Tuesday, June 03, 2008


moms roses 2
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
See this picture? This is a picture of one of my mother's roses. She has time and energy for roses because she is a carefree 80 year old retiree, whereas I am bowed down by the weight of the world and besides, if I planted a rose bush, it would immediately be eaten by an aardvark or some other species of wild animal that I never even suspected was nearby. Perhaps a giraffe. I could be the only person in West Asheville whose garden was eaten by a giraffe. This is all a roundabout way to inform you that not only do I have groundhogs (and you should have seen how cute the one was sitting in the garden the other day eating the bean sprouts as they came out of the ground! He was so cute, all surrounded by pinwheels! His co-lovers or whatever you call a polyamorous family of groundhogs who live under a shed are also very cute! I've seen three of them so far! I suspect there may be an entire groundhog city with a population in the thousands under my shed! Help me, please!) I have rats.

Well. Hopefully, that's rat, as in one rat, singular. One verified rat. In the garage. This fills me with terror, loathing and despair and also, now I can't go into the garage ever again, which is a drag, since the window fans are all in there and it's hot out. The Halloween decorations are in there too and I need them. They're going to be the next step in the Groundhog War, whereby I'm going to hang Frankie on the garden fence. Frankie is a motion activated Frankenstein head who sings (with his mouth moving up and down! Ha ha! He is a laff riot! I got him for like ten bucks at the Rite Aid!) a terrible, bastardized version of Who Can It Be Now by Men at Work when you walk by him or make a loud noise or close the door or just randomly. My friends hate Frankie and they hate me every October, as do my neighbors, so perhaps the groundhogs will feel the same. Probably they'll just embrace him as a new god, though.

However, back to the Rat. Young M and his inseparable friend C more or less live in the garage, as we know. They like it there - it's dark and smelly and nobody bothers them. It's disgusting out there. Teenage boys are kind of horrifying, truth be told. The fast food wrappers alone are enough to scare off most sane adults. Anyway, a couple days ago, they both came running into the house in horror. "There's a rat in the garage!" they said.
"No, there isn't." I said, calmly, since it's more than a river in Egypt and all that. If I don't believe in the rat, it is not there.
"Yes!" they said, "It's a rat!" and they went back to the garage with pockets full of dog biscuits and both the dogs, who will follow pretty much anyone pretty much anywhere if they have pockets full of milkbones.

Yeah, I know that most dogs will chase rats without bribes. Many dogs will also kill groundhogs, not just bark violently at them. Not my dogs. My dogs are pacifists. Fat pacifists who believe food comes from a bag, squirrels are there to be herded and mice are tiny little fun doggie friends. The rat garage thing, in other words, didn't go well. They sniffed it out its location (theoretically. They could have been sniffing out the location of an ancient empty potato chip bag, too.) but it frightened them and anyway, they were only there for the milkbones.

The next step was rat traps. I obligingly bought two rat traps, the snap kind that look like giant mouse traps and handed them and a jar of peanutbutter to the boys. They acted like they knew what they were doing and sighed impatiently when I told them for godssakes not to cut their hands off with the things and/or let the dogs in there. "Jesus," said young M in disgust, "That's just common sense, Mom." Yes. Yes it is, and it's also common sense to stealthily put the trap somewhere you suspect the rat has been, not to try to find the rat and then shove the trap right at him. The trap, by its very nature, is not an attack weapon. You should use a sword for that, although apparently that didn't end well either. But pushing a trap right at a rat will lead to a rat who threatens to attack, by, apparently, hissing violently, which is why I now have boys in the den instead of the garage and I think I'm going to be hot all summer and never again decorate for Halloween.

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