I first smelled it in my bathroom right above my toilet about 5 years ago. "Okay, it is way past cleaning time" I thought. I cleaned the toilet. The smell persisted. I tried refreshing with glade spray. No help. The smell was getting worse. I added bleach. No improvment. I was a woman obsessed. "What's that stink?!!" I finally realized the smell was coming from above. In the attic. It was putrid. It was dead. It was a rat.
One nice thing about being a girl is that you can delegate the unpleasant tasks to the man. If he refuses you can use terms such as chicken, girl, and weakling. Fortunately, my man is a man's man and he was going to prove himself as a hero. He armed himself with a mask, rubber gloves, and tongs as he climbed into the attic to claim his prize. I did not actually see this vile rodent. But I saw the triple bagged grocery sacks as it was hung from John's gloved hand like a sack of potatoes. It was huge! And the smell was overwhelming.
The second time I smelled it I actually suspected it may happen.
One day I was driving in my SUV when the hood started smoking. At first I thought it was exhaust from the car because of cold weather. But then I remembered I live in a place as hot as hell and that it couldn't have been the exhaust. The car next to me honked. I rolled down my window to a little old grandma who said with concern in her voice, "Honey, I think your car is on fire." She was a sweet lady but you never want to hear your car is on fire from anyone, no matter how kind their voice is when they say it. So, I did the sensible thing and drove another mile to my friend's home. I didn't want to be on the main road right? I'd rather drive my burning car with my daughter and son in it to a friendly house. Right? It's better to have friends call the fire department instead of hoping strangers will call them for you. Well, I popped the hood and to my releif it was not on fire, just smoking. A lot. John came to pick me up and after examining the car he realized the tube thingy that holds the antifreeze (why do we need antifreeze in a place as hot as hell anyway?) We were relieved because my man is very handy and he can fix tubey things so he can save money to buy me flowers and chocolate and things.
Well, we decided to wait until the next day to fix the car. John woke up early to play mechanic. He went to the garage and tried to start our other car. Nothing. Nada. What bad luck! Two cars broken in two days. What are the odds? John popped the hood and discovered that the antifreeze tubey thing and exploded. What are the odds? Well, my husband is a college graduate and he took a statistics course and he knows that the odds are very unlikely! Under further examination he discovered chewing marks and rat poop. Yes, two cars in two days destroyed by a foul vermin. What are the odds?
At about this time we began to hear scratching in our walls at night. It would wake me as my heart was pounding and I tried to decide if it was something in my walls or someone trying to break into my home. The insanity had begun.
We decided to leave the rat a nice bowl of antifreeze. Obviously it liked antifreeze and it's poison, right? Well, apparantly rats only like antifreeze if it's located in a tubey thing in your car. The rat kept waking me up at night.
Well, my man's man declaired war. Ever night he would look through the garage for it. He was even armed with a gun much to my dismay. One night he swung open the garage door and there it was. Looking at me! This was no little Tom and Jerry mouse. This brown filthy thing was the size of a large kitten! And it was looking at me! I don't know if it was unfortunate, or fortunate, but John did not have his gun. The rat squirmed away.
Now I declaired war. I called every exterminator in the phone book. Did you know exterminators don't do rats? Isn't that a job requirement? It should be in their job description. But it's not. They say it's because they are to hard to catch. I think they're big fat chickens. I even called one of them a chicken trying to coerce them into doing the dirty little dead. But I failed. I was on my own. It was me and the rat.
We put out poison. On the packaging it warned that rats that eat poison will crawl into your house, die, and start to smell. So we had to decide if we wanted to become a raving lunatic by it crawling around in our walls, or releasing harmful toxins into your home after it dies. By this time I chose the harmful toxins because I wanted it dead. Death to the rat! (Sorry Elizabeth, I know you feel all creatures are gifts from God, but PETA bite me, this rat was going down! So, we left out the poison. And as predicted it died in our attic. We began to smell the all to familiar smell and John bravely doned his gloves, mask, and tongs and retrieved that creature from hell.
We had another stinky incident that I'll keep short because by now you get the picture. Rat, Katrine no likey, smells, exhume body. But this time John was out of town on business. It was up to me. I no likey! I even called my brother for help. He told me I was crazy for calling him because he lived 3 states away. He said I was a "chicken, a girl, and a weakling. Put on your big girl panties and find it!" So I did what I should. I waited until John got home. After punching a few holes in the wall because we thought it was in the wall, he found it in the attic.
We began to make our home like Fort Knox. We plugged holes, wrapped wires, and we tried to imagine how we would get into a nice clean home if we were a rat. I finally felt safe.
Which leads us to today. The smell is back. The insanity begins again. I want my mommy. But I am happy to say that after calling John four times to come home and get it, and threatening him with divorce if he didn't protect his family from the dead monster, he came home and found it. Yes, in the attic. Our home is not Fort Knox, it is Hotel to All Huge Rats. Unfortunately, the smell is lingering. We have the windows open and we are going out to eat for dinner. It's impossible to eat tacos as you inhale rat fumes.
Please, please, know that my house is not dirty. I may have toys and clean laundry, and dried up play dough on the table. But it's not dirty enough to invite foul creatures into my territory! And PITA, bite me.