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!)