Jaimie, please tell me you don’t have any more childhood rodent stories.  Oh, but I do.  And I don’t yet have to dip into my cache of James’ wild college mouse days.  One of my all-time faves…

So this one time, living in BFE, my cat had her litter of kittens in a wood rat’s nest.  The kittens were so, so cute.  The rat’s nest was logically disgusting but practically functional– well-built, centrally located… the perfect kitty cradle.  You’d think after a childhood of questionable run-ins with creepy crawlies, I’d be desensitized to the homes of furry woodland creatures.

Well a week ago my tire sensors mysteriously begin throwing errors.  The guy at the tire store tells me they’re scheduled to crap-out after ten years.  A morning or two later, my airbag fault light comes on.  Then I go to start my car last Saturday and it’s dead.  I’m annoyed but not surprised.  I’m the recipient of luxury automobile hand-me-downs.  My tailgate alone is a public service announcement.

I get out my handy dandy battery charger, raise the hood and what do I find?  A litter of teeny tiny kittens?  I wish.  Like a cake sitting on an engine cake stand, I find a perfectly formed nest made out of meticulously chewed bits of engine insulation, tire sensors and airbag wires.  With a giant pile of oak acorns squirreled into a pile on top of some sort of motor cap.

The boys had to see the nest after I shoveled it into the garbage can.

James smugly claims that he checks his engine regularly.  I’m clearly a rodent target due to my lack of interest in engine management and general automobile abuse and neglect.

So on Saturday we all pile into James’ Audi loaner car and head to Santa Barbara to pick-up his SUV from the dealership.  Apparently the check engine light came on because of *cough rodent damage cough*.  Our bill so far is up to $1,800…

A cat is looking pretty cheap right now.

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