I have been on my own for a while now. I moved out of my parents house when I was 17 to go to college and only went home one summer after that. I’ve lived in estrogen-filled dorms, crappy apartments and mobile homes out in the middle of nowhere with my horse and my dogs. None of those, as yet, compare to the year I spent in the Rat House.
I had just gotten my first full-time, real-salary job and my girlfriend, Jill, was doing a paid internship at a physical therapist’s office in town. So we decided to live together for at least a year until both of us figured out where we wanted to end up on a more permanent basis. The physical therapists she was interning with had just bought some property in town on which to build a new office. However the zoning/permit stuff was going to take a while, so they offered to rent the existing house to us for a year before they tore it down to build the new office building. It was CHEAP. It had hardwood floors and one of those really cool old bathtubs with the claw feet.
….and that’s pretty much the best things about it.
It had NO central air or heat (let me remind you, dear readers, that Texas has three seasons, “Summer”, “Almost Summer” and “Really Fucking Cold”). Did I mention it was CHEAP??
It also had no kitchen cabinets. Like none. For the first weeks we lived in it, we just shoved food wherever you could find to store it….which may have been in the claw-foot bathtub. Luckily, I was dating a guy who was handy (that’s what she said) and he built us cabinets for it.
But THE absolute worst thing about this house was something we didn’t discover until we had been there for a few months. We had repainted, installed cabinets and done a few other things to help make the place a little more livable for the year we knew we would be staying. Then, we realized we had a mouse. *shudder*
We found the telltale signs of holes in the cereal boxes and droppings in the drawers. Okay, a mouse, no big deal, we thought. We’ll by some traps, get some peanut butter and kill the stupid things and be done. I grew up in the country and my dad wasn’t around much, so you know, I had done my fair share of mouse trapping. Cool. We got this.
Um, no….we did not, in fact, “have this”.
We set 6 traps and the next morning? All 6 of them were popped, with no dead mouse bodies in them. *shudder*
Okay….so maybe we need bigger traps? Nope. Didn’t work.
Hmmm…maybe we need to let a guy come handle it? Okay, let’s try that.
So we told my roommate’s boyfriend that he had to spend the night at our house and when he heard the traps snap, he was to run to the kitchen and kill the rodents. I think his plan was to beat them with a baseball bat. Don’t ask me why this sounded like a good plan….we drank a lot in those days. In hindsight, I'm not sure why we picked this particular guy to come and handle it...he was a botany major and kind of a enjoyed "special brownies" on occasion. Not exactly "Rodent Rambo"....but whatever, he was available since he was hooking up with my roommate.
So he spends the night. Then, I am awakened by the sound of the trap snapping shut. I immediately grab my cell phone, which is on my nightstand, and call my roommate to find out what’s going on. (Um, yes, she was just across the hall, but with untrappable mice on the loose, I was NOT setting foot off the bed in the dark). *shudder*
Then I hear, “Oh shit!” and footsteps running down the hall from the kitchen back to her room!
“Jill…what’s up? What did Joey say?? What happened?? Did he get them??”
“Um, Joey said we don’t have a mouse problem, we have a RAT problem…and not just 'a' rat…we have 'many' rats.”
“RATS?!?!! In our kitchen?!?!?! Oh hell no! I’m outta here!” *shudder*
We all packed up and went to Joey’s house for the rest of the night. We called the landlord, told her the whole story and she assured us she would take care of getting an exterminator out to deal with the rats.
End of story: They caught SIX GIANT WOODRATS IN OUR ATTIC!!!
There is no rent that is CHEAP enough to make me live with RATS. *shudder*