The whole idea behind surprise week is to do something well, er… surprising! Last time out I covered the fact that I thought I was getting bit jaded and unable to enjoy simple wonders because I was after the BIG surprises. I have to confess I am still suffering from this affliction and promise to do my best to enjoy the little delights that cross my path this week but I also want to do something different. I want to surprise you by going off my usual uplifting topics and share things that are surprising in an entirely different way. I think it is fun to shake things up and share a story or two that just doesn’t fall into my usual bliss categories.
I’m starting off with a tale from a couple of years ago, If you followed my old Everyday Bliss blog, you may have read about this before but I am bringing it up again for two reasons. First, the whole thing still surprises me and number two, at the time when it happened I didn’t tell anyone about it. I just didn’t want anyone to know about it, for fear it some how reflected on my housekeeping abilities or some other such nonsense. Any way, there is suspense, a little humor and a rat. I also hope the topic is at least slightly surprising.
A couple of years ago, I woke up to loud noises coming from our heating vent. I thought it might be a raccoon it sounded so loud and large. I had a raccoon in my attic once in NY and they are LOUD! Rob was convinced it was a mouse. I said how can a little mouse make all that noise?
We proceeded to buy a very nice humane little mouse trap. No snapping metal — catch him and set him free was my thought…
We put peanut butter, the preferred mouse lure, in and set the trap in the kitchen behind the refrigerator where our “mouse” was gathering fuzz. We then blocked the kitchen door from the rest of the house (closed door stuffed an area rug under the crack in the door.
3:30 am I hear a crashing sort of noise coming from the Kitchen. Rob takes a flashlight and peeks in the kitchen and sees HUGE mouse aka RAT dragging the trap around the kitchen floor licking the peanut butter out through the outside of the trap. The Kitchen was trashed! The part of the area rug that was on the kitchen side of the door was chewed along with the weather stripping under the door to the garage.
YIKES!!! GROSS!! How can there be a rat in my house??? Now Rob wants to get the snapping kind of traps and we need to determine if this is just one wayward Rat (perhaps came in from garage and now is trapped in our kitchen) or a whole family!!!
I am generally pretty calm about things but the thought of a disease (see I automatically believe it must have diseases!) infested rat walking around our kitchen where my baby girl has also crawled has me avoiding the kitchen all together and frankly pretty freaked out!…. I declare, “We are eating out until we get this handled!”
I can not believe there are rats running around my little house in the pretty suburbs (naive eh?!) — I thought this was city or farm thing…. Yikes Uggg …. I retreat to the park… My baby girl and I spend the day OUTSIDE away from all the wild life!
Before this, we were away for two weeks and there was NO SIGN of any unwanted guests when we returned. The house was as we left it. This being the case we BELIEVE it was (at the moment, and hopefully rats have more then a two day gestation period!! Yikes!) a single rat. Given how much we’ve seen the rat and it’s trail of destruction, in just 48 hours, if he had been here for a while and or invited any of his buddies we are confident there would be a lot more damage.
Our theory was he must have been scared into our garage (perhaps when we returned from our trip… since we hadn’t been in and out of the driveway for 2 weeks our arrival would have been quite unexpected ) — once in the garage he just needed to wait until I or Rob left the kitchen door open and then our home would be his! (Notice how I have made the rat MALE — perhaps in honor of my personal memories of a former boyfriend I call the “RAT BASTARD” LOL) —
Further evidence of our singleton Rat theory is his destruction had been concentrated by the doors… like he was trying to get out. We thought about opening the door of the garage and kitchen door to let him leave… but then what if more decided to come in…
So now what… how do we get rid of this interloper? neither Rob or I liked the idea of the poison route… in our home… that could be more dangerous to our girl in the long run. Rob offered to shoot him with a BB gun but I thought that would be tough on the cabinets. So we are back to traps. I am set against the metal snap kind… they are cruel and can misfire leaving one with a half dead, scared screaming animal you have to kill with a hammer, shoe… whatever…awful no matter how it goes.
Then there is the catch and release traps… used for the raccoon back in NY and my first choice when we thought we had a mouse… but this method requires a RELEASE PLAN. The raccoon was taken to a state park and I would have set the mouse free in the park a few blocks away but what the hell does one do with a rat? I’m sure my neighbors would love it if I release it locally… hell perhaps we could do so at the upcoming block party (we were asked if we had any entertainment to provide!) Rob, not nearly the rat advocate I am (after all, I did date “Rat Bastard” on and off for 10 years!) doesn’t want to turn this into a PETA project so we must find another option…
Enter the RAT ZAPPER. Apparently the highest tech (Techie hubby likes this) and considered humane (not sure I can entirely agree since electrocution wouldn’t be my chosen way to go, but wifey can get on board since it is FAST and has a better track record then the snap trap)— We opted for the standard RAT ZAPPER (rather then the deluxe model which can kill up to 60 rats!!! Who needs and buys this?) and we set it up.
Kitchen was barricaded with the rat zapper enclosed. We headed out for dinner (vegetarian… there was enough carnage in my home that night!) and walked into our cute little town… Downtown was closed off for one of the “downtown live” events. Music, farmers market, kid zone and lots of families with small children. It was a really nice way to wait out our rat execution.
Returning, we came up the steps to our front porch, the little night light in the kitchen gave us a clear view of the rat habitat… and there he was ALIVE and VERY LARGE (not the over sized mouse I had decided to imagine!) He was running around doing rat things… scurry here and scurry there… it was annoying -why was he still alive? It was also sad -as gross as the thought of having him in my house is, he was actually kind of cute… I didn’t like that I was going to kill him. I had a pet gerbil when I was a kid and always enjoyed watching my gerbil in his habitrail home.
So watch we did — he ran around the kitchen floor, froze in place a few times because I guess he sensed we were watching and entertained us with rat antics. Then it finally happened… he became interested in the peanut butter laden rat zapper… SNIFF sniff. LICK lick… looks like there is more inside….
Next a high pitched squeal (humanely this lasted only a second) followed by loud zapping (like a mosquito zapper only a constant zap noise) indicating the rat zapper was aptly named. Then we noticed a blue light flickering through our now dead rat’s tail! It was totally freaky and creepy to watch the electricity arc through the rat’s dead body. The zapping continued for about two minutes (I guess to insure the rat was truly dead and not going to spring to life when removed from trap) and then it was over.
Rob then went in to the kitchen, poured the dead rat into a zip lock bag and stopping only for a few Kodak moments (thankfully, for you, I can not find the charming photo right now) dropped him into the dumpster.
We set the trap again… just in case our rat had friends but happily woke without the “rat interaction” light lit on the zapper. I heard no strange noises during the night and had no more holes in the throw rug we had used to barricade the kitchen door. That rat, thankfully was our ONLY rat, and in time I was able to resume my idyllic California life.
If you have your own surprising tale to share and would like to have your story considered for a guest spot here on Bliss Habits, please contact me.