It all started on Thursday with a broken washing machine. I was quickly approaching an overflowing basket of dirty laundry that I had planned to do this weekend. Inconvenient, but manageable. But then Friday morning started with us noticing a slightly funky smell in the house. At first it just smelled like the garbage needed to go out or maybe something in the fridge had gone over. Brian spent the morning searching for the source but was unsuccessful. They mostly spent the day outside away from the smell. When I got home from work and stepped in the house, the smell was so bad I wanted to vomit. After lots of sniffing around I finally noticed it seemed to be coming from the air vent by the sliding glass door in the back. Not just the smell of garbage, but the smell of death. Something had died either under the house or in the air duct, we were sure of it. Of course it was after 5, so we could not get a hold of our property manager. I covered the vent to try and make it bearable and spent as little time downstairs as possible. Saturday morning Brian opened all the windows and setup a fan to try and blow the smell out, keeping it livable but still disgusting. Then he dressed himself up in this awesome outfit:
I spent all this time obsessively cleaning the house. I wasn't brave enough to go down with the rats, as my immune system is not very strong and I would likely be that one person to catch the hantavirus or the plague. So I cleaned everything I could. All this cleaning and rat hunting meant we weren't keeping a perfect eye on Oscar, who was running around naked like he enjoys. He pooped on the floor twice and peed all over the stairs. Yep, potty training is still two steps forward and one step back most days and Saturday was no exception.
Finally the property manager called us back but said he'd called around and couldn't find any pest control people that were available to come to the house that day. He would keep trying but we did not want to wait around for him to find someone. Brian suited up again, sans Sebastian this time, and went back down into the rat pit, this time armed with some old scissors so he could cut loose some of the insulation where he had a hunch the death smell was hiding. And right he was. He cut loose the insulation above the air duct right near the vent where we smelled it, and splat went a dead, maggoty rat. He also found several skeletons which means rats have been around for a lot longer than just this week. Lovely.
Pest control people should be coming out this week to assess the damage, lay some bait traps, and see what else we can do to prevent this. I requested no poison sprayed and thankfully they said they rarely do that anymore, so hopefully that will not be necessary. I am concerned about our compost pile which lives in the backyard as far away from the house as possible, but still awfully close even for a rat. Compost is the best way to make good fertilizer for your home garden, and reduce kitchen waste, so I do not want to get rid of it. I think instead I'll start looking into bins to keep it in and the rats out. Anyone else have ideas on rat prevention, let us know please!
With the house much cleaner and smelling 1000 times better, I escaped to dinner with one of my dearest friends, which saved my sanity! I headed into Sunday thinking it would be a good day. Which it was...well, it had it's ups and downs. We took Ginger to a Greyhound walk which she thoroughly enjoyed and the kids got to play at the park there. In the afternoon we planted some more in our garden and got some yard work done. In the process I found this beauty:
Then from inside the house I hear, "will you hose off this mat? Oscar stepped in dog poop. The other rug inside is even worse."
What's next?! Bring it, whatever it is, I doubt it will surprise me!