We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

When I called a rat guy a few weeks ago, I felt like Chief Brody calling in Quinn. I’d tossed poison sticks and a live trap around the house, knowing that I was out of my league. When those didn’t work, I called the first guy I found in the phone book and he pulled up, in his unmarked white van, covered with dirt from the termite job he’d just been on. He looked more like Columbo than Quinn, but I was counting on him. He was full of stories. He had us measuring the droppings and consulting his hardbound copy of everything-you-need-to-know-about-pests. He threw down glue traps and snap traps with a special, professional bait. This was it!

I slept that night with a shovel nearby, in case I needed to ineffectually step in.

He came back to look the next day, and the rat had simply licked the bait off the traps and avoided the glue traps entirely.

It was my girlfriends, venturing downstairs between gin and tonics, who dismantled the Xmas decoration storage/place where rat made a nice home for itself with dog food in wrapping paper rolls and stolen socks (Smartwool socks. Damn rat!) from the laundry pile. They helped us to locate spots to stuff steel wool. I moved the dog food bowls upstairs. And with that, the droppings disappeared.

…until last week, when I found a single dropping in front of the dryer. Maybe it’s an old dropping, I thought, hopefully/in denial. Then I saw dusty old dog food in the corner. Not finding its usual dog food bowl, it dug out a few lingering pieces it had stashed in the insulation in the wall.

So I called a new guy. He pulled up in a company truck. Young and professional. (Hello, Richard Dreyfuss! Did your character even have a name?) He took his flashlight along the wallboards, outside, and in the crawl space and is pretty sure he can trace the path of the rat(s). He laid down some bait boxes. It wasn’t cheap. He said it’s not so bad…yet.

While we were in the crawlspace, daughter and I pulled out a bunch of stuff to donate to the thrift store. We had to do that, anyway. Might as well get it done while a rat guy was in the house.