Monday morning we woke up and discovered that we had been victims of a home invasion robbery.
Foolishly, we had left the back door open to the night breezes and everyone knows that a flimsy screen door doesn’t stand in the way of a determined burglar.
The door opens onto a balcony. Only scaling the walls to the second floor will put you a position to know whether the door was actually open. We thought we were safe.
Afterward, my daughter spoke up and remembered that she had seen a movement from the corner of her eye two days prior, a quick shadow in the evening gloom, hanging around our garage and disappearing when she turned to get a better look.
He was casing the joint. Waiting for his moment. Admiring the goodies he imagined were inside.
The dirty rat broke into our home in the wee hours on Monday and took his time wandering around, deciding what he wanted.
I shudder to think we were all deep asleep and heard nothing. What if our bedroom doors had been open? What if we had heard footsteps and gone to investigate? I can only promise you one thing for sure: I would have taken one look and run into the streets shrieking. To my shame, I would have left my family in the house asleep and hailed a cab in my onesie, headed for anywhere else.
I’m helpful like that.
Instead, I staggered into the kitchen seeking my morning revival and saw the destruction left in this guy’s wake. He obviously took a joy ride through the place, leaving a trail of rat scat that was impressive, if marking your territory is what rats do. There were big, fat rat droppings everywhere, and puddles that glistened in the early light.
I did an about-face and shrieked for the Hubby. Bad enough I had valiantly fought the ants all summer, now we had rodents. Maybe roaches are next. We did find that scorpion once. And termites are common here.
Best to burn the house down and start over with a concrete tilt-up and a gallon of caulk.
What’s the world coming to when you risk dying of plague to relax in your own house?
My sweet Hubbs went into the kitchen while I showered even the thought of rats off of me, and he covered everything in sight with Lysol. All of it. To soak. The droppings got fatter.
He threw away the food that was on the countertops and wiped most of the rat bits from crevices and told the kids that making peanut butter sandwiches for school was totally doable on our new, clean sofa. Probably. Then they all left.
I threw everything made of fabric and all of the laundry into the washing machine on the hot wash/extra rinse cycle, and pushed the go button. Shrink if they must, but I’m not carrying leptospirosis into the gym on my spandex and starting a pandemic.
There was no police report I could file. I had no witnesses, no suspect in cuffs, no video surveillance, and our alarm system hadn’t been activated that night. Certainly not at three inches above floor level.
What if the rat was still in the house? What if he was hiding under the washing machine waiting to jump me with his sharp little incisors and scratchy scrambly claws when no one was around to save me?
The thought kept me motivated. You’ve never seen such discipline.
I poured a gallon of Lysol and an ounce of water into the mop bucket and shined every bit of floor. The ants were very confused. I considered washing down the walls and ceiling. If the ants can get there, maybe a rat can? Then I remembered the painters would be painting all of it. I could slip some bleach into the paint cans, easy.
Then I power washed the front porch, the back porch, the walls, windows, doors, and doubled the chlorine the pool, in case the burglar had gone for a casual night swim.
I’ll have to look into a brute squad.
If the police can’t help me, I have the right to bear arms myself.
When we visited the shelter three weeks ago, I looked around for an anteater, which is definitely my first choice of pet, but they stock cats and dogs mostly. They did have a horse outside.
And a cage in the lobby.
With a rat in it named Ginger.