Monday, November 11, 2013

the rat esta muerta

The rat is dead.  

It's time had come.

We must go to the city to start fabrication on a job and I did not want to leave with a live but poisoned rat in the walls of my house.

I sleep on the couch a lot.  It's comfortable, I like something at my back.  I like to wait til the snoring dies down before I stumble into bed.  And last night about 2 o'clock I heard the rat gnawing, not in its usual place, in the wall behind the toilet, but in the most diametrically opposed part of the house as was possible.  Which is the corner of the combo living/dining space. Where the couch is.

damn damn damn

I'm stomping on the floor, smacking the wall with the spine of a book.

stop it stop it stop it!

Oh, all the gods that are and ever were, please let this be the same fucking rat.

If you are squeamish, I recommend that you don't read any farther because I commenced to dispatch that rat the next day.

I made a trip to the store to find a pair of long handled tongs of the barbecue kind with which to grab the rat with the intent of dunking said grabbed rat into a five gallon bucket of water.

I couldn't find any.  But what they did have was a 2 tined fork with sharp pointy points on the tines.  For $1.  Not my first choice but you go with what you got.

On the drive home, I'm psyching myself up for the deed.  I can do this.  I can stab that rat and dunk him in a bucket of water.  I can do this.

So, I get home and assemble my tools.  I go retrieve the old mop handle from the small garden that I am using for a divider between the carrots and the lettuce and duct tape the handle of the barbecue fork to the end of the pole to make it a spear.  I'm having fantasies of a warrior preparing for battle against a rat asleep in it's nest.  Then I fill the 5 gallon bucket with water and cart it into the small bedroom.  I gather the screwdriver and the flashlight and the stool.  

So I have everything in the little bedroom, outside the closet.  The whole time I'm talking to the rat telling it that I'm sorry that I am the agent of its death, that its time as a rat is up and I hope that it climbs the incarnational ladder.  I am giving it a step up.

Are you praying in there, Marc calls.

Yes, I tell him.  Because that's what I'm doing I guess.  Though I am not praying to any deity but to the rat.

And so I opened the panel and tried juggling the flashlight, panel, and spear.   There was the rat in its nest waked from his sleep.  My hope was a single successful thrust through an opening about 3" x 10" at an angle...which was of course a failure.  The clothes interfered, the flashlight not aimed well, the rat evaded.

I removed clothes from the closet, I called to Marc to come hold the flashlight.

My second thrust is successful though I cannot tell exactly where I have it pinned.  I'm pretty freaked out that I have just bayoneted this rat with a barbecue fork duct taped to a broken mop handle.

If you are one of my FB connections you probably saw this:

OMG!  I just bayoneted a rat with a barbecue fork duct taped to a broken mop handle.

Now, I was afraid to try and pull it out for fear it was not well skewered and I would have to do it again.  But I did finally get it into the bucket of water and ended its misery as soon as possible.

After I cleaned out the nest, rat mummy and all, and found the hole in the sub-floor that it had gnawed next to the sewer vent, I buried it at the edge of the field.  I didn't want to throw it in the trash because it would rot and stink and I didn't want to just throw it out in the field for fear that the poison bait it had eaten would poison anything that ate it.  So, I buried it.

I stuffed the hole with steel wool and we will get some of that expanding foam to help seal it.  

I just hope I don't hear any gnawing tonight in the front corner of the house.

edit: and indeed I did not.


  1. i'd have had a hard time skewering the rat. i have a fear of being stabbed myself so i don't think i could have done it. i've dispatched copperheads with shovels and hatchets, but stabbing a mammal might be outside my abilities. but you do what you must...

  2. I adore your courage. Most of us would not have faced the enemy with such honor. Instead, I would have prayed for magic. You honored your foe, and dispatched it face to face, and with a prayer. Lordy Lordy, I hope I never have to do the same--but if I ever do, I hope that I'll have your courage and honesty and integrity in the face of it.

  3. You could start a reality show,Rat Lady.Like that you used duct tape to make the tool.I use cheap pipe tobacco and steel wool so if they chew it there are two evil ways to get rid of critters.

  4. You are fierce and brave. I watched my 72 year old mother stomp one to death in her garage wearing crocs. I don't think I could have done it wearing army boots. But rats do not need to live in our houses, especially in our walls. Something is chewing gnawing and scratching in my attic this week and I am going to go crazy if my husband doesn't make it go away. Congrats on your conquest!

  5. Give me a woman
    who is a stout-hearted woman
    who will fight for the right she adores...

    You're my new role model Ellen.

  6. ta dah.....and so it is done. I salute your cunning, ingenuity and pure raw courage.

  7. Warrior women we are...I had to shoot my first critter this year to save the you, I was talking with it the entire time...flashlight would not line up with bullet...only a few feet away and missed it...shoot again...cry and shout...I thought it had been dispatched and left...came back a few minutes later and it was gone...I'm a very bad shot...but haven't had any further problem with critters this brave women...

  8. You're a tough one, Mrs. Rat Grinch. Or however that need phrased. Good for you. I could have held the flash light, but little more. You're the woman!

  9. I had a similar encounter with a black snake that was intent on eating the wrens nest full of little ones. I had a gaff hook and was totally unskilled and also terrified of the hissing black snake. I admire your courage!!!

  10. You skewered it? I tip my hat to you.

  11. I really sort of wish I hadn't read this. I never could have done that. Ever.

  12. OMG Ellen!! I missed that on FB but now see it in all of its vivid detail. You are a warrior! Goes to show what you can do when you're desperate!

  13. Oh jeez. You warned me and went ahead and read anyway.... Glad you were victorious.

  14. I love this story even though I am rather squeamish. You are my hero.

  15. Yay! I'm glad you won the battle, grisly though it was. How strange that the rat would live with a mummified carcass. You'd think it would have moved its nest if one of its fellows had died there. And how strange that it ate some of the poison but did not die. (I think I've heard that rats have built up some resistance to rat poison -- maybe this is evidence of that?)

  16. Like I said on Facebook: Oh. My. God. That is all :)

  17. I think maybe I should have heeded your warning to not read on.


I opened my big mouth, now it's your turn.