I became a little anxious and had suspicions we had an unwanted guest when I thought I heard noises coming from the ceiling in our bedroom. I couldn't tell if it was on the roof, or in the attic space. But, it was brief, and I didn't hear anything for several nights after that. So, I figured it must have been coming from the roof. One morning a few days later, however, Garth was finishing his shower when I got up (we were having to use the shower down the hall from our bedroom because the shower in our bedroom was out of commission). He said, "I thought you must be up because I could hear you moving around." Well....I didn't think I was being THAT noisy. I forgot about it....until I got in the shower and heard noises coming from the wall between the shower and the closet which is next to the shower. The noises were LOUD. And they DEFINITELY were NOT coming from the bedroom. Whatever was making that noise was CLOSE.
I decided to be sort of brave (I'm not very brave at all when it comes to bugs, rodents, snakes...you get the picture) and I slowly, and cautiously opened the bottom part of the closet. There were some little pieces of sheet rock, but I attributed that to having happened when a new water heater had recently been installed. But, I wasn't brave enough to look in the top part of the closet.
Being the good husband and brave fellow he is, Garth looked into the top part of the closet AFTER I had departed the shower room and was far, far away in our bedroom. Good thing, too, that I was far, far away. Because what Garth saw in the top part of the closet did NOT make me very happy. He opened the closet door just in time to see a gray behind and long tail disappearing into a hole in the wall, headed towards the bottom part of the closet. Apparently when the new water heater got installed, the gaping hole(s) were left open to the underneath of our house, and THAT is how we came to have this unwanted and uninvited guest.
We shut the closet tight, closed the bathroom door, and luckily for us the shower in our bedroom got fixed that very day, and we no longer needed to use the shower down the hall. We hoped if the rat could not get out of that part of the house, he would vacate the premises, and never be heard from again.
Unfortunately, we underestimated this rat's resolve to get INSIDE the apartment. A couple of nights later I was sitting up in bed reading, with only the reading lamp on, when I heard this bumping, chewing, pushing noise coming from the ceiling in Garth's closet - where the cover to the crawl space to the attic was. I woke Garth, turned on all the lights, and to my horror found a HOLE in the corner of the crawl space cover. YIKES!!! What do you do when you find a rat trying to get into your home in the middle of the night? Well....there's not much you CAN do. So, I did the only thing I could think of.
I found my flashlight, turned it on, propped it up so the light shone on the hole, thereby HOPEFULLY, scaring the rat away......and sat in my bed until I was too tired to stay awake.
Since things were busy in the office the next few days we were unable to get to town to buy rat traps. And the flashlight seemed to be working. No sounds coming from the ceiling for two nights in a row. Good news!!!
He must have been one brave rat, however. Again, I was sitting up reading in bed with only the reading lamp on, when I heard a soft thud come from the direction of Garth's closet. I looked up in time to see that little stinker briefly resting on the upper shelf of the closet before scurrying down Garth's shirts and hiding somewhere within the closet. He'd come through the hole!!! Flashlight on and everything!!! Garth responded quickly to the pounding on his back and my shrill shrieking. He got a stick and began hitting the luggage in the bottom of our closet, and moving the luggage around, hoping to drive the rat out so he could bring about it's swift demise, while I sat with my toes tucked up under me on the bed. And the covers not even CLOSE to touching the floor so that little weasel would have no possible (at least no EASY way) of climbing up onto my bed. I don't know where that rat went, but Garth couldn't find him in the closet. NOT something I wanted to hear. So, I spent another night sitting up in bed waiting for exhaustion to overtake me, but this time knowing that little vermin was somewhere IN my apartment.
The next day we closed up the office and went rat trap shopping. The choices were......a big, huge, mouse trap looking thing (I could just envision the awful mess that thing would cause if the rat got caught in it), or a sticky trap, which is basically a large piece of cardboard with a very, VERY sticky substance adhered to it. We opted for the sticky trap. The problem with the sticky traps is that once you catch the rat, it cries and cries, and you have to be quick to kill it, because if it's a strong rat it can pull itself off. But, those were the only two options to us. I just knew that in the middle of the night we'd be wakened from a dead sleep to the pitiful cries of that stupid rat. That was definitely NOT something I wanted to do. But, my desire for NO rats was stronger than my compassion. So, we put those sticky traps everywhere.
In Garth's closet....
In the bathroom closet where the rat had first been seen....
In my pantry... (I envisioned our rat house guest singing and dancing Templeton-like - Templeton the rat from Charlotte's web - upon finding himself in a rat's paradise, and gorging himself on all of those chocolate chips, nuts, and candy bars we give to the missionaries for having their MQs clean, I had stored in my pantry).
After several days of avoiding our traps, we decided to get SERIOUS. Garth asked around, and found a place that sold rat poison. We were done messing around. No more Mister Nice Guy. That rat was soon to be a goner.
We put that rat poison in more places than we'd even put the sticky traps. And then we waited. Several days went by. Nothing. But, we did notice he was nibbling on the rat poison. YES!!! Now my worst fear was that he was going to die in a wall, or in the attic, and he was going to stink up the place.
Then one morning we woke up to a ruckus that sounded like it was coming from the kitchen. It sounded like things were getting pushed around, being dropped on the floor, being torn into. Oh, no!! Was that rat in my pantry? And if so, what in the heck was he doing? I cautiously made my way down the hall, peeked around the corner into the kitchen....and the noise was coming from outside. HUGE sigh of relief!!! But, what was making all that noise so early in the morning? I sneaked a peek between the window louvers.....well, you know the rest of THAT story.
Later that day Garth had to run home from the office for a few minutes. When he came back he said, "The things I do for you because I love you." Upon entering our bedroom he glanced towards the bathroom, and what did he find lying dead by the garbage can? YES!!!!!! That stinking rat. And Garth, being the nice guy he is, and because he loves me, and because he knows my aversion to all things creepy, crawly, skittery, slithery, knew I would not be able to handle the sight of that dead rat. So, he got some paper towels, picked it up, carried it ALL the way outside, and threw it in the garbage can.
Whewwww.....NO MORE RAT. Happy Day!!!
I did, however, have to go look at it in the garbage can. Make sure it really was dead. That thing was HUGE! The orange thing it's lying next to is a grocery sack. The body of the rat is nearly as long as the bottom of the grocery bag. And the tail was longer than the body. EEEEEWWWW!!!!!! Glad that thing is GONE!!!!!