We keep a bowl on the kitchen counter for the garden veggies. It's just cereal bowl, a pretty cobalt blue one. This weekend, much like in this photo, it was filled with most of a bulb of garlic and seven jalapenos. No tomatoes this time.
While walking past the bowl on Saturday morning, I noticed that one of the jalapenos was half gone. That's not very unusual; Joe occasionally cuts off half for whatever he's eating, and leaves the rest in the bowl. I prefer that cut veggies go in the fridge, but you know, it's not a big deal. I walked on.
Later I walked by again and noticed that...something wasn't quite right. I picked up the half-gone pepper and realized it wasn't a clean slice. It had been nibbled. Then I see the one next to it...in the middle there was a hole chewed out. And on another. Shit! We have bugs! Crap. But I don't see any, anywhere in the kitchen. I was kind of busy and figured that not all seven of them were bad, so I left them there to 1) ask the roommates later if they'd seen bugs and 2) take a closer look and keep the good ones.
I forgot about it and went to bed on Saturday. Sunday morning I noticed all the peppers were gone. I thought, oh, one of the boys must have noticed and thrown them out, oh well. I ran into them both in the kitchen later and asked them if they'd thrown away the peppers, as a preamble to asking about the possible bug problem.
Me: "So hey, you guys tossed the jalapenos?"
Boys: (look at each other) "No, we thought you did."
A closer examination of the bowl revealed a stem, the only evidence, which we picked up with tweezers and bagged for forensics to examine. We then had a high-energy conversation that involved lots of "oh my gods" and "GROSSes" concerning whether we had giant mutant cockroaches or...a rat. We briefly considered vampires, because the garlic sat there untouched. Secretly, all three of us thought the others were crazy. No animal eats seven jalapeno peppers. Someone must have tossed them and forgot.
This morning Christopher appears in my office doorway (yes, we work together now, but that's a different story).
C: "I have bad news."
C: "Remember those corn muffins we made last night?" (Which we put in a ziploc bag and left on the stove.)
Me (light turning on): "OHMYGOD OHMYGOD! WE HAVE A RAT!!"
Christopher said he found the bag chewed through and only a pile of crumbs where the three muffins had been. This is so unbelievably gross I want to die. We're praying it's just a mouse, because it is totally inconceivable there is a rat in our house. I know Mr. Happy (formerly of the Happy Deli Chinese Take Out) used to trek around our garden at night, surprising us and our house guests during the occasional backyard bar-b-que, but there's no fucking way he got inside the house.
Also, that means that a rodent really did pack away SEVEN JALAPENO PEPPERS! Are we living near a nuclear facility that has turned the vile little animals into SuperRats with SuperRat constitutions? Are they alien rats? Are they...Texas rats?? Okay, I know it could be hoarding them, but still, that's a lot of hot peppers.
Nevertheless, Christopher bought a rat trap and mouse trap at the hardware store this evening. We're putting the mouse trap out first, because neither of us wants to wake up to freshly dead rat tomorrow. (Not that we want to wake up to freshly dead mouse...but if we have to pick one, c'mon.) My second biggest concern, besides the fact we have a rodent at all, is that we have to walk through the kitchen in order to get to our bathroom, and I quite frequently make a 2 or 4am jaunt down to it. NOT ANYMORE. I will wet my freaking bed before I come toe-to-snout with a rat in my skivvies. UGH!
I told C we should leave the dog downstairs and get him to finally earn his keep around here. C rightly predicted, "You just want him to die of a rat bite." Well, you know, it would be a valiant end to an otherwise horrifically-behaved dog's life. I'm just saying.
I'll let you all know how it goes in the morning. Any other rodent-disposing advice is greatly appreciated.