I like to pretend that I keep my house in order and that it’s always guest-ready at a moment’s notice. And while we all know that’s a lie, what you may not know is there are times it’s so far away from being guest-ready it would make you cry.
Back when CJ and I were newly married, we lived in a cute little bungalow. It had a great sunroom that was surrounded by windows on two sides that looked out over our huge backyard. It was a great little spot. Until the neighbors decided to buy chickens.
Don’t get me wrong. I have no problem with chickens; I would actually like to have some of my own someday. My problem is when the chickens moved in, they apparently sent out a call to all the neighborhood mice that this was a place of good eats. That’s the only reason I can think of for why we suddenly started catching sight of the little furry creatures. While we weren’t inundated with them, I hope you’ll agree with me that seeing one in your house is seeing one too many.
So, we did what any heartless, non-PETA friendly, unwise homeowner would do. We put out boxes of Decon. For those of you that don’t know, Decon is a mouse/rat poison. The offending rodents chow down on the pellets and soon it’s goodnight mouse. Great, right? The problem with this stuff is that, while it works great, the rodents don’t die right away. No, it’s slow enough that the poisoned mouse has a chance to run away and contemplate its impending doom from anywhere it pleases. For instance, the inside of our entryway wall.
Let me tell you, when a decomposing mouse is stuck in the wall RIGHT INSIDE YOUR FRONT DOOR, you refrain from inviting anyone over for a very long time. And once a visitor walks in and gets a good whiff of the sickly sweet, rancid stench of death, he’s not so quick to invite himself over again.
Before the odor could start to fade, we realized we had another problem. The mouse now resting eternally behind our sheetrock wasn’t the only critter we had in our house. We discovered a hole in the back of the couch we had in our sunroom—a hole that led inside to a nice pile of stuffing just right for a mousey bed. A hole that hadn’t been there prior to our mouse hit job. Commence Round Two of mice murder.
Again, we put out Decon and waited. It took a few days but then it happened. I walked into the sunroom and peeking out from behind a box, was a little tail. It was bigger than I was expecting but who knew how long he’d been camping out and eating dog treats from our garage. I needed to make sure it was actually dead and not just napping while completely unconcerned with my close proximity. After grabbing the broom, I used it to poke the tail. Not a single twitch.
Poison: 2 Mice: 0
Reassured that the mouse was in fact dead, I decided to scoop up its carcass and dispose of it, so we didn’t end up with another incident that required multiple cans of air fresheners as the constant burning of candles. As I slid the box away so I could get in to take care of the mouse, horror suddenly swept through me. I hadn’t been looking at a slightly bigger mouse’s tail, I was looking at the very tip of a huge RAT’S tail! This thing was gigantic! I swear it must have been a newly transplanted New York sewer rat. His body was almost 12” long! And I know this for a fact because our vinyl tiles in the sunroom were 12”x12” and he took up almost the whole thing. His tail was almost as long!
After the screaming and jumping around, I was finally able to calm down enough to 1.) be relieved it was a dead rat I was looking at, and 2.) work up enough nerve to get rid of it. Using a plastic garbage bag, I grabbed hold of the tail and pulled. Only…it was stuck. The poison that did its job also caused the rat to bleed/vomit/spew something out that had dried upon sitting.
The rat was completely glued to the tile.
There was nothing to be done at that point except wait for CJ to get home so I could dump the rodent disposal duties on him. When he did finally make it home, he was as stuck for ideas as I was. How do you scrape a dead rat of tile without causing anything else to leak out of the carcass? Eventually realized the tile was going to have to go. There was just no way either one of use wanted to take a chance of things getting…messy. So, he popped the tile off the floor and we threw the whole thing out.
Some creative furniture arranging assured no one noticed the missing tile that we never replaced. It was a sacrifice worth making. The best part of all of that was, we’ve never had to deal with another rodent—large or small—since!
And while we do have killer dust bunnies and ginormous piles of clutter, I can at least promise you that never again will anyone encounter the smell of rotting carcass in our house.