Not for the faint of heart.

Remember that hilarious post about the rats in the wall? And how they’d soon “take care of themselves?”

Optimistic homeowners are completely blitzed on stupidity.

Lemme paint another picture:

Friday night= fabulous! Had a good friend over for some tacos and baby-snuggling. Mario Kart Wii was involved, as was The Soup, a lovely Zinfandel and a minimum of scratching in the walls and floors.

Saturday= just as grand. Breakfast, home renovations, more baby-snuggling, some quality television and again, an absence of scratching.

HOWEVER. I jetted out to Target for some [at the time] super-important supplies. Was gone less than an hour. Stopped at Walgreens on my way home and called to check in with Peej and the Little. P.J., thinking I was in the garage, walked into the kitchen to peek out the back window. Turned around.


Was quiet on the phone.

I asked what was the matter.

Still quiet. Then…

“Keel? I think I saw something.”



“A butt go under the oven.”

“A rat butt?”


After a cartoonish frozen moment in the middle of the Walgreens photo department, I alternated between insurmountable horror at the idea of facing my biggest ever fear AND the throat-gripping panic at the notion of my baby being IN THAT HOUSE. And, you know, Peej.

I dropped my purchases and ran. Upon entering the house I saw P.J. holding the baby waaaay up high and brandishing multiple household weapons with the other. He was also on the phone with the exterminator and pacing the kitchen with his eyes never leaving the oven.

“Should I-“

“I’m on it,” he said with that edge in his voice. You know that edge. The one that justifies the use of all-caps in his name? That one. (“Get in the house” and “These are two-for-one in the circular” are also indicative phrases.)

I took the baby and acted like one myself for a good half hour. P.J. wanted to head out immediately to Home Depot and get enough traps to fell a bear- but I didn’t want him to go yet. And since it was so close to Nora’s bedtime (and since she’d been sick) I didn’t want her to spend the next hour or so in the car- I was ready to CAMP OUT in the car, but we must think of the child.

And then we got the mail.

And Nora’s social security card came finally, and P.J. wanted to add her info to our tax return…and then we realized we’d get an extra 1k back just for having a kid!

But back to the rat.

P.J. was about to head out to the store when I ventured back into the kitchen for- something. My mind was promptly erased.


The rat, the one who hated the light, wouldn’t be around people, who certainly wouldn’t make an appearance twice in one night…was standing in front of the dishwasher.

I am not ashamed to admit that I shrieked like the woman in the Tom & Jerry cartoons. Except louder and with more counter-jumping.


P.J. found me in record time.

“I knew exactly what it was when you screamed,” he told me. (I can’t imagine what other kind of catastrophic house event would have happened in the same hourlong span- but then again, maybe I shouldn’t venture there with this house.) He stuffed a beach towel underneath the oven- this should either deter the thing or keep it cozy.

So THEN P.J. left for Home Depot, leaving me with Nora. I got her pajama-ed and fed (with a broom, steak knife and hammer within arms’ reach- not TOO close, mind you, I am always aware of my child’s safety.)

He made it back in record time. He also stopped for a pizza. We hadn’t eaten in ages and CERTAINLY were not about to cook. It was half pineapple, half pepperoni and black olives. Exceptional. But who had time to enjoy it? We had a sting operation to prepare.

By this time Nora was asleep in her bed (God knows how with her stressed, amped-up parents emitting vibes that could power a small town) and I was free to, you know, “assist.”

P.J. began laying out glue traps in the perimeter of the kitchen (while I stood on a stool and wielded a hammer- helpfully)…and then we began to hear a familiar scratching sound under the kitchen sink. (Is this house made of swiss cheese? Discuss.) Our crackerjack team of kittens were suddenly on the job. However, they had to sit this one out- locked in a bathroom. After all, glue traps are not a cat’s friend…and any rat that makes three appearances in two hours is most certainly damaged in some capacity. Bean has enough constitution problems.

So, after making sure that the child and the animals were protected at all costs, P.J. began the fun task of pulling items out of the cabinet one by one. (I think our original “plan” was that the rat would kinda jump out onto the glue traps by himself. This did not happen.) Once the cabinet was cleared of anything, including rat, P.J. lined even MORE glue traps near the hole around the pipe fitting. (Oh, so holes “let in” rats? Gotcha. Also- by this point the rat could’ve done a sweet art project with all the glue. Or maybe re-tiled the under-sink area.

Peej closed the glue-trappy cabinet. We sat back to wait.

Not five minutes later the scratching at the door began again, this time accompanied by a thud that sounded an awful lot like a gluetrap stilt. This when it got interesting.

P.J. instructed me to leave the room (I love him so much) so he could sweep the critter into a bag and carry him outside.


The cabinet has a wooden lip that prevents glue traps from being swept anywhere. P.J. was gonna hafta lift the thing up.


It was hissing. (Wouldn’t you?) After various attempts at thwacking the corner of the trap to get it to do…something…P.J. realized that the rat was actually freeing itself.

“I have to kill it,” P.J. told me with a level of angry panic I’ve never heard in ANYONE’S voice. I couldn’t even reply, though I imagined an exclamation point was actually visible above my head. And apparently his extra surge of adrenaline kick-started P.J.’s Can Do attitude. He somehow distracted the rat from the front and GRABBED the tray from the back, flipping this beast into a Williams Sonoma bag. (Do you know what the term “bobo” means? Look it up. Sigh.)

Back to the rat. P.J., grasping the squirming bag o’ rodent, walked it into the alley and Took Care Of The Situation.

I love him. In fact, I’ve never loved him more. I thought I was above blatant shows of machismo. False.

My hero then came back into the house and cleaned the kitchen, removing all traces of awfulness. Apologies were made to the cats, assuring them that we never doubted their mouser prowess. Side note- (this whole blog should be called ‘side note’)- Ender, the tabby, had been waking us in the middle of the night for about week, yowling and knocking things over in a very un-Enderlike manner. We, of course, yelled at him and hurled epithets like “bad” and “sleep-hater,” not realizing that our long-suffering Good Cat was trying to tell us of the Chihuahua-sized beastie in the kitchen. We’ll believe him from now on. Last night was the first night in weeks where he slept on our bed. We took that as a good sign.

Oh, and the stove towel? P.J. picked it up, post-Benny Hill episode, to find a HOLE THE SIZE OF LAKE ERIE. Yep, eaten through in an hour.

Crisis averted, we checked on the baby (still asleep), checked on the cats (pride wounded but blood disease-free) and settled in for some Mario Kart. Nothing soothes the nerves like Toad n’ Yoshi.

I guess all’s well that ends well- the lower level bathroom is really pretty AND rat-tunnel-free. Plus, if rodents talk- and we KNOW that they do- then we’ve just secured our place as THE home with which not to mess on Troy Street.

Actually, scratch that.

With our neighbors? We’d probably come in fourth.



Speak Your Mind