There is a rat in my house.
I haven’t slept in 84 hours. I haven’t stepped foot in the kitchen, either. I’ve been crying. I’ve been shaking. I have come undone. I’m terrified, horrified and mortified. In that order.
First of all, did you know that roof rats are a thing? Well, they are. And they live mostly in Florida. More specifically, they live in my roof in Florida.
Last Thursday morning I went to the gym. When I got home, I helped Jason put the finishing touches on the kids before he took them to school. As the door shut behind them, I sighed with peaceful relief. Total silence. The house was all mine for the next 30 minutes until our new cleaning lady arrived and I headed out to work.
In typical Nicole fashion, I was running around trying to clean up before the cleaning lady rang the doorbell. (Just kidding, we don’t have a doorbell. Those are for homes that work properly.) Anyway, I was standing at the sink doing some dishes when HOLY FUCKING SHIT! A rat charged out from under a cabinet and literally ran over my feet. MY FUCKING FEET. (There is no way on God’s great earth that I can tell this story without cursing profusely. So buckle up. It’s going to get way fucking worse.)
I was screaming for my life.
And I now know that our neighbors are either 1.) deaf or 2.) never going to save us in an emergency situation. Because the screaming that I was doing when that FUCKING RAT ran over my FUCKING FEET was the kind of screaming that makes your neighbors call 911.
Hammy came running into the kitchen wagging his tail and looking at me with frantic fear. He had no idea what was going on. I’ve never wished my dog was a cat before that day. I was screaming and shaking and violently throwing a nearby stack of Valentine’s Day cards on the floor. (Trying to kill the rat with love and paper cuts, I assume.) Totally unhinged.
I ran into my bedroom and locked the door. The kitchen sink was still running. The cleaning lady would be here any minute but there was no way I was going back out there so I texted her, “Front door’s open. Just come in when you get here. I’m in the shower.” Never met this woman before. Some first impression.
So Lourdes (that’s the cleaning lady) lets herself in to find the kitchen faucet spraying water, a few dozen Valentine’s Day cards thrown on the floor and a dog barking wildly in her face.
I rushed through my shower, scribbled out a check for Lourdes and waved to the stranger cleaning my house as I hightailed it out the door.
Now here’s were the story gets good.
I called a pest control guy and he agreed to meet me back at the house around lunchtime. Great. So I texted Lourdes (again) to let her know I’d be back. I didn’t mention the rat or the pest control guy because I was afraid she’d quit on her first day. And mama needs her cleaning lady.
When I pulled up to my house, the pest guy’s truck was in the driveway… but he was nowhere to be found. Shit. Lourdes must have let him in and now he’s telling her there’s a rat in the house and she’s going to quit and I’m going to have to find another cleaning lady. Fuck. Shit. Fuck.
But I was wrong. The pest guy didn’t tell Lourdes about the rat. She found out the hard way.
I opened the front door and there’s the cleaning lady sitting on my kitchen counter – crying – knees under her chin – rocking back and forth.
Lourdes: Ay, ay, ay! Miss Nicole, it’s a rat. It ran over my feet!
Me: Please don’t quit.
This fucking rat bastard has a foot fetish. Dirty shitbag.
So Lourdes explains to me that she and the pest guy were in the kitchen. He moved the oven and the rat ran out – over her feet – then back under the oven.
The good news is we had him cornered! The pest guy was surrounding the oven with glue pads and traps. There was no where for the rat to go. Dead man walking.
When the pest guy felt everything was ready, he gave us the signal. Silence. He moved the oven and the rat ran out! But did we catch him? NO!!! Because only the Levine family would have a classically-trained Juilliard rat. This motherfucker leapt over the traps like a prima ballerina, landed, did a curtsy and vanished back under the cabinets into the walls.
The look on Lourdes’s face as she stared at the floor, still rocking back and forth in a ball on my kitchen counter, is something I cannot put into words.
The pest guy just stood there with his hands on his hips. Shocked. He goes, “Wow. That’s some rat.”
So now my house is booby trapped from head to toe and we wait impatiently for the rat to make a wrong move. I won’t go near the scene of the crime. I hide under my comforter all night shaking and looking at real estate – half because I love looking at real estate / half because I’m thinking I’ll just sell the house if we can’t catch the rat. Wouldn’t be the first time I overreacted.
Life in the Sunshine State. It’s pretty ratched.