09 August 2006

13 years and fowl play

Mr. Coffee and I celebrated 13 years of marriage on Monday night with a night in. I made sausage-stuffed portabello mushrooms, green beans, mesclun salad and ice cream for dessert. He provided the long stem red roses which made me very mushy indeed.

We plan to have some fun this next weekend, so I will be commenting around and will post again next week.

In other completely unrelated news, I would like a moment of silence for the rat I killed in our backyard today.

The rat. I killed. In our backyard (and yes, I cried).

We have had two empty houses behind us for several months, one remodeling and one open to let. Meanwhile a rat, perhaps two, have co-inhabited the properties, meandering occasionally over to our place. With both homes now occupied, we are surrounded by dog owners except for the family behind us. This miscreant rat has been showing himself in daylight when the kids are in the backyard. The grass length hasn't helped either concealing the rat quite well.

Yesterday evening, hubby set a big trap at the back fence. Early this morning, while coddling my coffee, I stepped out to the quiet of our cul de sac and look out over the sky. I love cloud cover and it looked like rain.


I hear this loud noise coming from the back and ran in from the front drive. I left my cup of joe and grabbed up a stick from the scrap pile next to the house. Protection from vile rodents, no doubt. I cautiously ventured over to see the rat was belly up and not in the trap. I could see him breathing, but otherwise motionless.

Now, what would you do? Let it go? Make sure it was dead? Let it get away? This thing could bite your kids or make them sick invading your house. As it was, my neighbor just replaced her beautiful expensive stove from a rat having climbed up in the stove housing (how it got in her house, she still doesn't know), it then chewed on the electric wires and was electrocuted. Add two weeks and a stench that would make your stomach turn. The dead rat cost her $1200, the price of a new stove. So, how much do hospital stays go for when treating salmonella, tuberculosis or E. Coli in a child?

I stood there for a full 2-3 minutes wondering what I should do. Then the worst happens. The rat jumps up, and cowers just looking at me. It was obviously hurt. Then, it begins to scamper toward me. I started yelling and proceed to hit him on the head with the board. I start crying because he flips over and convulses, bleeding from the mouth. He twitched for about 10 seconds and the whole time I felt like I should get the chair. Mr. Rat pants his last, goes still and dies right in front of me. I cried harder and run in the house. I called my husband.

Mr. Coffee gives me complete sympathy, redeeming himself gloriously from all prior stump grinding activities, "Ohhhhhhh," he kind of laughs but is wonderfully understanding, "Honey, I'm soooo sorry. You had to get it or it could have bit you. It could have bit our kids! You did the right thing. Really. Do you want me to come home?"

I decline, "Thank you, hon, but I'll be okay. ~sniffle~ sniffle~"

After I got off the phone, I ventured back out to make sure he was a goner. I see something out of the corner of my eye. It's a giant hawk up in my cherry tree.

I guess I wasn't the only one disappointed. I must have interrupted someone's breakfast. That's what I call fowl play.

**POST POSTING NOTE: Mr Coffee reset the trap. Mrs. Rat sits in there now only a couple hours later. E

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"One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words."

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