I Smell a Rat!

And it’s taken over my life!

Friends, there’s an intruder in my midst, determined to make my life a walking catastrophe—or should I say, a crawling one?

Would you believe, rats in the belfry? Heck no!

You didn't think I'd include a photo of a real rat, did you? The Boomtown Rats are the only kind I'll tolerate on this blog.

Rats in my garage is more like it! Well, perhaps only one rat. Nevertheless, this opportunist has honed in on my living quarters and decided he wants a piece of the action. Or maybe just a piece of pie.

In any case, I am beside myself. I cannot sleep, nor can I watch my favorite TV shows, for I am haunted by the evil within. The menacing figure that has absconded with my garage and turned my life upside down, giving me no choice but to have to park my car on the street.

This creature, whose nefarious presence makes my skin crawl, has left me with a bruise on my arm the size of Rhode Island.  Not because it pounced on me and had me in its clutches while it wreaked havoc in my hair. No. It’s because I fell hard in my wild attempt to jump into my car and make a hasty exit from the garage. I missed the front seat by mere inches, plunging onto the cement floor and I swear I could hear my hairy arch nemesis cackling with maniacal laughter, as my body was wracked in pain and the bruise turned into a humongous lump, the size of New Jersey.

Because of this creature, I am now forced to reconfigure my life, one that no longer includes use of my garage, as it now belongs to he, who shall not be named. Though, to be honest, I am now calling him Blackout, since I’m pretty sure he surfaced in my garage during the San Diego 11-hour Blackout of September 8, 2011. That was the day I had to keep the garage door open indefinitely on account that the garage door opener was not functioning.  (For those of you who do not recall, you can read my post, “I Survived the Blackout of 2011—and 1965!”) Obviously, Blackout lost his way in the darkness.  The following morning, I entered the garage and discovered him, scurrying from under my car and making a beeline to the game closet. Perhaps he was in the mood for a round of Scrabble? Maybe so, but the site of him was enough to give me an apoplectic fit.

Thanks to Blackout—or Blackie, as I have just nicknamed him—I have slowly moved my possessions out of the garage and found new places to store them within my home and at Goodwill. (Yes, it turns out, that if you store your stuff at Goodwill, it’s free! Though they did forget to give me a claim check. Still, I imagine I can get it back, when I’m ready, by showing them the receipt I received.)

If my rat was an animated one, he might have looked like Remy, the rat in "Ratatouille." But instead of waving, he'd be thumbing his nose at me.

And just in case I forget that I can no longer use my garage, I have been plastering signs all over the garage doors.  These signs read,

“Warning: Keep Out!”

“Rat inside.”

“This property is condemned.”

“The Outer Limits.”

“Enter, or don’t, at your own risk!”

“This Means You!”

Of course, don’t be fooled by those naysayers who claim “Blackie” has left the premises. Like the exterminator, who stopped by and couldn’t find any sign of him. We have two traps set and so far Blackie has managed to escape captivity. The exterminator is convinced that any rat worth his weight, would have fallen for one of the traps by now, assuming he was still around.  But I say to the exterminator man,

“Hah! Not Blackie! He can outsmart any trap!”

My gardener says Blackie is more afraid of me, than I of him. But I don’t believe that for a minute, seeing how I haven’t heard him scream when I’ve entered the garage.

So for now, the garage is off limits to me. And, to Henry, too. When all is said and done, what’s the one thing I’ve learned? That Henry, my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, is no help, whatsoever.

Henry, who descends from royalty, does not consider it his job to rid our home of pests. For him, it has been business as usual.  So while Henry’s napping and enjoying his snacks, he is completely cavalier about my stress attacks and occasional screeches.  For him, it’s just another day in the ‘hood. While, for me, it’s more like Nightmare on Elm Street.

So tell me, have you ever had to confront a rat?  There’s nothing worse. Except maybe a rat in your garage on your birthday. Yeah. Some birthday this is.

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37 thoughts on “I Smell a Rat!

  1. We have lots of rats in our yard. Lola is very good at chasing them and she’s even caught a few. The traps are not so effective. I’ve been told to try baiting the traps with sunflower seeds, but that doesn’t seem to be any more interesting to the rats than the peanut butter or cheese that we tried. Maybe Lola and I need to start patrolling with a purpose every night.

  2. I agree with the exterminator Blackie is gone. Leave a small bowl of dog food in garage. If it is not touched in a day or two Blackie is gone. Also I can show you how to shut your garage door manually when the power is out. Don’t want you to get another pet. Raccoon, possum, or snake

    • I’ve left the traps with peanut butter in them. I’ve even added some jelly, and a loaf of Wonder bread on the side, with a plate and napkin, too. Still, no sign of Blackie. Yes, come show me how to use garage door manually! It’s a matter of life and life! :)

  3. Despite being in a “good” neighborhood, the second apartment I had after I started working had a mouse — I know because the blasted thing scooted right across my foot as I was brushing my teeth! Horrifying, huh? I raced into the bedroom and leaped onto the bed, but he’d already succeeded in terrifying me. Not to be outsmarted by a rat, I drove to the store, purchased a trap, and caught that little sucker! Good luck catching yours!

  4. Gross! So sorry! I can picture you taking that nasty fall :( Hope the arm heals soon! We’ve had mice before but so far no rats. We live by a tomato field and my neighbors have had trouble with rats, but not us so far. We do have two cats but I don’t know if that is what keeps them away. I like the idea of the dog food. Maybe Blackie really did depart? Fingers crossed! Loved this post at your expense!

  5. Do you want to borrow our cat? She finds any and all rats. Seriously, you need a Rat Zapper. This is the only thing that’s worked for us. Bryan has caught way too many rats to mention. It’s an electronic device that you put food in it and the rats go inside to get the food and it zaps them dead. You can get them at Home Depot or you can borrow ours. Talk to Bryan for more info.

  6. Borrow a cat. Many years ago, when my husband left me with nothing but a child and the rent was $3 less than my income, we moved into a cheap three room flat with wood rats. Of course, I did not know it had rats until I heard them chewing and splintering wood in the night. I was terrified! A friend’s sister loaned me a cat. When he brought it to the door, I could not believe that this old fat, declawed cat could catch a rat. What was he to do? Box them to death? But I followed her instructions – set out water, give him full access to the building, but do not feed the cat until he eats all the rats. Two weeks later, I started setting out dry cat food. Old Sam rejected it for a few more days. I never saw him catch or eat a rat, nor see a bone leftover, but the chewing stopped and the cat looked fatter. ENJOY YOUR BIRTHDAY!!! And may your arm heal quickly.

  7. We had one in our garage recently, too, and since that is where my laundry is, it’s a problem. Plus someone told me they will go into your washer/dryer pipes and mess things up. I need to set a trap but I’m terrified to actually have to find and dispose of one! Leah, I may need to check out the zapper.

    • Yes, my laundry room is in my garage too. And I have big nightmares of it runnng over my feet. Which is why I’m washing everything by hand in the kitchen sink. I may even start taking my clothes to the river to wash on the rocks. Only since there’s no river near by, I’ll just take my clothes to the neighborhood swimming pool. :)

  8. Here is some reallllly bad news for you. If Blackie has a girl friend, beware. Rats are sex maniacs and will have sex up to 20 times a day. Female rats average 35.7 babies a year, and in some conditions (not suggesting your garage is one of those conditions, but you never know) they can give birth to 20 babies every thtee weeks. Trust me, I am not making this up. I am currently reading At Home: A History of Private Life by Bill Bryson and he has about 5 pages of ratty facts.

  9. Entertaining post Monica :>) We’ve had rats before, but they always stayed outside the house and garage. Don’t know what I’d do if that crossed the threshold. Maybe Blackout just came to wish you happy birthday and he’ll leave at midnight tonight!

    And PS – why do I have to log in every time I respond to your posts? What am I doing wrong?

  10. I FEEL YOUR PAIN! I have what some consider “an over the top phobia” of all things rodent. Even the photo in your post made my skin crawl. Aren’t all phobias over the top? Anyway, no, I have never had to confront a rat. My phobia doesn’t allow for confrontation only running like an Olympic sprinter. I do have to see them constantly in the NYC subway… can that count as confrontation?

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

    …found you on Lady Bloggers.

    • OMG, you see them constantly in the subway? Now would that be on the tracks, platform or in the actual train. Because, if it’s the last, I would absolutely die. My phobia is so HUGE that I once had a nightmare that a friend had invited me to dinner and when I got there, she was frying rats. And I could hear their screams as she flipped them over in the pan. It was horrible. This dream is more than 20 years old, but it still haunts me. Yikes.

      Thank you for the birthday wishes–and for stopping by from LBS. I just love the tea party!

  11. I feel for you. We had the same thing in our garage last year. I think “she” went in there though to have a nice safe place to have her babies! In the end I think we caught six total! We knew it was rats because they kept taking the PB and tripping the tiny mouse traps! Once we got the giant traps we started rounding them up. My laundry is in the garage so I still had to go in there. I was on pins and needles for quite sometime.

    • Wow, taking the PB and tripping the tiny mouse traps. Those fiends are very clever. Thank you for letting me know you were on pins and needles for some time. That’s exactly how I feel. I dread going in to do my laundry. I feel like I have to suit up, where diving gear or something, because I keep imagining this rat running over my feet, or up my leg. I don’t want to feel it on me so wearing some large protective gear is the only way I can fathom going back in. ;)

      Thanks for stopping by!

  12. Oooooh! That would freak me out! I have never had a rat encounter, but we do have mice from time to time (that’s what happens when your house is about 120 years old). It’s funny how mice and rats can look so cute at the pet store……but not at home! – – I’m stopping by from the LBS tea party.

  13. Monica, I literally howled whilst reading this post! OMG, funny! It’s incredible how nearly identical my reaction would have been to yours. I’m deadly afraid of rats and the thought that one is anywhere near gives me goosebumps–the bad kind! Poor Henry! He’s too much of a gentleman to terrorize the rat. Roxy is completely smitten with Henry’s cavalier attitude! Having experienced the rat dilemma when I lived in the Caribbean, the only advice I can give you is pray. Pray that the little bugger moves in with someone else! :)

    • It was awful. We think he may be gone, but I’m keeping my guard up. You should see me. Every time I open the garage door I scream, with the hope that I’ll scare him straight into leaving me. Frankly, I can’t take it!

      I’m thrilled that Roxy admires Henry. Those two were meant for each other! ;)

  14. I used to house and dog sit for friends. They had 2 huge dogs so their water bowl was a big plastic bucket. The kitchen and bedroom were on the bottom floor of a Brooklyn brownstone and you could see into the kitchen from the bed. One summer someone demolished a building on their block, one that had been vacant for years. In the middle of the night I woke up because I heard a sound I couldn’t identify. I finally saw the shadow of a huge rat perched on the side of the water bucket drinking his fill. None of the dogs even twitched a whisker over it but I was totally creeped.

  15. Oh my goodness Monica, thanks for pointing me in the direction of this story! It is hysterical!! Did blackie ever leave your garage? As if it mattered, I’m sure you are never going in there again, right!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog!!
    Lisa Weinstein

    • I haven’t seen Blackie since, but to this day, every time I open the door to the garage, I take a quick look around before stepping one foot on it. I am in constant dread of seeing it again. I won this time, but the ball’s in Blackie’s court! ;)

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