Back in February I woke up one night to hear ominous scratchy noises in the exterior wall of my bedroom. Banged on the wall and heard whatever it was scamper away. It was a very loud scamper. This was no cute little mousey. A few minutes later, it was back. To put it mildly, I freaked. I turned on all the lights in my house, and several radios at high volume, got dressed and went to work at 4 a.m. Around 7 I called my neighbor. Luckily he was off that day, so I persuaded him to go over to my house and look around in the attic for me. Nice guy that he is, he even turned off all the lights and radios, gave the dogs snacks, and locked up when he left. Neighbors don't come better. Unfortunately, he didn't find anything in the attic, but he put some poison up there and came back a few days later to see that nothing had changed. It hadn't. No more noises, poison undisturbed. We figured I had scared whatever it was off. YEAH!
So I haven't thought much about the fact that I had this poison up in the attic. I don't go up there. Ever. (And I'm sure you all can see where this is going, right?) Last Saturday I came home from running errands and smelled something when I walked in the door. My thought was, "Dang, how in the world did I forget to take out the garbage?" Went and emptied all the trashcans in the house and forgot about it. That night I went out to dinner (more on that later) and when I got home the smell was much stronger. And then the lightbulb went off, there's something in the attic. Well I wasn't going to even consider looking up there at 9:30 at night, so I opened my windows, threw extra blankets on the bed and hoped for the best.
Sunday morning the stench was getting pretty bad. I had another friend climb up there and look around, but no luck, and strangely, no smell in the attic. The thing must be in the walls. Called the wonderful neighbor (who happens to be a carpenter) and asked about trying to get into the walls. He was out of town. Spray lots of air freshener and leave the windows open again for another night. Thank goodness for mild weather.
Monday: The smell is now quite overwhelming. Nice Neighbor has agreed to help me out after work. He walks in and says he can't smell anything! I'm almost wretching. Turns out he has some serious hay fever going on and can't smell at all. A real godsend in this case. We cut some small holes in a few of the walls of my former office (now junk room) and I stick my nose in to see if we can locate the critter, but no luck. We cut bigger holes, still nothing. He finally goes back up in the attic to see if he can track the thing and after 2 hours finally finds one hugmongous (and extremely dead) rat buried deep in the insulation.
The worst part is that having talked to a lot of people about this (or in other words, freaking out all over the place) everyone says, "oh yeah, that happened to me too." It's one of the nice benefits of living in swampland. Oops, I mean The Lowcountry!
One silver lining. I'm going to learn how to repair sheetrock, and I now have a lot of incentive to start my home improvements.
I wonder how hard it would be to enclose my home in a plastic bubble?