Monday, October 17, 2011


So, after almost 7 years of living in the Freaky Tiki we had our first rodent. Specifically Saturday night (which for us wild and crazy kids meant watching the hockey game) when suddenly Admiral Karen points to the open doorway to our bedroom and says “Hey, I just saw a rat.” In a deceptively calm voice.

Captain General Y chromosome then clocks in, closes both doors to the bedroom, puts on his heavy shoes, unsheathes the pirate cutlass and goes to have a looksee. First I investigate under the bed (hey, that’s where the space heater ended up!) and then her closet - but only find more shoes than one person can possibly wear in one lifetime.

Under all the dressers, spare blankets, the bathroom cabinet – rattus rattus has vanished, but is still hiding somewhere in our bedrom. And the Sharks have blown another lead and lost the hockey game – and so it’s bedtime.

Um, no. We end up in the rumpus room, side by side on the trundle beds. But we can hear our guest. In our bedroom next door.

Next morning I am exhausted but up early as always. I am out in the parlor playing a video game when I see the power cord that comes from the bedroom - wiggle. I watch it intently, to make sure I saw it correctly, and sure enough, our house guest is gnawing on our computer power cord. The little bastard!

We retrieve the cord - luckily old houses like ours have the outlets halfway up the walls. I then dress, thankful that MY closet is out in the rumpus room. Off to buy a trap. First stop was Whole Foods but they were horrified by the thought that all of the Goddess’ children couldn’t live together in Peace and Harmony. No traps there. The clerk then points shyly, so no one else could see her, next door and whispers to me “Try Rite Aid. I’m sure they would have, have, um, something like that.”

Rite Aid did indeed have humane traps, but only in house mouse sizes. Admiral Karen however was describing our visitor in Roger-Corman-B-Movie sizes. So next I am off to the new Ace Hardware store, where they indeed have oh-my-god-it-just-swallowed-the-dog size traps. But only in inhumane designs. Oh well, we’re not talking about an endangered species here. And at least its death will be quick.

It’s been 15 years or more since I set a spring mousetrap, and I’m sure that the last time I did I had had more sleep the night before. But I finally got the hair trigger to catch and left to spend the day helping a friend clean out her storage shed – no rest for your Gentleman of Leisure! (On the way home I stopped in at Jalapenos to get fish tacos and actually fell asleep in the Taqueria.)

We are facing a second night of listening to a sizable rat in our bedroom doing god knows what, and listening for the telltale SNAP! that will signal that it has now met a violent death because of us. An unnerving prospect, and our nerves are pretty much ‘un’ to begin with. So what do we watch to accompany our dinner? Why the Season premiere of Walking Dead, of course! Zombie splatter everywhere. I may never eat nachos again.

Now thoroughly horrified and grossed out (which is to say, we love that show), we retire to our chambers. I am back in the rumpus room and asleep by 8pm, and Admiral Karen is still in the parlor watching TV all night with the sound up so as not hear the SNAP.

I spend the night in a continuous Resident Evil dream from which I awaken every hour or two. Next morning I am awakened by the Admiral, who is fluttering her arms and doing a little dance like she is trying to obtain liftoff. I take it we have achieved snappage.

I clock in again at Y chromosome HQ and go to accompany our invader out to the trash. Our rattus rattus was a good 6 inches long (not including its tail) and covered by a luxurious black fur. He looked to be in good health and the trap caught him just behind the skull – he was gone in an instant. I hope he got a taste of the peanut butter beforehand though.

Now I face a Monday of thoroughly cleaning the bedroom and washing every single item on the bed and in the linen closet – which, actually, was on the list of projects anyway.

A nap is also on today’s agenda.

Angus McMahan
Gentleman of……DEATH!


  1. We were invaded by rats back in the Boulder Creek days too. First time I saw one, I went out and got a cat. That didn't work, so I got two more cats. That didn't work, so I got a snap trap and caught it in ten minutes.

    Our little housemate had built a giant nest of stolen cardboard and insulation, then chewed holes in the icemaker supply line to make a drinking fountain. Apparently he neglected to build on high ground, though, so as the rising waters flooded his home, he had to pile on more and more cardboard.

    My cats are still lazy, but I haven't had any more rats since then so they must be working.

  2. Ugh. Sounds.....smelly. This was just an isolated incident (so far). We'll see how the rest of the Darktime goes.....

  3. We were never bothered by our rats in Felton, but that doesn't mean they weren't there. When I started repairs to prep for selling the house, the contractor found the entire space under the bathroom floor--including packed around the entire bathtub--full of rats' nests. They were keeping warm and my tub had been insulated.

    That could have been a recommendation for an ongoing symbiotic relationship, but unfortunately rat pee on wires gives a false negative conductivity reading on a meter; so the poor contractor, in addition to being phobic about rats and their nests anyway, was regularly getting zapped when he handled the wiring wherever the critters had traveled in the walls.