20 September 2009

Now the Story Can Be Told

I have been living in fear and disgust since the weekend of Labour Day, when a most disturbing event took away my peace of mind.

I saw a rat. In. My. Apartment.

There were actually three sightings. Once from the corner of my eye, the kind of thing that you're not really sure is really there, but you could swear you saw something. I pinned my hopes on mouse, but thought it was a rather large mouse.

The next was unmistakeable and the most disturbing, as is zoomed across the stove and counter and down behind the fridge. Enraged, I moved the fridge forward a bit, grabbed the broom and did my best 'crazy person gonna squish that animal with a broom' moves. I heard, but did not see its quick dash to freedom.

Then the investigator hat came out. I found a little pile of crackers behind the fridge, which I quickly disposed of, and then I found the emptied box of crackers on the counter. I switched into panic cleaning mode (with some help — thanks Andrew! — and did that kitchen purge of clutter that I should have done long, long ago. A was most helpful in giving the critter a name — Benoit — which I later amended to Benoit XVII, successor to the current pope, perhaps? After Andrew left, I did the cleaning part and now have clean top surfaces, at least, and way more space without the clutter. I should note that every time I walked through my dining room, in which is located my stereo permanently fixed on CBC Radio One, there was almost invariably some kind of rat story being told, usually something about the province of Saskatchewan having an explosion in rat population. Or there would be the program As It Happens making dozens of rat-based puns. All a little too much for me to handle.

Sighting number three was a little foray back from checking on the state of its cracker stash (gone). I spent a rather sleepless night, considering that my bedroom is not far enough away from the scene of the crime.

I called the exterminator. Because my landlord was out of town, I got to choose, so of course called the cute one we used at my old work. (Bonus!) He had a look around, didn't see a lot of traces (so it hadn't been around long?) and left some lovely blue blocks of poison behind the major appliances, with some spares for my use.

I spent the day that day working at home in the front of my apartment. I happened to wander back to the kitchen and froze as I got close. One of the blue blocks of rat poison was now in the middle of the kitchen floor! I had a brief flash of a rat on its hind legs, throwing the block at me and telling me to eat the darn thing! Some quick sleuthing revealed that it was the one from behind the washer, so I put it back.

The next day, returning from work, I checked the block placement. The popular one from behind the washer was gone! Nowhere to be seen! I replaced it with a fresh one from my supply. I discovered the next morning that it was not, in fact, gone. It had been moved behind the fridge. Where once there was one, now there were two! (So glad I didn't see that the night before; I had slept on the basis of a rat gagging on poison somewhere outside of my apartment.)

Two days later, I went to see a movie in the evening and wasn't able to check until I got home much later. Big surprise! Nothing behind the washer. Nothing behind the fridge. That would be three missing blocks of rat poison. Surely that would kill it! I replaced them and went to bed with mixed feelings (yes, poison maybe consumed, but it had been there that day!).

A week went by with no sounds, no sightings, and no more moving blocks of poison.

The exterminator came by today for a follow-up visit and we found a few things. We did find one of the 'missing' blocks under the fridge, chewed upon, which is good. We also found the hole into which the rat was escaping, which had been a big mystery. (It was under the toe-kick of the cupboard, at the edge where there was just a filler board to make the cupboard flush with the wall.). Best of all, he found a body downstairs in the neighbours' outdoor closet thingy. Phew! I am allowing myself to sleep by believing that the body was the rat that was in my apartment and that there were no others.

But I'm watching. I'm monitoring the blocks. And I found some dollar-store steel wool to plug the opening of that hole. So I hope my ordeal is over.

And as for Benoit — and I do mean the pope this time — did you realize that his family name is…RATzinger?!!


Terry Pigeon said...

Lovely story. It reminded me of a couple of years ago when there were 2 baby rats in our apartment. Fortunately, I wasn't home when Jean-Marc was finally able to deal with them. I came in the house one evening after a meeting to see the mattress in the hallway and the bedroom all upside down. He had found the two of them and disposed of them. never had a problem since.

To top it off the presence of the rats was discovered by our cat - Her presence obviously didn't seem to bother the rats.

I think the name Benoit is very appropriate. I do notice the resemblance between the two Benoits - or is it the same?

David McHep C said...

I loved the pictures in your rat story. Good thing it didn't die under an appliance or in the walls. When I was young we poisoned one and it died under our hot water heater. My parents tried pushing it out with sticks but it was wedged under there pretty good. They bloat after they die. So we had the smell of decomposing rodent for a while. Having a cute exterminator is bonus.