who had taken up residence in our home, we were waiting for
him to get hungry enough to sample some of the yummy dried
fruits, nut butters and whole nuts we had diligently glued to
the rat traps. I had forgotten to mention that Kevin, the
exterminator, was fairly sure Ratzo had gained entry via our
doggie door. I have been petitioning for removal of the doggie
door for several years, but the hubby is sufficiently opposed
to the idea, as to make it a huge issue. Those of you in a
relationship know that you must choose carefully the things
about which to make an issue, so I have thus far, caved on
doggie door removal. However Kevin did give me fresh
ammunition should the subject arise again,which seems
inevitable. Kevin has removed raccoons, rats, stray cats,
squirrels and chipmunks, all of whom have considered a
doggie door an open invitation to join the family.
But I digress. Back to the waiting.
The wait went on for some time and we actually began to
think that Ratzo had eaten the poison and left our abode
in search of water. Why we would think that shows just how
self deceptive we can be! The dog has a huge self-waterer,
plus there are two bathrooms in our house, both with open
(most of the time) toilets, plus there is a small pond in the
yard, not more than fifty feet from the doggie door. But
that was what we chose to believe. It was easier than facing
humiliation at the paws of Ratzo. Daily checks of the rat
traps continued to fruitless. (Well, actually the fruits
remained in the traps, but you get my drift)
In the midst of this self deception, came a Friday afternoon.
Raymond had been home all day and was being domestic by
cooking dinner. I walked into the house around 6 PM. Even
before my 'hi, honey' kiss, I asked, "What is that smell?"
Raymond explained he was making dinner, which included
cabbage. OK. It was a very cold day, leading into a very cold
weekend. Our boiler was working at capacity to keep our
radiators dispensing heat in our drafty old house. Ratzo was
not even a blip on our radar.
We had dinner, played Scrabble and vegged out in front of the
TV watching Seinfeld reruns till bedtime.
In the morning, Raymond was up, as is his habit, at 4:30 AM.
I stumbled downstairs about two hours later. As I hit the
bottom of the stairs, my senses were assaulted by a horrific
stench! Raymond, who is smeling impaired and thinks I
have super human olfactory capabilities, said, when
questioned, "That's just the cabbage from last night". I
didn't think so. I mean, would the smell have gotten
stronger overnight? As I walked around sniffing like some
sort of demented human-bloodhound combo, I noted
the smell was, indeed, stronger in the kitchen. How could
he have been reading and watching Sports Center with this
overwhelming stink in the air? As my quest for the source
of the offensive odor evolved, I noted that while it was strong
in the kitchen, it definitely increased in intensity in the area
near our old fashioned wall-mounted kitchen sink. There is
a short radiator under the sink and when I bent down to sniff
in that vicinity, I almost threw up. Further investigation with
a flashlight showed that the originating source of the odor was
indeed, a large, dead, bloating rat! He had died under the
kitchen radiator, was swelling in the heat and was wedged
under the back, near the wall. He was still intact, but might
not be for much longer, if we didn't get him out soon. I reached
behind the radiator, my hand triple ensconced in green plastic
newspaper bags, but I couldn't get a good grip. Raymond went
to find a length of scrap wood to push Ratzo from under the
radiator, back toward the back wall and a space where I might
be able to pick him up. I was a little concerned that if I yanked
too hard, his head might detach from his body and that was to
be avoided at all costs! Raymond poked under the radiator
and moved Ratzo from under the radiator into the smallish space
between the radiator and the wall. Allow me to point out that
Raymond had first acted as the reach and bag person, but the
smell had made him retch, so I took over the reach and bag
operation. I managed to grab him, flip the plastic bag inside
out, and tie it, a movement well known to city dwellers who
practice the move when picking up after their critters when
walking them. We then triple bagged the sucker and boxed
his remains before placing them in the outside trash bin. I
actually did a dance of joy that Ratzo was dead. I mean,
I was in a celebratory mood! As I proceeded to clean and
disinfect the kitchen, I was singing a happy little 'Ratzo's
dead' ditty. Raymond was very quiet. Later, as we had coffee
Raymond showed his true colors. He said, "I'm really sorry
we had to kill him."
At first, I questioned his sanity.
I asked what his alternative would've been.
Then, finally, I let it go.
This is one of the reasons I love Raymond. He has more
compassion, even for the Ratzos of this world, than most
other people I know. Sometimes, urban living can be a trial,
but as long as Raymond and I are together, it's a trial I can
deal with. And although Raymond is compassionate,
I am practical.
There in lies the balance ...
... and the danger for all those Ratzos out there!