Today my oldest daughter was sitting at the computer next to the window when she told me she saw a rat. The window looks out over our back deck, three stories off the ground. It's not uncommon to see squirrels and birds and I call the area back there our back yard.
My garden is back there, too. And the morning glories that I grew from seed - that, I must add, give me such joy in the morning that when I feed the dog, I pad out around the corner just to look at the blooms. We used to have wisteria before I killed it. Apparently it needs water. We're also growing gardenias, which are my husband's favorite flowers.
One time I had some lettuce planted in - wait for it - a planter and I saw a squirrel dig some up and run off with it. I chased it down, but he got away. I figured today's sighting was much of the same. I kept grilling her whether she saw the tail. "Was it fluffy?" No, in fact, it wasn't. Her description very perfectly described a rat.
When she told me the direction it ran to, down the corner of the house, I immediately went one floor down to the the deck off my bedroom. On that deck, we pretty much store stuff. That's where we keep stuff that is about to go somewhere else. I had just put several bags of clothes and toys that we're going to give away. These were pretty big bags. The deck also had a few boxes of stuff that I don't know what to do with. I think I put them there thinking they'd be easy to take care of, but never got around to it. Besides all that stuff in limbo, we have a reclining exercise bike, my treadmill, drying racks for laundry (filled, of course) and a TV sitting on a giant butcher block with drawers that, rather than go in a kitchen where it would be perfectly suited, it collects dust and holds our CD collection. Did I need to mention that all of this is outside?
I went to work and brought all the things for donation inside and threw away two or three bags of garbage that we've been storing as stuff all this time. I swept and the next thing you know it, my lower deck is in very nice, clean shape. There is also nowhere for any rats to hang out, make a nest, or find food.
Feeling quite satisfied with myself, except that I'm not sure where to donate the stuff, I went about my business. After coming home from some adventures, I was in my living room when both of my daughters start making a commotion trying to get me to look outside. Lo and behold! There is a rat next to my dog's water bowl as if he's washing his hands about to make ratatouille. He had big dark eyes like the cat in "Shrek" or that ridiculous guinea pig in "Bedtime Stories." I didn't even know what to do. I'm not the type to catch it and kill it with my bare hands. So, I did what any other person would do without a clue: I ran after it and yelled. I then stomped on the deck to scare it even more. Then I got the willies and shivered a bit. Then I went inside without the foggiest notion of what to do next, except blog about it, of course.