Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Beginnings of an Infestation?

Several posts back, I introduced you to Ratatouille.  And, not too long after that, we realized that he was probably a victim of the dogs.  There was no funeral because that little rat turd never once entered my kitchen to whip up a batch of anything French.  Therefore, his death was no loss to me at all.

Well, sitting at the kitchen table this week, I met the children of Ratatouille.  Thankfully, through a double-paned piece of glass.

It seems that the unseasonably warm* weather we've been having has had a nasty impact on our concrete.  Let's just say, you could probably drive a Mack truck between the ground and what used to be the bottom of the concrete steps leading from the TV room.  Now, mind you, it would have to be a play truck and you'd have to get over your fear of rat scat, but you could do this, if you really, really wanted to.

Anyway, our concrete has dropped dramatically.  And near that concrete is a bird feeder** my sweetums surprised me with several years ago.  It's a very nice, squirrel-proof feeder and, just recently, I've set it up and filled it with the most expensive bird seed our budget would allow without causing us to eat Spam for weeks on end.  And, that is where the story began.

Turns out, mice/rats*** really, really dig the sunflower seeds that comes in this bird mix.  Dig them several times an hour kind of love.  So, I've been seeing a lot of the twins lately.

And, honestly, they are cute.  In a smallish, furry gray, rodent kind of way.

And, were it not for the fact that I dread the day when they figure out I have a pantry filled with things so.much.better than sunflower seed and enter my kitchen through some Stuart Little-inspired trap door, I would totally go on admiring their cuteness and ignoring the fact that they can multiply faster than cats in spring.  Or that they can carry disease.

In short:  while this love-fest between woman and naked-tailed rodent could probably become the thing of legend, the inner Terminator in me has decided to come out.  And now I'm trying to figure out the least smelly, most humane way to rid our house of these little pests.

I can't use chemicals that would drive them from their nests because Tex and Doug have this little issue with eviscerating anything they can get their mouths on.  Then, I'd likely have sick dogs, filled with the dread rat/mouse diseases of 1800's London, and vet bills to the sky.

Humane traps?  Doesn't that mean I'd actually have to deal with a LIVE rodent?  Where do I move it?  Somehow, I think my next door neighbors wouldn't like me much if I just deposited these little buggers on their back lawn.

Ultrasonic, Pied-Piper-like, sound devices that drive rats nuts and make them want to leave the premises?  Imagine my popularity at the neighborhood picnic when everyone was discussing the outflow of rats from under our house and over to theirs.

Rat traps with cheese?  Did I mention the dogs?  I have already channeled the video clip of Tex running full speed around the pool with a trap attached to his bony foot.  And it ain't pretty.  Then there's Doug, chasing behind him with the spring around his nose.

I could totally put Bob on their trail if he A) wasn't afraid to go outdoors B) had front claws and C) didn't think that lounging is the number one career for cats, right behind abusing the much larger, heavier dogs in our family.  He'd look at a mouse/rat and be totally like "Dude.  Why even bother?  It's microscopic.  Those giant dogs are so much more fun to torment.  I'm returning to my nap."

The boys could probably shoot them with one of their BB guns, if these things weren't so stinking good at sensing danger.  I have to be super careful not to move too quickly in the kitchen when I'm watching them or they move at the speed of lightning to escape my mug.  Trying to take a picture of one of them this morning, for identification purposes, the little beep my digital camera makes startled them, too.

Can you imagine three little boys waiting to take their potshot at a moving target?  They'd pee their pants in anticipation and, I'm sure, the scent AND sound would create Rat Love-In 2011 as they stayed indoors for weeks on end, trying to escape the kids.

So, what to do?  The jury is still out.  For now, I've pseudo-adopted them.  If I give them names, we're all in trouble because I'll feel compelled to actually cage them and take care of them until they die a comfortable, natural, normal death.

Let's just say, considering we know they are in the attic and under the house, right now they are "Public Enemy Number One and Two".  And, I think, that's the way it's going to stay for a few more moments while I reflect on this issue.

But, hear me loud and clear rat/mouse things who have taken up residence without paying a single bill, from Arnold's lips to mine:  "I'll be back."

*Now that we've had one sub-100 degree day in the last 41, I feel it is only fitting to consider it "warm" instead of "hot".  I guess I'm also tired to striking up conversations that ultimately turn toward "How can it possibly be this hot and dry for so stinkin' long?"

**For years I have loved birds.  This is a genetic thing, via osmosis/nurture, that I inherited from my Grandma K and my parents, who have always loved birds.

***Whereas it was completely, utterly useless to try to cuteinate

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