Monday, August 07, 2006

Oh Gross.

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 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."
Me: "..."
Boys: "..."
Me: "What??"

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."
Me: "Um...yeah?"
C: "Remember those corn muffins we made last night?" (Which we put in a ziploc bag and left on the stove.)
Me: "Yeah...?"
C: "..."
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.


At 10:47 PM, August 07, 2006, Blogger Lily Graypure said...

That's a special kind of ew.

At 11:57 PM, August 07, 2006, Anonymous ~M said...

Use peanut butter in the trap.

At 12:50 AM, August 08, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dust some flour or something on the floor so you can see how big the footprints are. Maybe you have raccoons!

At 7:58 AM, August 08, 2006, Anonymous gnawing betty said...

careful, actually, because rats are aggressive. if startles they will run AT you. no kidding. also, where you see one rat you likely have a dozen. that singular rat isn't eating all of the peppers, he's bringing them home to the wife and kids. also, if the rat go on a countertop, you need to disinfect everything. stat! rats crawl through sewer pipes, down the metro tracks, outside...almost all of them have parasites and many carry diseases (or have them in their poop) that are serious to humans. call an exterminator -- store bought traps are not good enough; the rat's are smart enough to get by them. plus, you need to deal with the whole colony not just a singular one. clean the whole house, don't leave any food out, call an exterminator. oh, and don't walk barefoot.

At 9:03 AM, August 08, 2006, Anonymous Kriston said...

If you really want to know what you're dealing with, here is the trap you want to set. It certainly sounds like a rat, especially given the establishments to which you live so close. Could be an especially hungry mouse,tho.

At 10:40 AM, August 08, 2006, Blogger TSC Girl said...

It's really not funny, and if I were in your shoes I would be FREAKING, but seriously "toe to snout w/ a rat in my skivvies" had me in stitches. I am sorry you are going through this, but thanks for the laugh anyway.

At 10:37 AM, August 09, 2006, Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

Hire a professional. You don't want to mess around with rats. The city is full of them, so it's not uncommon. Yikes, a jalapeno eating rat? Definitely I would call in the big guns!

At 1:39 PM, August 09, 2006, Anonymous Roonie said...

Gnawing Betty was spot on, if you ask me. The rat has definitely been all over your counters, and although it does belong to the animal species (which I so strongly defend), I won't deny that they're filthy dirty. But I still say borrow a cat. My cat has never killed a rat, but he will chase it until it goes apeshit...and right out of the house!

At 1:48 PM, August 09, 2006, Blogger Heather said...

Betty and Roonie - you guys are trying to give me nightmares and phobias, is that it? But thanks for enlightening me to the fact that, you know, rats are gross, heh.


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