I’m going to preface this post by saying it’s part of what I am calling “Writer’s Road to Recovery.” It’s my term for allowing myself to share to something even though it fits outside the “rules” of typical blogging. So for example, a typical blog post is 500 words. This is a lot more. But I’m posting it anyway. Because I’m always finding excuses not to do anything with my writing. So here goes.
You know how you can recognize every sound in your home? Like if you are in bed drifting off to sleep and you hear a creak but you know that’s just the floorboards settling when the heat kicks on. Or how you can somehow discern the sound of the neighbor’s dog in the yard versus something more ominous? Well the other night my husband and I were in bed when we heard something that mentally we could not place. I know this because when I sat up he had already gotten out of bed.1
1Let me pause here to say, thank God he was home, you can’t imagine what a chicken shit I am.
We looked at each other and then we heard it again. It was coming from the kitchen and it sounded like someone was on a mission to destroy it. We knew it wasn’t the kids, they were in bed and they would never venture downstairs at night without first waking mom up.2
2They’ve inherited my courage.
I grabbed my phone and for the first time ever I got ready to dial 911. My husband was already heading over to get something I also never thought we would use.3
3 I know this is a highly contentious issue. My husband lobbied me for years to own a weapon. He works in a dangerous industry with folks who let’s just say are often “transitional” and on top of that, we live in a State where owning firearms is as common as owning a toothbrush. Neither of these things made his case any more compelling to me.
So we reached a compromised, he could have a firearm provided we also had a safe and also, no ammunition. He agreed.4
4 I know, I know but every so often we hit these arguments that result in compromise or divorce and perhaps on that day my husband didn’t feel like filling out a lot of paperwork.5
5Due to reasons of masculinity and safety my husband would want you to know that the ammunition situation has been resolved following this incident. We are ready for the zombie apocalypse.
So I watched as my husband headed downstairs with his impotent weapon towards the undiscernible noise while I held the phone ready to dial.6
6You may wonder why I didn’t dial. I’m Canadian. You can’t imagine the embarrassment of disturbing emergency personnel without justified cause, so in Canadian terms it’s best to wait until someone shoots you before calling, if not you’ll just end up apologizing to the police for hours .
So my husband is downstairs and I’m mentally planning to make the call while thinking about which closet for the kids and I to hide in.
“T!” my husband calls, “come here, you aren’t going to believe this.”
I pause. I head down.
He was right. I can’t believe it.
I would have believed a meth head in our pantry binging on goldfish crackers and cheerios.
I would have believed it was the ghost of my future self to give me shit about not finishing my manuscript.
I would have believed my husband had a mistress and she was at our stove with a guinea pig.
I could not believe what I saw.
Rodents. Rodents of Unusual Size destroying our pantry.
My husband closed the pantry door thereby locking them inside and further increasing my stress level to know that I would also be required to go to the grocery store yet again.
I turned to him, “So, now what?”
He jumped all over me.7
7 Not in a good sexy time way. Jumped all over me in the way mommy goes crazy when driving the minivan and is being asked one too many questions related to “why can’t…”
“How the hell should I know now what? I just thought I was going to have to club someone with a shotgun in my underwear and you want to know what I’m going to do about this?”8
8This was probably a fair point. However, underwear is one more item of clothing than usual so I felt this ws a positive rather than a negative.
We sat in the kitchen listening to our invaders go to town on the endless pantry buffet.
Home Depot was closed so getting traps and poison was out of the question.
Stress levels were too high to speak with one another so my husband called his mother.9
9 That may seem odd. Let me qualify that by saying his Trinidadian mother who grew up hunting and fishing. Her home is presently certified as a Wildlife Habitat.10
10 I feel like at this point, she needs to just move that sign over to my place.
I could hear her through the phone.
“Boy, just get a bu-tu11 and bang those tings on da head one time.”
11 A bu-tu is a Trinidadian word for club.
They chatted some more and he hung up.
“She’s coming over.”
This was actually a good thing. I don’t think husbands and wives should work together on pest elimination. You don’t see Reality Shows where that happens for a reason. Bounty Hunt? Sure. Remodel homes? You betcha. Wrangle rodents into a box? Nope. Even Crocodile Hunter’s wife hung at the zoo.12
12 RIP Steve.
She arrived with her husband shortly after carrying a cardboard box, leather gloves, work boots and a trap they had at home.13
13Rodents of Unusual Size are not uncommon in Arizona.
I offer coffee. Even though it’s 10pm, I feel they might like to get pumped up before beginning. No takers.
I hover around offering emotional support hoping that the kids don’t wake up.14
14 Of course they didn’t. That’s the rule of kid sleep. Want to sneak downstairs with your husband and watch a movie? Guess who’s up and “can’t sleep.” Have all the lights on, people over and a pantry full of rodents? Sound asleep.
It did not take long for the team to capture the critters and remove them.
They didn’t tell me what they did with them outside and I didn’t ask. I’ve read Charlotte’s Web so I mean, I know sometimes things have to be done.
A plan was made for pest control to be called in the morning to deal with this.
I went to back to bed sleeping poorly and dreaming of moving to a mythical land free of scorpions, rodents and firearms.15
15Canada. I dreamt of Canada.
The next morning my husband woke me.
“Don’t freak out.”
He took me down to the kitchen where he had locked and barricaded the pantry.
“There’s another one. And I don’t have time to deal with it because I have to get to work.”
And now dear reader, I’m going to provide the reader’s digest version of the past 48 hours.
Pest control owner comes to the house personally because after our scorpion in the bed incident he knows my stress levels at times like this.16
16 He also knows I will throw money around like professional athlete in Vegas to remedy these situations.
He tells me the entire neighborhood is having a major problem with these things. They are called, “Norwegian ground rats.” He tells me “they are actually quite sweet.”17
17I do not slap him because I need him. But I really want to slap him. I just sip my coffee instead.
Pest control guy tries and fails to catch the rodent in the pantry. He leaves the door barricaded. He places around our property approximately one million poisoned bait traps. He charges me just under one million dollars.
At the end of the day my husband returns to try again the pantry. But the rodent is gone. I tell myself he must have escaped during the attempted capture and I also tell myself he must have ran outside and is now gone.
I tell the same to the kids because the more people that believe a lie, the more true it becomes.
Fast forward to this morning.
My husband wakes me up.18
18It sounds like there is a lot of sleeping. We go to bed early and wake up at dawn and apparently a lot happens in between.
“T, it’s back, it’s hiding in the TV cabinet. I gotta go.”
And here I am.
I’m home alone with Ratatouille somewhere in my house. He’s evaded capture three times and get this – he’s unbaited the traps twice, eating the cheese but not setting them off.19
19 I refused to let pest control use poison in the house because I have just the sort of kid where it would go like this. “Do not touch or eat that cheese - it has poison on it.” “Okay.” Ten minutes later – “what are you eating??”
Clearly these are not just rodents of unusual size but unusual smarts because they picked the right house, a house incapable of removing a four legged threat without causing endless amounts of chaos and confusion.
So far, rodent 1, me 0.
Stay tuned for further updates. I’ve talked to the rodent throughout the day, encouraging it to just climb in with the guinea pigs because really, what is one more creature for me to clean up after. But I’ve made it clear, if I wanted some creature that slips around the house making noise and incapable of giving affection I would have gotten a cat.