Thursday, November 5, 2015

Have a Heart

Toby should rock this next time they give her a "dress down day"

DEE AH!  You've got to get a HAVAHAHT trap if you want to get the mice. You can't get the glue or the snap traps. Those mice have gotten too SMAHT. Get a few Hershey BAHS, and load it up. As soon as you HEE AH the DOWAH close, you get up and you drown the little f-er. Then you set it again.  By morning you won't have mice nor will you have slept at all.

This was my father's advice on our mouse/rat problem.  We share an incredibly entitled rat with our neighbor and we have multiple mice all to ourselves.  The first incarnation of "Operation Mouseschwitz" was to buy and load up a bunch of traps. We got 3 in the glue and 2 in the snaps. The mice were still coming out and boldly dancing on the stove in front of me if I sat at the counter doing paperwork. One of my Mt. Airy friends claimed that her mice would shit IN THE GLUE TRAP just to taunt her. Bananas, pasta, potatoes, plums were ravaged daily, and the mouse shit was appalling. I was unaware of the rat until my mom was sleeping in the basement and had left the snack food from her drive down to Philly in one of her bags. The rat dragged an entire bag of pretzels across the room. My mom noticed but did nothing; she has raccoons walking in and out of her house yelling at her if the cat food is low, so pretzel-toting rodents don't bother her.

My mother in law is another story. She used to live about 40 minutes outside of Philly. She made Johnnie, her youngest, drive out to Havertown in the middle of a work day to deal with a mouse. When she came here, she too, had snack food in her bags having driven from Canada. She lay in the guest bed PETRIFIED as she listened to a rodent rummage through her stuff. She was then convinced that it was running around inside the mattress that she was sleeping on. Tim and I assumed that the mattress part was in her head, but poor Carol's terror was the final straw. Stage two of the operation was, "Operation MEOWschwitz."  As we are all allergic to cats, we decided to borrow Baby Django from Julie, our old nanny. She'd offered him freely, but after multiple 25-line texts about the Django transfer from her house to ours it became clear that she wasn't entirely comfortable entrusting her baby to us. She and James spent the night, so Django would have family there on his first night away from home. We left in the morning before the 3 of them arose. We returned to a house plastered with Django-maintenance instructions. All of this was for naught. Django cowered under the guest bed for 3 days without relieving himself or sustenance until Julie brought him home.

We are now at stage 3. I've been going to Jack Peter's baseball games all fall. It occurred to me, suddenly, that I'd been chatting with a really nice single dad at a lot of the games. I told my friend Kathy that she should come to one of the games and meet this guy. As I was awkwardly making conversation to lure them in to talking to each other, I started to babble about the mice. Dan, the dad said, "My girlfriend is trying to get rid of a cat who might solve your problem; he's a super-tough hunter!" Right then and there he'd solved my immediate problem: I could stop the awkward chatter because he already had a girlfriend. (I was starting to feel the ire of the parents who were there to watch and support their children as I regaled them all with my rodent tales.) We took him up on the cat. Dan portrayed the cat a little differently than the girlfriend did. The baseball game was on Sunday, and despite her living in Trenton, the cat arrived at our house on Monday. Apparently, he bites and scratches people, and he scratches leather furniture, BUT all that is going to change here because he has 3 kids to pay attention to him and he'll be able to go outside. She, her son, and her mother practically ran out the door after he'd been let out of the carrier. The son shouted, as they got into their car, "Now we can get a FRIENDLY cat!" Despite all of this, I have high hopes for Rocky. He didn't hide from us. He has hissed a fair bit, but Rocky Balboa has been waiting downstairs for the rat for 3 days. Unlike Django, Rocky comes up to eat and look at us insolently, but then he returns to his vigil. He seems to be hunting more than he's cowering. My optimism is based partially on his love of story time. Steel read 3 books to him on the first night, and he wandered up to me and Toby as I read to her this evening. Who knows what's going to happen with the allergies.

Part B of stage 3 is that I borrowed a HAVAHAHT from our neighbor, Victor. I bumped into him at the grocery store. He was directly in front of me in line. A cute baby was in front of him, so I was flirting with her until she turned away. I was then evaluating the contents of Victor's cart and having trouble aligning the Chef Boyardee with the swiss chard and the Raspberry Milano cookies. I looked up to see him watching me curiously. Obviously Bob and Victor are trying to get the rat as well. They are resorting to poison, because the rat BIT Victor WHILE HE SLEPT because there was no cat food one day. (Bob and Victor's cat is friends with the rat.  Let's hope Rocky is more discerning about the company he keeps.) We discussed the problem throughout the check out process. Victor tried to involve the unamused Acme employee while he scanned as if we were at a cocktail party, but it didn't work.

The reason I was at Acme after dinner was to get an Amazon card, so I could buy a Havahaht. Tim was surprised when I came home with an actual Havahaht.  Bob had set the it with hot dogs; Victor says the rat prefers steak.  I've known him to like salty snacks, and who can resist Halloween candy? So the HAVAHAHT is waiting for Mr. Rat with a snickers bar and some tortilla chips in his favorite spot near the guest bed. Carol was almost right. Upon further investigation, the rat was clearly running around the box spring, but he hadn't burrowed into the mattress....yet.


The grim reaper is here for the rat, I hope. 45 minutes of Halloween preparation yielded these results, and I let them do their own pumpkins. I'm figuring out this parenting thing slowly but surely.

1 comment:

  1. I think they have channeled your iconoclasm and just need you to take photos of the result-- something you do so well!