Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The ballad of Nicodemus

Do you remember that cat I mentioned a couple weeks ago? The one that Misty adopted from the clinic to catch mice. Yeah, we haven't seen her since the first night we brought her home.

For the past couple days this week, I've been hearing noise coming from under the refridgerator. Since there was a mouse in the grill this summer and we've seen dead mice in the driveway a few times (courtesy of other neighborhood cats, not the aforementioned deserter), it wasn't a stretch for me to guess that we had mice living under our fridge.

I got a coat hanger and swivled it around, but all that came out was a plastic lid and a bunch of dust bunnies. No mice came out, though. I ignored the noise and went to bed.

Yesterday I was getting set to mow the lawn when I heard the sounds again. I hadn't put too much effort into my search before because Misty had been standing there, and I knew she'd freak out if a mouse ran across the floor (it sure was funny when she discovered the one in the grill, but she's refused to use the grill ever since). This time, though, I was home by myself and feeling a little more determined.

I pulled the fridge out from the wall. As I did, a rat ran out. To me (who did not expect to see a rat), he seemed huge, though I'm sure he's not as hefty in reality as I now imagine him in my head. He scampered across the kitchen floor and up under the edge of the cabinets below the sink (where I assume there's a hole, but I'll be damned if I'm going to stick my head down there to check).

Now I understand why Misty has refused to use the grill. For the rest of the day, I did my best to avoid the kitchen. When I did go in there, I made sure I was wearing jeans and thick, leather, rat-stomping shoes. Misty wanted to cook chili for dinner, but I insisted on going out to eat instead. When she asked if I'd wash the dishes for her, I refused. I'm not hanging around in that kitchen if it's not absolutely necessary.

Like the image of the rat in my head, I know that my cautions are unnecessary. I know he's not going to come out while I'm around unless (like before) I start to uproot his home. I know all the crap about "he's more afraid of you than you are of him." Let's just call it even. I'm not scared of rats, I'm scared of a live, free-roaming, wild rat in my kitchen.

On the bright side, I don't think it's been there for very long. Not only have I never heard it before this week, we've never seen any droppings before this morning. Hopefully, this is just one rodent who snuck in to escape the cold.

Orkin is headed over this morning. Their coverage includes roaches, ants, fleas, spiders, earwigs, centipedes, etc. in addition to rodents, so that sounded pretty good to me. It's funny; one roach or even one roach every week wouldn't prompt me to call an exterminator. I'd just put out bait and make sure the house was cleaner. But one rat, and that whole do-it-yourself attitude goes out the window. I'm not messing with this.

If you'll excuse me, I'm off to watch The Secret of Nimh while I wait for Orkin to arrive.

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