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nightmare on Elm Street

By Friday, January 31, 2014 ,

Owning a home is not all about paint colors and design magazines.  It's not about pretty floors or competition winning gardens.  Well, maybe it is about those things, but not yet.  For us, it has been about cleaning, banishing pests and making sure things like sinks and washers are in working order.

We had planned to have the place fumigated before we moved in, but the prospect of dead rats hidden within the house stopped us in our tracks.  Clearly, due to the excessive amount of rat droppings, we had a rat problem.  Yet, several traps and weeks later we hadn't caught a thing.

We had begun to think, "hey, maybe when we sealed up the house all vermin were trapped outside."  Twice we rescheduled the fumigation and still no rats caught.  Then in the space of two nights a trap was tripped and then another - but no rat!  Just setting the traps and feeling the force and spring of them made me wonder how it was possible.  But, somehow it was.

The day the fumigation was set to start I headed up to the attic to finish screening off one last vent.  Working crouched down, balanced on the rafters in the dark humid attic is not the way I'd really choose to spend a day off work.  Darn it for being the smallest one in the family - well among the human family members.  That silly cat of ours hardly seems to pull his weight around here when it comes to home repairs, but maybe he is keeping the rats out of the house. While talking to Lukas through the attic door after he'd passed me the knee pads something long and skinny caught my eye.  It dangled down through the opening.  And then IT MOVED!

I shrieked while Lukas hollered at me to use my words.  "RAT!" was about all I could get out.  Inches from where Lukas just had his head was a big rat.  The thing was pressed tight against one of the rafters near the opening that led into the house.  And it didn't run away or move that much so I assumed it was injured - though I couldn't see any actual injury.  

Lukas grabbed the trash can and passed a long fire poker we'd inherited with the house up to me.  With coordinated movements I guided the rat towards the trash can Lukas held below.  But the rat had other thoughts.  It clung for dear life to the wood around the attic opening, by-passed the trash can and almost fell all the way down into the house.  We quickly regrouped {with much yelling} and tried again without any luck.  This time the rat moved away from the opening which made it impossible for me to guide it along. If I had any guts I would have {with my gloved hand} picked up that sucker and put it straight into the trash.  But I have no guts and what would we have done with a live rat in the trash?

Instead, this story ends with us leaving the rat where it was.  It's labored breathing made me think it wouldn't make it much longer and the fumigation was due to start later that day.  Either way it would be dead soon.  And then I felt bad - bad for the rat that it had to go that way.  Sorry that we had to put it through whatever pain it was experiencing.  Sad and disgusted all at once.    

Now, even several days later I shiver remembering the incident.  It's the stuff of nightmares.  Hopefully, future stories for the Little Blue House won't involve killing living things or yucky rats.  

Other little bits of my life...


  1. Great telling of an icky story, Megan! Rats are no fun - ours were in the basement.

  2. rat!!! now i'm gonna have nightmares! you are so brave to be that close to it! so happy for your new house megan!!

  3. p.s. that last post was from me (emily) i guess i'm logged in as stitch market right now.

  4. EEEEEKKK!!! Mice and rats creep me out! And I bet it's not funny now but someday down the road you will laugh when you recount this story. :)