Thursday, July 21, 2011
What Lies (dead) Beneath
Since I’m a major animal lover, I have encouraged the birds, squirrels, chipmunks and yes, the raccoons to hang out at my deck. “Bird seed, suet, and sunflower seeds for everyone! Bread and apples! Come one, come all!”
Kind of a bad idea as it turned out.
It was the rats who answered the call! It seems that they heard there was a buffet and took up residence under the boards and into the crawl space under the house. I wouldn’t have known they existed. (No, I didn’t pick up the obvious clue of the dogs working their way under the very low deck and barking madly!) My pug, Jackie O-No! even got stuck a couple of times while Magnus, the sweet-tempered beagle who turns into the Terminator at the sight of a squirrel was able to slither out.
What clued me in? The stench of one of my guests—or two or three—having the nerve to die somewhere near the vents that open to the bedroom and laundry room—and oh, yeah, the garage didn’t smell so sweet either, despite repeated cleanings.
I received lots of advice about how to get rid of the smell—everything to vinegar to oil of wintergreen placed on cotton balls in the vents. (This ended up smelling like a rat had died while choking on an Altoid).
What to do?
To be clear: I was NOT crawling under the house! I might write about creepy stuff, but I’m a big, fat chicken when it comes to facing the unknown enemy in a tight, dark, hot space. No thanks! I called in the professionals who came complete with knowledge, overalls, gas masks and more nerve than I had.
Zero carcasses found (though much rat-evidence discovered—don’t ask).
One wallet considerably lighter.
One or two lingering whiffs of “dead smell” as I fold laundry.
One writer somewhat less anxious about what lies or lives beneath.
Posted by Lisa Jackson at 11:02 PM