suit and moving to a hotel. Perhaps I overreact.

But you see, I am a student of popular culture. And here is a short summary of what popular culture has taught me about rats and mice.
  • Mice will chew your hair and take it back to cushion their nests. (Little House in the Big Woods.)
  • Rats will perch on the edge of your baby's crib and look down at her menacingly. Thinking mean, devilish thoughts. They have green, glowing eyes too. And if you think I'm joking when I say that I laid in bed visualizing this scenario in Gracie's room...then we should get to know each other better. (Lady and the Tramp)
  • Mice will steal away into your stepdaughter's attic bedchamber and sew her a ballgown while she does your housework below. They will also wear tiny clothes and sing. I will admit this doesn't so much apply to me as I do not have a stepdaughter. But those of you who do? Watch your backs. (Cinderella)
  • Rats will raid your spice rack and stare at you while you sleep. They will also watch your TV. (Ratatouille)
  • Mice will go on covert missions of goodwill. Okay, that one does not sound so bad, I guess. But do your dang missions in someone else's house! (The Rescuers)
  • Rats carry the Plague. (Hello! Ask anybody!)
Am I boring you? Oh, what--like you don't have any irrational fears? How nice for you. I'll get to the point. Jason gets a trap and baits it and sets it out after the kids go to bed on Monday night. I told him that he would have to be the one to check it in the morning. "I can't handle that--you know that, right? I can't do it!" He sighed, "Yes, I know that." He is a good, patient man.

I am able to fall asleep that night only because I am still pretty jet lagged. Our house is laid out in such a way that most all the bedrooms are a good ways from our kitchen, where the trap is. So, as I go to bed, I'm thinking that there's no way I'd be able to hear the trap if it goes off.

Ha! I say again, ha! At five in the morning, I'm feeding Grace in her room, which is closer to the kitchen. The house is quiet. The light outside is grey. I'm half asleep. Then, snap! I jump and startle Grace. I crept back to bed and lay there awake for an hour till Jason had to get up. "I heard the trap release." "You did? When?" "An hour ago. I haven't been able to go back to sleep since." Then my husband, who wasn't even fully conscious, started laughing at me. "Babe, seriously?" he says.

Yes, babe. Seriously.

So Jason dealt with *it* and later informed me that it was "bigger than a mouse". I am not kidding when I tell you that this made my heart beat faster. We left the trap out again last night and there was nothing this morning. We'll do it again tonight. What do you guys think? Rats are smart, right? That's why they're in all those psychology experiments. Do you think they watched their buddy get whacked and avoided the trap the next night? Or do you think we got the only one there was? I am also not kidding when I tell you that this is the debate I've been having with myself all day. Over the intelligence of rats. And if they can learn from the mistakes of their little disgusting rat friends.

I think I am going a little nuts. Any advice is appreciated! (About the rodent problem, though if you have advice about me being nuts, I'll take that too!)


  1. I can't believe you didn't even mention the Secret of Nimh. Those are some scary ass rats.

    You got him - I'm willing to bet there are no others.

  2. He was, most likely, a rogue rodent. I feel sure that he is gone and there are NO OTHER RODENTS IN YOUR HOUSE!!!! I do feel your pain. I have been known to sleep in the car if I've had a roach in my house. Thank God we don't have roaches in Colorado.

  3. Amy, this is HI-larious! But, oh Yes, I totally feel your angst! Recently, we drove 8 hours home from NC with a live mouse in the car-I'm sure he was perched under the dashboard watching my tennies. The next day I got in the car and reached down to pick up a tissue and grabbed his little mousey body in the trap instead. I was rendered a blabbering,jumping,handshaking loon for at least a minute.Insert shiver here. On a more serious note, this alone may be a reason to relocate to this side of the Pacific, huh? Nice try, right? Delicious post!(Bad choice of words)

  4. Girl, you are definitely my niece! Finally, someone has expressed my feelings about rats! And don't tell me,"He can't hurt you 'cause he's little and you're big." Fact is.. if he's in the room, he's breathing and I AIN'T! Can't believe U had me laughing so hard on this topic!

  5. A few years ago, we had an infestation of mice. When it was all over, the body count was somewhere around 17. The thing is, I only trapped three or four - the rest were dispatched by my 10-year-old cat.

    Dispatched with extreme prejudice.

    Now at 15 years old, she has still more than earned her keep and her right to be a big old cat for as long as she chooses to putter around my house.

  6. Okay first let me say that I just died. There, that's out of the way.

    Now, when Jason said, "It was bigger than a mouse," is there ANY chance he was talking about a capybara? Because if you have a capybara in your house, I think that's kind of cool and there's no need to move to a hotel.

    Let's pray that this trouble is behind you now.

    Hilarious post though!

  7. Also, I can just HEAR Jason saying, "Babe, seriously?" Yes, SERIOUSLY.

  8. this isn't about rats, but about oatmeal. and it makes me laugh.

  9. delaine could have told a much longer story about rodents in our car:

    Honda Pilot
    Three US States
    Four Rodents Killed (including 1 chipmumk)
    Two in AC/Heater Fan ($500, including a "hazardous material disposal fee)
    Two in Ortho Traps ($2.49)
    One Freaked-out Wife

  10. You have definitely braved to blog where not many women have blogged before.

    Although, I bet Sara in PA would have beaten it with a shovel. :)

    A dead rodent in a trap that you (Hubs) can easily remove is good. Poison that rodents eat and then die in other remote places in the house = bad. Pls do not ever ask me to tell you why I know this.

  11. You probably got the only intruder. Just watch for further signs (poop). If you don't see any after a few days you can assume it was the only varmint. We had a wily rodent once. Patrick and I were sitting at the kitchen table when we heard the snap! John wasn't home so I made Pat discard of the body. I couldn't face seeing a snapped mouse. We've not had any problems since.

  12. Jenni--I totally forgot about Nimh! You are so right--that was a freaky little movie!

    Mom--I get the shivers when I think of you touching that mouse body. You are a stronger woman than I!

    Michele-- I totally thought of Sara, too!

    alpharat--I thought of getting a cat solely for this purpose! Any cat that gets more than a dozen mice is certainly worthy of honor.

    Meg--that is funny, and very random! i have been in too many concerts like that!

    Thanks everyone for your commiseration--unfortunately the trap caught another one last night! Ick.

  13. I'm surprised they wouldn't send out animal control for just one rodent, what with Australia's socialized pest control and all.

  14. ha! I love that rodents and rodent smashing bring me to mind. ;-)

    Brave as I am, I'd have to agree that they are nasty little animals. Filthy, stinky pooping animals.

    I'd like to think that it was a solo bigger-than-a-mouse creature since it's Summer. Now, if it was Winter, I'd be more afraid that they were headed indoors for shelter in large quantities.

    I'll just keep the rest of my thoughts and wonderings to myself for everyone's sake.

  15. We had a rat in our duplex about a year ago. It was trying to come out of the the oven and rattled the metal burner covers like crazy. And Stephen loaded his gun (because, like you, I freaked and told him someone was breaking into our house!!!!!!). We quickly figured out it was a rat. And like Jason, he laughed. He said it was kinda cute. AHH! And then he could just flinch at me and I'd scream, for like three weeks.

    And you bet I called my landlord at 10:30pm.