3 S.R. Johannes: The Rat Race! And, the winner is...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Rat Race! And, the winner is...

No Marketing tip today: Rats!

Ratting Myself Out

I debated over the last few days on whether or not to blog about the "Rat Race" that has been going on in my house this week.

After all, its totally gross. Its embarrassing. And. let's face it - its downright nasty. But, I figured why not. I can't worry about what people think, right? It's been my whole life for the PAST WEEK. So of course, I have to blog about it.

I also felt it would give other "Rat Victims" someone to look up to. I could be an example to others. Someone who was not afraid to come forward to give others hope that all is not lost in your home, life or sofa, should a rat appear and reek havic for a few days.

This week, I've been consumed in stakeouts, stand-offs, and sabotage.

I feel like I have spent as many hours plotting the "Rat Race" as on my Ya Thriller. (not quite!) All week, I've been trying to balance humaneness with my determination to "rat"ically enforce appropriate boundaries between Rat and mankind.

So here it goes. Hopefully, I will not be judged. Hopefully, guests will still come to my house for the holidays. And, hopefully everyone will appreciate the humor in the situation.

Disclaimer: This post has been approved by hubby. The events have been slightly dramatized for effect. And, believe it or not, no Rats or Hubbies were hurt during the process. Only a few casualties resulted: hurt egos, bad feelings, and a few cushions did not make it.

The Decoy
Before I get into the story, I want to say I am utterly 100% dissapointed in my Jack Russell Terrier, Bud, for his lack of fulfilling his purpose in life. When I first bought him 14 years ago, I was told his instinct was to fight with rats, mice, and even foxes.

I want my 350$ back!

He did nothing! I know he is old and retired but come on!

This was his chance to live out his dream. His natural instinct in the wild.

And, he failed.

Next time, I am getting a cat!

PS: For Sale: 14 year old Jack Russell Terrier. Cute, Black and white, Funny, Free!, Loyal, Sweet with kids. Rats are Not included!

The White Knight

As always, Hubby steps up to the plate.

First, it is important to state that this is one of those time when I became 100% sure of what hubbies are really good for. Of course, they are good for many things (in addition to the top requirements of love, fatherhood, and companionship). Such as bringing home the bacon, yard work, hanging lights, changing bulbs, taking out the trash, grilling out, unclogging toilets, fixing flat tires, scooping doggie poop, wrestling with kids, assembling....anything, understanding and enabling electronics/technology.

Who knew, catching rats was high on the list!

These things are not my job, nor would I want it. Unless it paid more than writing of course!

Needless to say, my hubby is the one who has suffered this week on the front-line. He has suffered my complaining, sleepless nights, and a battered ego.

I was merely RATtled. In addition to suffering 2 heart attacks, an upset tummy, and a few of my favorite bohemian Indian-beaded cushions :(

Scene of the Crime
A couple weeks ago, we had some construction done in our kitchen around our stove. We've never had a rat so the necessary precautions obviously were not taken at the time.

A lesson now fully learned anf forever remembered!

That project created a small "gap" large enough for a small rodent to invite himself into our cozy Christmas house, unannounced and univited.

The unwanted guest that would not leave.

The Culprint (To protect the innocent, we have changed names. I will call him Rat.)

Thankfully, yet unfortunately, as rats go, we got the cute one. A roof rat.

Fortunately, it was not the nasty ugly one.
Unfortunately, it was not the nasty ugly. This one's expiration would not have bothered me as much as the cute one.

This was the really cute small gray one with big round ears.

The exact clone of Ratatouille. (Remind me, not to buy that movie or ever rent it again!)

This is actually the problem with kid movies humanizing animals (Nemo, Ratatouille, Babe, Chicken Little, Antz, Bugs Life, Lion King, The Bee Movie) Animals are named and given personalities. They leave a positive impression with your little ones and make you think twice about those animals when you see them. So you kinda think you like them or they are thinking just like the movie character.

At least I do. It's OK, you can call me crazy, my hubby does.

I make my hubby get "humane traps". Afterall, I can't be responsible for killing Ratatouille? How? My daughter would never again speak to me.

First let me say in my defense that Rat was very deceiving. Very cunning. Smart. Cute, small, yet destructive. Quiet, sneaky, and disrespectful.

And the worst - a picky eater. Who knew that was even possible? Which all made me relate him even more to Ratatouille.

He did not like fruit, pecans, almonds, cookies, cheese, crackers, bread - or any other "recommended Rat Food".

He did not even like organic peanut butter! What?!

He continued to slip around the traps and would not leave quietly. Yet no matter how destructive or gross this little rodent was, I didn't want to kill it. I wanted to try and be humane.

I am a sucker!

The Plot
After a few days of destruction and disrespectful excretions, my gloves came off.

It was war.

It was either him or...........my hubby. "Go get him hubby!"

Now, there was only one choice. Either my couch or the rat had to go. (PS I love my NEW $1,500 couch! So there's your answer.

It was time to Rat him out.

Friday night - we plan a stakeout. My hubby sets up a camp in the dark at the table, waiting patiently. The Plan? The Three C's . Corner, Coax and Capture. A plan we later found out had obvious downsides. A plan for failure.

I (the accomplice) go to bed and wait up silently in the room (writing/plotting on my book)for the signal.

At about 3 am in the morning, (4 hrs later) Lookout Patrol (ie my hubby) spots movement.

And, where am I? His sturdy accomplice?


The Weapon of Choice
Rat sneaks across the floor into the dining room, obviously knowing where my little boy sits, hoping for a fresh stash crumbs. (And, knowing my "little thrower", I am pretty positive that Rat was somehow successful in finding something I or my TERRIER dog missed).

Hubby reaches for the broom to begin his assault!

Uh oh!

No broom!

Unbeknownst to hubby, I - the sleeping accomplice - had cleaned/straightened up the house just before I went to bed. That meant I put everything back in its place, especially after cleaning. That meant the broom went back in the garage where it belonged (Right girls?).

In my defense, I had NO IDEA, the broom was my hubby's weapon of choice for the ensuing battle between modernized caveman and Rat. (My question? When a soldier prepares for battle, shouldn't they take inventory of the necessary weapons BEFORE they pick a fight? This was my #1 point in Rat argument that ensued.).

I am sure he cursed my name under his breath before moving to his fantastic plan B.

His dress shoe?!

Really? Does that work?

Answer: No.

My image of Cavemen is forever changed. They are now great dressers. Metrosexual.

The Confrontation

My hubby sneaks over to the corner with his scary, semi-automatic black leather tie-up in hand. He watches Rat move across the floor.

Rat hears hubby and freezes.

The stare-down begins.

My hubby - the Clint Eastwood of Rat Town. Rat - The Outlaw.

They have a moment. My hubby looks into the rat's beady eyes and prepares to strike.

Rat runs for couch

Hubby throws shoe......... and misses. :(

Rat runs into couch and hides in wooden corner. Let me repeat this in case you are reading too fast. Rat runs INTO MY COUCH!!!! (my point #2 in Rat argument)

Hubby pokes at Rat until Rat jumps out and runs under Stove. (Why did he not come and wake me up? 2 on 1 is always better than 1 on 1. point #3 of Rat argument)

Hubby duck tapes the bottom of the stove. And sets traps around it before climbing into bed.

The Aftermath

Next morning, when I wake up. I hear about the unsuccessful battle.

My reaction? "If he was in my couch?!We have to throw out the sofa!"

I proceeded to get on the phone with the CDC and pediatrician to find out the proper procedures in disinfecting the house to be sure we avoid any nasty stuff Rats can carry. We determine we can properly disinfect my house and couch! (CDC lady actually said. "OMG Don't throw out your couch! I wouldn't even do that." Ok, so maybe I over-reacted - its happened before and I guarantee it will happen again. I own it.

My hubby proceeds to go under house and eventually finds the escape route under the stove, sealing it up.

We get cleaners in clean entire house with with bleach water (Do not vaccum. CDC says wipe down with 10 parts water : 1 part bleach). We steam clean drapes, rugs, seats. Everything. A few cushions and a chair - we tossed to be safe. Then, we pull apart couch, take out foam and stuffing. Steam clean fabric and redo all cushions and stuffings brand new. Total about 200$, better than 1,500 but frustrating rigth before the holidays."

My hubby stays up 2 more nights until 2am on stakeouts.

No Rat.

Rat slipped out hole under stove and is still-at large But outside!
Hubby went on to be a Rat expert and plays great games of Cat and mouse with kids.
Wife recovers from heart attack but is forever fearful of Ratzilla and anything Italian that resembles Ratatouille.
Kids continue to have no clue.

And, life is good and clean again.

For all those other Rat sufferers, I have set up a helpline and web site for ongoing support. http://www.ratrace.com/ and 1-800-BeatRats. :)


Corey Schwartz said...

Absolutely hilarious. Shelli, maybe you should be writing for adults?

Stephanie J. Blake said...

Our mouse is either dead or winning because the trap sits, waiting with a glob of peanut butter on it. And the poison box is almost empty. Every morning, I clean up the droppings, put down a fresh paper towel, sprinkle the poison on top and wait.

Dang it!

Katie Anderson said...

Holy mackeral! That is some crazy stuff! Y'all must be EXHAUSTED

Anonymous said...

Oh do I sympathize! Tonight we had friends over for a game night. In the middle of a rousing game of "Apples to Apples", guess what dashes across the room? One big scary rat! My dog did warn us (pointer cross breed kind of on point), but we couldn't figure out what she was so excited about. Two of us screetch and run, but the men are now on the hunt. Four men, a fire poker, an ash shovel, and a baby gate later, the rat is dead and I am mortified. Thought my guests would leave immediately. Surprisingly enough, they stayed and told their own rodent stories. All in all, the most *exciting* game night ever!

Carrie Harris said...

I've got a mouse problem now. I thought I'd gotten it under control. Mouse got stuck in an empty soda bottle waiting for recycling, and we tossed him out. But noooo.... mouse has family. Family has moved in and is throwing loud parties in the walls.


Anyway. I know how you feel. Er, felt.

Unknown said...

You told me this story in person but it is even a funnier read.

Didn't tell you this but we had a rat in our wall behind our television in our BEDROOM!!!! It was horrible. He woke me up in the middle of the night making a nest I believe. The exterminator came with a HUGE rat trap. It worked in days- they love peanut butter!

Anonymous said...

Your stories are hysterical. My brother has one on ya tho. He kept thinking he had a rat problem and kept getting exterminators out. Then he discovered [wait for it] he had a BAT COLONY in his attic. It was a sight to see. And I wondered why he didn't have that many mosquitoes in his yard that summer...