The Dirty Work of Re-Creation

Like dirty laundry airing in the front yard, the brightly lettered truck advertised our Problem from the driveway. It was a heavy traffic time of day for our neighborhood, people coming home from work, walking dogs, stopping to gape at the goings-on of our house. Maybe a giant rat exterminator truck isn’t as bad as a termite tent when it comes to neighborhood spectacles, but it stopped traffic on our street. Truck and crew spent two hours diagnosing, removing and preventing the incursion of critters. Saws ripped, nail guns blasted and men crawled under the house and up ladders. Better traps were laid with better bait. The exterminator’s website says, “It’s a dirty job, and we love to do it!” I pulled out my checkbook and paid them for their dirty work. Continue reading “The Dirty Work of Re-Creation”

A Wrongful Death

Rat Entry No. 4 (warranting a new category).

Though seen scuttling, slimy tailed, up the garage wall and vanishing into an attic morass, yesterday’s horror was this: no rats were trapped. Something else was, and this is our shame: two delicate, shivering wrens were caught, rendered immovable by two glue strips laid along the garage floor, glue set out for the trapping of rats. The door had been open for only a few minutes. In spite of the peanut butter and chocolate enticements, spring traps ready to snatch and glue strips strategically placed, the rats escaped unscathed. Scot free. Not to be had. Instead it was helpless, tiny birds, one with its head glued down so all it could move were wide, dark, terrified eyes. Senseless euthanizing: tiny, harmless creatures unwittingly caught in a trap meant for rats. Sweet birdie, I’m so sorry. Whack. Oh sweet birdie, I. Am. So. Sorry. Thwack. I stayed in the house while my husband ushered birds to the Other Side.

I am so sorry.

Yelp, the Manly Scream

I heard him head down the hall, calling back that he was “going up.” The attic was next. He’d already checked traps in the garage. None of the spring traps had sprung, but the glue strips had mysteriously moved, nosed over by something. The attic stairs were squeaking on their hinges as the “Commercial Technician” lowered them. He had come the day before and set traps and glue strips in various locations of the attic and garage. Now he was back to check his success at trapping a rat.

There’s a noise a man makes when he’s tough enough not to scream like a girl but scared enough that he can’t completely control the reaction that lurches instinctively out of him. Continue reading “Yelp, the Manly Scream”

War of the Rats, Part 2

So I woke up in the middle of the night to the sounds of rats in the attic. They must have been busy chewing the upholstery on some old chairs as I can see in the daylight that seats are torn into, stuffing missing. My guess is  they were trafficking stuffing from the chairs to a nest somewhere across the attic.You can follow the trail of droppings to get a rough idea of their route. Continue reading “War of the Rats, Part 2”

War of the Rats

Come dark, our house plays a Muzac all its own, an elevator-variety tune that’s less like Kenny G and more like the soundtrack to Tales from the Crypt. Some people hear voices, but in our house, we hear scratching. Of things that go bump in the night, we boast an uncounted population of scrawny-tailed, grey rats. Come daylight, we feature an extended family of bushy-tailed rats, otherwise known as squirrels. Daylight rats are annoying. The ones at night are downright frightening. Continue reading “War of the Rats”