Year of the Rat

I know that Chinese New Year is coming up pretty soon – it was in my latest supermarket rag, and it is going to be the Year of the Dragon. It doesn’t matter to me, quite frankly, what year is coming or going, because in my house it is the year of the Rat.

First off, let me say that I keep a pretty darned clean house. It’s not perfect. After all, I live with two toddlers and man who lived in a barn during grad school. But I get by. Floors swept and mopped, rugs vacuumed, bathrooms sanitized, food put away. In fact, I’m a litte obsessive about food – everything in my house is double sealed in ziploc bags. You only have to pour rice into a pan and see it moving once in your life to understand that there are no “off” seasons for bugs in Florida. I think that the guy who invented disposable plasticware should receive a Nobel Prize.

But we had – um, let’s say – an incident.

Right before Christmas I was working from home and heard scratching. Lots and lots of scratching. I started to follow the noises and found that the bags under my kitchen sink had been chewed – and there were all of these little brown, rice sized, nuggets. Eww. I showed Dear Hubby, and we set out some glue traps.


Christmas night, after the kids were asleep, DH and I were standing outside our kitchen window looking inside and we saw it: a tail. Shit. Two tails.

The next day the exterminators arrived and confirmed that we, indeed, had a rodent problem. They performed their “rodent proofing” of the house and plugged holes, set traps, and helped us secure the outside. The only thing this accomplished was to piss off our new tenants.

Three days after Christmas, while sitting on the couch with Matilda and the cat, a mouse ran across the living room floor while I drank my coffee. I’m pretty sure that I looked exactly like the lady in the Tom and Jerry cartoons as I jumped up on the couch and started screaming “mouse, mouse”. Really, it was all I could come up with. At this point, I was never so excited to be married to a man who lived in a barn as he jumped on the floor and smashed the mouse to death with his flip-flop.

Needless to say, I called the exterminators again.

They arrived that day and explained that it would take time, I needed to cut all down all the trees around the house, yadda, yadda, yadda. And yeah, maybe I should buy a cat.

If you have ever met Tubby, you understand that my cat is the best dog ever. He may look like a cat, he meows, and does cat-things, but really, he’s a dog in disguise. He takes walks with us to the park and waits for us at the end of the driveway when the kids come home from school. Really – best dog ever. I’m sure he mouses – but I haven’t seen him chase more than a lizard. He has never “messed” inside the house, and a grubby a cat as he is, he always makes it outside or to the litter box.

Until today.

So….this morning I was wondering what on earth I had fed Lane that could have resulted in the most foul-smelling poopiness I have ever smelled. Except Lane had dry, clean pants. I chased down the scent to the bathtub – where there was a steaming pile of cat crap. I have to give it to Tubbs, he centered it right on the drain. Quite impressive. While I was wondering what could have made the cat so ill that he would shit in the tub, Dear Hubby chuckled “well, here’s another surprise.”

And there it was – half chewed rat on the carpet.

I guess I should be happy that Tubbs didn’t bring my surprise to bed and put it on my pillow while I was sleeping. He loves me. I know he thought about it.

Hopefully this is the last of the sightings. I’m sure the exterminators are experts at what they do – but right now my two most powerful rodent fighting superpowers lie in a bald guy wielding a sandal in pajamas, and an overweight, declawed, snaggletooth cat. Heaven help us.

I see all!!


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