Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The good, the bad and ... the ugly

I think I'll start in reverse order because I never like leaving on an ugly note.

Charlie was up and out before 7 AM this morning, while I was completely unaware that he had left and snored through his departure blissfully slept in. I woke up, took a quick shower and got the children dressed.

It was the kind of morning that gave me the feeling that this was going to be a gorgeous day. We had a lovely breakfast. Homemade waffles, fresh fruit, yogurt. I put on everyone's shoes and took them outside to the garage and loaded them in their stroller for a quick walk around the block. I went to feed Molly and as I walked up to her dog food, I stopped in my tracks.


The good news: the rat was dead and it looked like a quick death.

The bad news: there was blood everywhere and Charlie wasn't home. I screamed for him, but he was apparently out of ear shot ... nor were there any people in our neighborhood available to come over and assist. Trust me. I ran out in the driveway and did a quick scan - looking for someone - ANYONE.

Last year, about this same time, we had a rat visitor in our garage. I was a new mom and I imagined that this rat might be a mom, too. So, I was totally opposed to killing it, even though it left poop on our garage shelves and was making a mess. But when the rat destroyed Charlie's $400.00 ski boots with custom orthotic inserts - our war cry became "Kill the bastard!"

After two weeks and an increasingly disgusting smell, Charlie deduced that we'd killed ourselves a rat. He pulled out our garage shelves and found the corpse. Being the manly man that he is - he threw it out and didn't complain. We wrongly assumed that this was the total end of vermin in our garage. When poop started showing up on the shelves around the dog food last week, I knew we had another visitor. Rather than wait to see what this new rat was going to destroy - Charlie set traps on Sunday night.

I don't know how to even ... um ... "write" the noise that I made upon seeing the HUGE DEAD RAT stuck in the trap this morning. For a whole 10 minutes, while my beautiful children were strapped safely in their stroller ... I stood in front of the HUGE DEAD RAT and freaked out. The trap had snapped so hard it flipped over and the big pool of blood beneath it's head was only partially coagulated.


I wondered how in the world I was going to get the HUGE DEAD RAT off of our shelves and in to the trash, without touching it - or feeling it, in ANY way. All the while, running through my mind was "Doesn't it figure TODAY was Charlie's day to work?! I ALWAYS work on Tuesdays. Damn him for making me switch ... I bet he KNEW this was going to happen. Loading the rat trap with beef jerky and peanut butter. Of course any rat would be tempted by that kind of goodness..."

It was an ugly sight - and it was an ugly noise that I was making trying to figure out how to dispose of the bloody mess. But the children thought it was hysterical seeing me walk around in circles, smack my head and shout "ARGHHHH!!!!! Gag! Gag! Gag! ARGHHHHH!!!!!!" They sat in their stroller doubled over in laughter - while I did everything I could to hang on to my fresh fruit and waffles. And yogurt.

Ten minutes. It took me 10 minutes to figure out that my best option was to put on a pair of rubber gloves, with work gloves over those - and use a plastic bag. I picked up the end of the trap (without a snapped head) and after trying, unsuccessfully, to flip the 12-inch long tail in to the bag ... decided that I'd just tip toe to the trash and throw the whole thing out.

As I gingerly walked outside - looking all the while down at the HUGE DEAD RAT in my hand - I walked squarely in to a HUGE spider web.

Charlie and I are always amazed by the gargantuan Golden Orb spiders that inhabit southern California in the late summer and early fall. Usually by July, we can see the little itty bitty Golden Orb spiders spinning their webs. By August and September, they have fattened up so that their bodies are about the size of a prune, or - small nectarine.

Better stated - they are ^&*#^*&#$@ huge.

It often happens that these spiders will spin their webs directly outside of our door - so we always have to exercise extreme caution at this time of the year when we go out.

Usually, we do exercise extreme caution. But there wasn't a whole lot of caution being exercised this morning when I stepped outside with a hand full of HUGE DEAD RAT and directly in to the perfectly symmetric web of the Golden Orb spider. I could feel the web around my head, my shoulders, my arms and hands. I could have absolutely sworn I felt the 3-pound Golden Orb spider climb down the inside of my shirt.

I'm really surprised the police didn't show up. Had anyone heard me (and I really wonder how they didn't???) - I think they would have surely thought I was being butchered.

Thank God in heaven - the rat remained in the trap and didn't fall when I screeched and jumped two feet off the ground once I realized that I very well could be the next victim of the Golden Orb. I'm equally thankful that after flinging the rat in the trash can - and running frantically around the yard batting my head, shoulders and arms furiously for another 10 minutes ... there was no sign of a monstrous spider on my body.

The children were laughing so hard they couldn't breathe. I think I might have seen somebody turn blue, but who really knows. All of my attention was focused on getting "nature" off of me. Sorry kids, you're choking? I'll get there in a minute. Or two.

The moral of this story is that I could never live on a farm. Never. Ever.

So, we go for our walk. We come home, I unload one, two, three children from the stroller who all instantly run inside the house. I close the garage door and walk inside - where I instantly realize that I forgot to close the door for our hallway bathroom.

I hear splashing.

Looking around the door, I see all three of my beautiful children with their hands in the toilet up to their elbows ... splashing. And then ... they pick their beautiful little hands up and stuff the entire things in their mouth.


They look at me and excitedly say "Yummmm!!!!"

For the second time, in less than 30 minutes, I wonder why the police don't show up on my doorstep.

Can not one single person in this neighborhood hear my screams?!?

My gorgeous morning had been transformed to the ninth circle of hell.

Full body scouring. Playtime. Lunch. Naps. Shopping at Walmart for diapers that I wasn't able to purchase at Target on Sunday because of the spontaneous simultaneous combustion of three toddlers on Aisle Five. I finish my shopping and make all of my purchases - despite the fact that two of my three have again - spontaneously combusted during our "outing".

Lugging a shopping cart loaded with stuff AND pulling my triplet stroller. Through Walmart.
While doing my best to smile at people and ignore the full-blown temper tantrums and Teddy Grahams being launched in every which direction.

I honestly considered starting cocktail hour at 3 PM today.

Tonight, I finished the four packages I'll be mailing to South Africa, tomorrow. (Actually, I'm sending them to an address in California, where they'll be brought back to South Africa. Ah, details.)

In each package is a knitted blanket, a footed terry sleeper, two onesies, two booties, a tube of diaper rash cream, a rattle, a bag of hard candies for mom - and a toiletry bag for mom that includes body wash, moisturizer, facial soap and lip gloss.

I'm seriously contemplating including a super sized bottle of Excedrin and whiskey in my care packages - should these poor South African mother's ever experience a day like I experienced ... today.


  1. GAH! And also, URGH! And also, $#@%! I am amazed you were able to dispose of the rat without losing your breakfast and/or passing out. The spiderweb would have sent me over the edge entirely.

    The gift packages are awesome. I can't believe you managed to find time to do that with everything else you have going on. What a difference that will make to some new moms.


  2. I LOVE starting my work day with a cup of coffee and a quick stop to your blog. As usual, you did not disappoint.
    I was LOL at my desk today. That story is hilarious, Jenn.
    Thanks for starting off my work day with laughter.
    Linda (Chicago)

  3. makes me think these palmetto bugs (ie. flying cockroaches) aren't so bad. wait...yes they are.

  4. You should put a warning on that morning reading! YUCK! I would have been FREAKING out too. But, you gotta do what you gotta do I guess.

    Toilet water.......yummy!

  5. Good god woman! I thought you were a hero when I saw the picture of you walking three kids and two dogs.

    But a rat AND a spider web...not to mention toilet water.

    You are woman and I hear you roar! (Or scream as the case may be.)

  6. There are no words....ugh...shivers down my spine...I would still be screaming. But again, you gotta love the incredible blog meterial, huh? So funny that it made the kids laugh - it's like Monsters, Inc. Nothing like a toddler's sense of humor. Or taste for toilet water.

  7. WHA??? No rat picture... c'mon... Oh wait...Thanks for NOT posting a picture! That spider was bad enough! I wish that we lived closer... on farms! Can't wait to see you guys! How's Charlie's training going?

  8. I love your posts and all, but I couldn't finish reading this post. I'm soooo afraid of rats and I got as far as "I can't describe the sound". I'll try again tonight. call me a wus. I'll get my honey to read it and tell me where I can start reading again....man I;m a wimp.

  9. OMGoodness! What a morning! I have to admit, I was laughing out loud as I read your blog today. I am glad you can see the humor already, and share it with us.

  10. Hi Jen,

    I just love your blog too!

    Honestly, I think I would have left the rat for my husband to take care of. I don't know how you handled that.

    You have such a kind heart. We need more people like you in this world.


  11. Hello Exterminator,
    Good for you for not leaving it for Guy. I hope the toilet was flushed and I know it was. Arn't they so cute. Good going on your projects.

    Our rats chew through fly screen to get in and LOVE leather shoes....
    As you know from my blog this week there would be one more hurdle to cross before you could live in Australia, SNAKES IN YOUR GARAGE!!
    The care packages are wonderful.

  13. Ewww...shaking off the hebee-geebees!!! Sending you my love of choice...chocolate and LOTS of it!!!

  14. So what is this package you send to mothers in Africa and how can other people (like me)do it too?

  15. hugs!!

    Glad to see the care packages, I need to do that too!

  16. Makes my worse day as a mom seem like a piece of cake. Now don't you feel better? I'm guessing NOT.

  17. Oh my goodness! Yuck!

    I think you're so great for putting together those gift packages, and even more so for getting it all done despite your other adventures.

  18. I am laughing so hard I am CRYING!!! I know I shouldn't laugh because dead vermin and monster spiders and poop-infested toilet water are all very serious.


  19. Ohhh Jen!!!!!!!!!
    I think I have to go take a shower just after READING about the rat and spider!!!!!!!!!

    I have a blog post I've been meaning to write about a huge grasshopper on our porch...I took a pic too! I'll try to get to it this weekend. Seems like we're on the same wavelength!

  20. Note to myself: Read this blog first thing in the morning from now on. You are absolutely hilarious. I'm sorry, I know none of what you write is supposed to be funny, but, you have to admit, this part deserves an Oscar for best comedy:

    full-blown temper tantrums and Teddy Grahams being launched in every which direction.

    I can totally picture this!!!!!!!!!! :)