Sunday, September 15, 2013
Be Careful What You Wish For
Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. ~John Lennon
I’ll start by saying that this is NOT the post I was planning to write today. Where to start? I’ll start with rats. I have rats in my attic. No, I’m not speaking metaphorically. Real rats. In my attic.
It started with a soft scrabbling sound above the ceiling in the kitchen. I thought it was a squirrel. I called the ecological, humane pest control company. Eric, the technician, found a hole chewed under the eave above my front door. Hoping the squirrel was outside, he sealed the hole and set a live trap in the attic just in case. We waited.
More scrabbling ... and chewing. Eric changed his opinion and set rat traps in the attic. I pondered my preference for trapping squirrels live and relocating them alongside my willingness to kill rats. One of life’s mysteries.
More waiting. This went on for several weeks. They chewed through the sealed hole, came and went as they pleased, and partied at night till I was sleeping with ear plugs.
Many calls to the company. Many visit from Eric.
Meanwhile, my son’s birthday dinner was Friday night. I had presents for him. Problem – the wrapping paper was in the attic. To get to it, I would have to open the attic door and reach past several traps. I was afraid. What if I opened the door and there was a dead rat in one of the traps? Waaayyyy too disgusting for my delicate sensibilities.
So I did the reasonable thing. I went to the store and bought more wrapping paper, even though I have enough in the attic to wrap presents for the next decade. Really, what else could I do?
Saturday morning, Eric worked overtime to come for another attempt. By now I knew the names of his kids and he knew too much about what I keep hoarded in the attic. We discussed options. I was over my qualms about killing rats. I wanted a blitz attack – poison and traps. Eric discouraged the poison. They would most likely die in the house, would certainly die in the house if he resealed the hole, and it would smell bad for awhile.
I hesitated only a moment. Do it all, I instructed. Seal the hole, put out poison, and set another trap outside on the roof above the door at the resealed hole, anchored to the roof with a wire around the gutter down spout. I want them gone. Eric complied.
Late Saturday night I was in bed reading. Suddenly I heard a “thwack” and some bumping. Then all was still. I knew what had happened. Who could I call at midnight? Or even the next morning since it would be Sunday? Maybe I could just go to sleep and check it out in the morning. Maybe the rat carcass was up under the eave and out of sight, so I could wait until Eric could come on Monday. I turned out the light and tried to go to sleep. The spirit of the dead rat taunted me.
Resigned to my fate, I got up and put my robe on. I dragged myself down the stairs and to the front door. I turned the porch light on. My hand paused on the doorknob. I took a deep breath and opened the door.
Right out of a horror movie. The dead rat dangled in the trap, suspended by the wire, right in front of my face. The trap had exploded its head and there was blood and brains all over my front door, the wall, the window, and the front porch.
I thought about just closing the door and staying in my house until Monday when Eric could rescue me. But then I imagined someone coming up my front walk only to be confronted by this grisly scene. It might be a child. I couldn’t leave it there. I closed the door and sat down for a minute. The squeamishness I had felt about going into the attic to get wrapping paper just a day before now seemed ridiculous. Like life was saying to me, “Oh you think that would be gross? How about THIS?!”
So I did what I had to do. I put on rubber gloves, got a trash bag and some rags, and cleaned it all up. Yep, that was what I did on Saturday night.
Now I’m sure there are some profound insights I can glean from this freakish midnight ratcapade. But at the moment they elude me. Maybe if I take another shower....
What do you think? Any life lessons here?
related post: Night of the Skunk