Yesterday started out with a cat meowing outside so loudly it sounded like a human was mimicking a cat and using a microphone to do it:


I’ve never heard a cat outside so, to this quarantined wild creature, it was an interesting new sound.

And, in addition, there were also crows cawing their heads off somewhere above my head.

So then I thought about how today seemed marked and wondered how I could employ this cat who obviously needed to find something else to do.

I was thinking this while I was putting a big bike lock on the gate entrance in back of our apartment building where shady happenings allegedly happen,

and my shorts fell down.

Safety pins these days.

A few years ago, my pants falling down in front of a neighborhood would have been a much bigger deal to me and I probably would have hidden in my room and, if I could have, only left the house at night wearing gigantic sunglasses.

And looked for a new place to live.

Today, I just quickly pulled my shorts back up and continued to clean up some junk food snack bags which were lying on the grass on the side of our building.

Pants. Who needs them.


That little scenario kind of sums up life right now:

Shit happens. When your shorts fall down, pull them up, be grateful to have pants and get on to cleaning up the trash and contemplating what the hell you’re doing with your life.

I figured if anyone had seen me I would have heard about it. The house across the street is not the quiet one.

I also realized that perhaps if I stopped transforming from wild beast (pictured above) to Extremely Functional Human Who Has Never Had a Bad Day for job interviews maybe I’d stop being told I was overqualified.

I dress nicely for job interviews. Casually. But nicely. I aim to appear confident and cohesive. Yet, after an interview a couple months ago, I stopped at a Walgreens and the ladies at the cosmetics counter gushed about how nice I looked and, after I had explained I had just left a job interview, they went on about how “nobody dresses up for interviews anymore.”

Maybe that’s my problem.

If I went to job interviews “as is,” maybe employers would feel compelled to hire me because my “as is” look is somewhat visually hostile and threatening and I could adjust my interviewing attitude to match.

See if that makes any difference. Channel Bernard.

In any case, I was out back replacing the bike lock (i.e. security system) on the chain link gate which encloses the dodgy area behind our building because the lock had been removed by the exterminator who came last week to eliminate all the mice in our building.

Ten and a half months after we moved into an apartment infested with mice and six weeks before our lease is up, the landlord shows up with an exterminator.

When the exterminator was here, I smiled and was civil to the man but thought, “You’re just here because we’ve killed so many mice on our own since living here, we have now become business competition for you.”

Maybe I should start a pest control business and employ that cat.

Oh wait.

I have a PhD. I’m over-educated and, if I’m going to use none of these degrees even a little, I’ll be wearing a dinosaur suit as my tangible defense wall against the general public as a customer service worker at a pest control business,

and I’m going to flaunt my accomplishments.

I’ve never before considered becoming an exterminator as I’m not into killing animals or creatures.

At the same time, I’m a big believer in personal space and house rules.

I’d prefer that the mice abandon their squatter rights position and go elsewhere, especially if there isn’t really any food here.

Some of the dead mice I’ve carried out of here looked rather skinny.

So either they were lazy or carriers of the plague.

Either way, they had been asked to leave. Plenty of abandoned buildings everywhere these days.

Yet, sometimes you just can’t reason with rodents.

Thus, in my exterminator business I’d have a four step plan for getting rid of them:

  1. Talk to the rodents about voluntarily joining a mouse circus or moving to the country or getting on a shuttle I would provide at no expense to occupy another abandoned building of their choice, and then leave out pamphlets and a sign-up sheet
  2. Come back the next day and transfer the cooperate rodents
  3. Release the cats I’d have employed to take care of the stragglers
  4. Spend four days literally herding cats and getting them back to the shop

When wearing a dinosaur suit, I would be so much better able to dismiss people’s odd looks as I explained my four step plan to them.

And if a customer frowned and said that they were allergic to cats, I’d refer them to another exterminator.

I’d also specialize in eliminating mice because they don’t freak me out.


Yeesh. I don’t know about rats.

I had no issue with rats until the basement storage room of a group home I worked at eighteen years ago became infested with them.

Since the people who owned the group home business didn’t want the state to find out about the rats or, essentially, deal with the problem, we were left to pretend it wasn’t happening.

A lot of that still going around these days. #coronavirus #metoo #blm

However, since it was happening, the other group home workers eventually became too scared of going down to get food, due to the rats, and so one night food-fetching became my responsibility once again.

Therefore, I left my colleagues huddled around the basement door and walked down the basement stairs.

I approached the storage room, took a deep breath, unlocked the door and OPENED THE DOOR with as much drama such an action could manifest.

Before me were three or four gigantic rats who were sitting on the food shelves.

And, as I stood there after having made my big entrance, they just kind of nonchalantly turned and looked at me.

Like, “What.”

I had expected them to be spooked as I had caught them in the act, like AHA! CAUGHT YOU!

And they couldn’t have cared less.

So we just stared at each other for a few seconds.

My plan had been to scare the rats because I’m a human and I’m bigger.

And they clearly didn’t give a flying fuck about me or my kind.

Yet, I had a house-full of angry, traumatized teenage boys upstairs who thought I was the weirdest person ever and yet also truly respected me which had taken serious work as I was just some twenty-three year-old white girl in graduate school with a weird haircut to them who the house leader hated at first which became a fun little story he liked to tell to new kids which went something like “I really HATED her when I first met her AND NOW SHE’S OUR MOM, MOTHERFUCKER, YOU WILL RESPECT HER OR I WILL BE DEALING WITH YOU” and, subsequently, the kids liked to make up stories like how I had killed someone because they didn’t get why the house leader was so crazy defensive of me when I was just this weird girl and so they added a little color commentary.

In a group home, this was the best reputation to have because all I would have to do is walk to the edge of the stairs at the end of my shift if they were being loud and they would giggle like five-year-olds and then go deathly silent.

Naturally, they didn’t want me to come upstairs and kill them all.

I am an only child and so I’ve been about forty years old since age two.

Therefore, other children and their siblings largely fascinated me. And I wondered if I could handle allegedly troubled, violent juvenile felons…


They became little children who opened up when they knew they were safe and being held to account.

I also had a good group of kids beyond their death obsession and intimidating tactics.

In any case, I couldn’t go back upstairs without dinner for everyone because a bunch of gargantuan rats felt they could take me.

For all my bravado, if the kids knew rats freaked me out, I would have lost so much ground.

At the same time, it wasn’t as if I was packing or anything. I kind of used all my tricks right away with my initial




So I just RAWRed again.

And worked up the courage to step forward with a big stomp.

And that did it.

The rats lazily ambled off the food shelves and ambivalently, casually, climbed back up and into the giant hole in the concrete wall which they had apparently excavated.

Ever since that single encounter (I had then insisted that the group home owners deal with the rats because the rats were clearly mobilizing), I’ve not been a fan of rats.

So I would have to talk to the cats I had employed at my pest control businesses about whether or not they felt able to take on rats.

We would take a vote.

Signs of the Times: Pest Control would be a work in progress.

So yesterday was clearly just one of those cosmically chaotic days and it’s great to have lived through it and feel safe, on antibiotics which are curing my infected lungs and able to listen to music.

Because music is medicine.

6 thoughts on “Rats

  1. My daughter’s first house was overrun with mice. She was unwilling to use bait for fear her baby or the dog find it. It wasn’t unusual to roust a few while vacuuming (it wasn’t for lack of trying that I never succeeded in sucking one up).

    Mice have fleas. The dog was treated with that behind-the-neck stuff, so they didn’t come from him. The flea infestation was beyond hideous. I finally persuaded her that we had to break out the Mouse-Proof. That quickly got rid of the mice, and with them out of the picture, we were able to quell the fleas.

    Mosquitoes, fleas, ticks (shudder), vampires, bedbugs–I fucking HATE anything that wants to drink my blood.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha hating things that want to drink our blood is survival instinct.

      And ugh to deal with a mice infestation and then THOSE MICE HAVE FLEAS… that almost sounds overwhelming. 🤪 Way to push through it and make your daughter see the lesser of two harms.


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