Some of my earliest memories involve waging war against the wild.  My first rodent recollection involved a little something scurrying out from under the kitchen trash compactor and my dad’s swift, permanent stomp.  He used to get in big trouble for using my mom’s yellow dishwashing gloves to carry questionable small corpses from point A to point B.  Granddad uses “rats” as an alternative swear word.  So does his grandson, Jacob.

A few months ago when I noticed some strange things happening on the back porch, I thought it was probably the boys, or the puppies.  I accused deer of eating my succulents and moved them onto the fenced back deck.  Crocs were mysteriously moving.  Shoelaces were chewed.  Then one morning I noticed my Aeonium had bite marks.  The following day it was beheaded.  Did the deer stick their little noses through the slats on the porch?

My suspicions rise.  My little plastic gardening trowel is mysteriously wedged under the expensive outdoor armchair.  I eye the protective furniture covers dubiously.  What could be hiding under there?

I use two fingers to inch the furniture cover up like a couch-shaped pillow case.  Oh god oh god oh yuck, I can hardly look.  Something has made a nest on our loveseat.  There is a pile of black chewed-up fibers.  I stomp my feet and hold my weaponized broom at the ready as I tackle the covered chair next.  I have my knee-high rubber boots on for protection.  I inch up the cover, inch it up, inch it up…

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee— I scream like a maniacal little girl.  It’s a long tail on the armrest.  I run inside and slam the door and the boys are disgusted.  And thrilled.

James and the hunting puppies are under a lot of pressure to save us.  They choke.  It escapes.  And we go about disinfecting EVERYthing.  Then we invest a small fortune in an arsenal of rodent eradication.

A night or two later, James declares victory, thanks to the shocking effectiveness of the $50 “Ratinator.”  The electric chair for rodents… powered by dog food.  Which I’m convinced is the primary origin of this entire situation.

At dinner that night, James proudly declares the death of my nemesis.

Nate eagerly asks where it is.  He wants to see it.  “Where is it?  Where’s the rat?”

Of course James says it’s in the trash.  Nate promptly jumps up from the dining room table and beelines it for the kitchen trash can and opens the lid.

Oh Nate…

Much to his disappointment, of course James is not referring to this trash can.

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