Sunday, November 13, 2011

There's A Rat Among Us

This is not a humor blog, although from time-to-time you'll find some humor. The story I'm about to tell you is completely true and maybe a little bit funny.

You may recall that on Saturday, Grandad and I undertook the cleaning and de-cluttering of our garage. Like most suburban homes in South Texas, we have a two-car attached garage. We use it primarily for storage and I park my car inside. Before Saturday, there was so much clutter that I could just barely fit my mid-sized SUV in it. Lots of stuff gets stored in the garage including the lawn mower, weed-eater, Christmas trees, outdoor holiday decorations, Grandad's tools, fishing equipment, just to name a few. It also serves as the collection point for anything to be donated or sold. Our bicycles used to be stored there until they were stolen a couple of months ago, when we carelessly left the door open one night.

We used to be really good at cleaning it once a year and making a donation to Goodwill and/or having a garage sale. But in the five years that Grandad was sick, we've not been able to get it done. A lot, and I do mean a lot, of stuff has amassed there. There was so much that we didn't know where to start. We just dove in and started.

We worked for several hours and got a lot done. We filled both our trash can and our recycle bin to the point of overflowing. There were several domestic accidents that mostly included broken glass. There were no injuries, so it was okay.

After 36 years, I have come to realize that I am married to a potential hoarder. If I let him, Grandad would keep EVERYTHING! He comes by it honestly. It took several days and several collection bins the size of 18 wheelers to clean out his Dad's shed.
My Father-In-Law's shed
 I have decided that we've just got to have some rules.
  • We now have a plastic cabinet with three large drawers to hold "shop rags." He can keep all the rags that will fit in that cabinet and no more. Any more than that must go into the trash.
  • We will only keep a limited number of pieces of plywood. He probably has 15 different scraps of various sizes of plywood leftover from various projects. They have been in the garage for at least ten years without being used. Plywood is readily available and not expensive. We will no longer be storing plywood scraps in our garage.
  • Dangerous and poisonous substances that are stored in the garage must be moved to a safe place. We often have little ones here, therefore everything must be moved out of reach of little hands.
  • We will get rid of all the stuff that we've been saving to use for nonspecific projects, especially those that have been waiting for several years.
We made a lot of progress, but we only got about halfway done. Sometime around 3 p.m. things went horribly wrong.

We moved a cabinet from one side of the garage to the other and in doing so uncovered a stack of posterboards. I was kind of happy to see them, because some of them were the signs we used for our last garage sale. All we have to do is darken them up a little and I won't have to make new signs. So I picked them us and stacked them to one side and turned back around to see what was on the other posters. I picked up the next one and behind it was a rat ... not a mouse ... a rat ... a big, black rat. It actually hissed at me. I screamed and ran out the garage door into the yard. The rat ran through the kitchen door into the house and ultimately into our bedroom. Grandad attempted unsuccessfully to close the kitchen door, thereby keeping the rat out of the house. Instead, he bumped into two 8 feet long glass shelves that had been destined for the garage sale, causing them to crash and fall onto the concrete floor and explode into millions of pieces.

Grandad pursued the rat into the house where he found it under our bed against the back wall of the house. In a flash of genius (?) Grandad decided that he should just shoot the rat with a pellet gun. I suggested a shotgun, but he thought that would be too messy. Grandad closed and sealed all the doors thereby trapping the rat in the bedroom and went next door to borrow a pellet gun. Meanwhile, I camped on the swing in the front yard.

He returned 20 minutes or so later, with not a pellet gun, but with a bb gun. While I stayed on the swing, he went in and started shooting. He did manage to hit the rat several times, but not enough to kill it. So now we had a bleeding rat in the bedroom. When Grandad came out of the bedroom, the mouse hid. At this point I decided to go buy a rat trap. I made a quick trip to HEB and returned with a very large trap and peanut butter. We set the trap, closed the door, and waited. Nothing happened. Around 7 o'clock, Grandad went and bought sticky traps and placed them around the room, also baited with peanut butter. He spent quite a long time looking for the rat and could not find it. We picked up something for dinner and continued to wait.  Around 9 o'clock I announced that I would be sleeping on the sofa, Grandad said he'd take the recliner. I had Grandad get me a pair of pajamas out of our room and I went to the bathroom on the other side of the house for my shower. Grandad bravely decided to shower in the master bath. While he was in the shower, the rat emerged and got stuck to the sticky trap. More precisely, the mouse's back feet got stuck. His front feet were still on my floor. He was so big that he was dragging the trap around the bedroom.

Grandad ran to the garage and grabbed a shovel and a box. He had to whack the mouse a couple of times with the shovel to knock him out, because he kept running, with the sticky trap attached. He was approximately 9 inches long, not counting his tail. We both breathed huge sighs of relief. Neither of us was looking forward to sleeping in the living room. But mostly neither of us was happy about sharing our home with a 9 inch rat.

We have now moved the sticky traps to the garage. Hopefully, he doesn't have any brothers or children.

Grandad has taken the day off tomorrow and again on Wednesday to work on finishing the garage and getting it ready to set up for a garage sale on Saturday.


  1. Oh, geez! Definitely humorous...yet horrifying!! I cannot imagine such a time. Blech! You described this quite well as I had my face scrunched up (and my feet lifted off the floor, just in case) throughout the read. Sheesh. Good luck...with no more rats AND the sale.

  2. Oh my goodness! I may never go out in our garage again! I'm with you -- I would have been sleeping on the sofa! Glad you survived! And it was a really funny story -- just not for you.

  3. Oh my goodness!!! That is so Funny! I enjoyed reading every single word, laughing out loud!!

    I am glad you were able to finally get the rat out of your bedroom. Those sticky traps are really only good for the little critters. We live in the country so we get little critters every now and then. We sat one up one night and forgot to shut the door to the room where we placed it...our 24 lbs cat found it first. He got his front and back paws (opposite sides) stuck and ran through the house in panic. Woke us up in a fit! Scared the beejeezers out of us, but we ended up laughing spontaneously for the rest of the night.


    PS...I have to share this is too funny to not.