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.