Rat Tales.

So, a couple weeks ago, my worst nightmare happened. I didn’t know it was my worst nightmare until I was in the midst of the unthinkable.

Scene: We just bought a fixer-upper house, hadn’t moved in yet. The morning of the 4th of July, the 3 of us (Me, Josh, and our pup Henry) were sound asleep at 5am. It was still pitch dark outside, and as he does on occasion, Henry got up to bark at something in the living room. Typically this meant a neighbor dog is barking in the distance or one of the workers at the car dealership behind our rental house was being noisy. Henry came back to bed after awhile, but every 10 minutes or so he would leave and go bark again. It was super annoying and I resisted the urge to hit him.

Finally, Josh got up to go see what was up, and when he came back to report his findings to me, he mentioned that there was signs that some small creature had been inside the bathroom on the other side of the house. Hmmmm… “Well that is not ideal…” Truly, I figured it was nothing, and the “droppings” were probably dirt Henry had brought in after all the rain we’d been getting. That’s what I told myself to be able to go back to sleep until it was daylight and I could think straight.
Just to be safe, Josh mentioned, “I guess I’ll call an exterminator first thing Monday morning. Nobody will be working the 4th of July”

We all headed back to bed and tried to fall asleep. Until we heard something moving in our blinds. In our bedroom. In the room where you are supposed to rest and recharge and, ya know…not have wild animals inside. (Other than a dog that mostly acts like a human). Josh hissed at me to turn on the lamp next to our bed and we both sat up and looked in front of us at the window. And lo and behold, a GIANT rat, not mouse, RAT, was staring down at us from atop the curtain rod.

I can’t really describe what went through my head at this point. It was some combination of rage, sheer terror, and devastation. Josh in his underwear and me in my pajamas ran as fast as we could out of that room and stuffed towels under the door to keep that thing away from us. It was after an hour of sitting in the living room, still dark outside, that we came to the conclusion that we totally should have grabbed our phones on the way out. We were stuck with no clothes or way to call for help with a rat imprisoned in our bedroom. We would totally die first in the apocalypse, considering the fact that all of the foresight we had in a moment of terror was to evacuate with no supplies.

Well, the rest of the story goes like this: We manned up hours later to get our phones and a change of clothes. The only “exterminator” we could find willing to do a house call on the 4th of July charged us $80 to lay one measly trap in our house. One. Shockingly, that didn’t work. Actually nothing worked for the next 5 days.We both got very very very little sleep that week. I turned into a paranoid mess who insisted on sleeping in the guest room with the lights on and pillows stuffed under doors, and wouldn’t enter rooms until Josh checked them first. It turns out, no one can actually get a rat out of your house for you. All you can do is lay traps and wait.

Finally, though, the reign of the rat king came to an end. We were able to finally locate him after he escaped our bedroom and ended up in a different part of the house. We borrowed 5 traps from friends and put them all around the doorway leading out of that room. The next morning we found him caught in one and there was much cheering and celebration.

I learned way more about rats in the last month than I ever cared to know. These guys are terrible, and everyone should cut trees back from their houses. Seal up every hold in your roof, walls, attic…everywhere. They can get through a 2 inch side hole, and once they get inside, you’re basically screwed. And you can’t sleep. And you feel like you’re slipping into insanity and when you hear any noise, it makes you jump as if someone set off a bomb.

That’s the end of my rat tale, hopefully forever. We are moving into our new house in a few short weeks, and I can’t wait to share with you all the progress we’ve made on it so far! It has been way more work than I could have imagined, but it is looking better every day.

Happy Thursday! Hope it is beautiful and rat-free.

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Homeowners.

Well guys, we bought a house. I seriously never thought we would make such an adult decision, but Austin, Texas just sucked us in and seduced us with her beautiful rivers and cacti and tex mex and sunshine.

We were not the only ones who had the idea to buy a house in Austin, though. In fact, the market here is absolutely insane right now. How insane, you might ask? Well, just to summarize the past few months, we have put NINE offers in on houses, ALL of them well above asking price, and got outbid every time. I knew it would probably take awhile to find a house, but I never expected to be putting offers in on houses the same day they went on the market and being in a bidding war with 5 other families. Yes, that happened…

The houses we tried for initially were in East Austin, near our church and our friends and the places we volunteer and my school. East Austin holds a special place in our heart for many reasons, and we would have loved to end up there. It is diverse and vibrant and rich with culture and sass. But as I prayed and prayed the last 5 months, I constantly asked God to let us end up exactly where He will use us most. Interestingly, we ended up getting an offer accepted on a house exactly 1.5 miles south of where we are renting in north central Austin. The sweetest older couple picked us (based on a rather desperate-sounding letter we wrote with our offer) to grace the home they’ve owned for decades.

The house needed (well…needs) a lot of work. The beautiful neighborhood is worth it though. We are now a short walk to a park, a grocery, a great bar, and some awesome pizza. What more could you want?

The first day after we got the keys, we went ahead and tore the carpet out so we could check out the beautiful hardwoods underneath. Thank goodness for whoever put those carpets in and NOT nailing them to the floor so they remain in tact. Just excuse the glue all over them 🙂 That will be gone soon. It is going to be so cute when we are all finished.

Henry is pretty thrilled about his new yard.

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Hello my pretty wooden floors. I can’t wait to refinish you.

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We have some good friends in the neighborhood who walked over to welcome us the day we got our keys. Also, the kids helped pull the carpet up aka jumped on them once they were in rolls.

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This guy really does love to watch over his yard. Old and new.

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Margo and Ellis. King and Queen of the carpet mountain.
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Yes, we have a lot of work ahead of us. Yes, we have lost our minds. YES, I cannot wait to be settled because the thought of renovating a house and moving in the middle of my craziest semester to date is..well..insanity.

So friends, if you want to come grab a paint brush and join the fun be our guest! I finished up my midterms today, so I have 4 whole days of not being stressed about school to enjoy being stressed about house stuff 🙂 Sadly, I am actually excited about this.

My prayer lately is that God will bless our new home not with great floors or no leaks, but with people and connectedness and growth. I pray that it will be a place of comfort and peace to everyone who steps through the threshold, and that we would be great stewards of this very undeserved gift we’ve been given. I’m so grateful for it, and for the memories yet to be made there.

Happy Wednesday!

PS. Next post…I’ll write about the freaking rat that’s been living with us the last 5 days.