I’m extremely emotional today and over-caffeinated, both of which may be important details in this story. Also, Seattle is about to fry. No one has air conditioning and we’re preparing for a string in the 90s. Most of us start to complain when it tops 70. Since we can’t leave our windows open at night and still feel safe, we open everything up in the early morning to cool the house down. This morning, I headed to close our back door right as A RAT was trying to ENTER my HOUSE!
A RAT! My house! It may be a little my fault, time to vacuum and mop, but oh my god! A rat!
I screamed. It ran and hid behind a box filled with broken outdoor toys we haven’t discarded. I slammed the door like a grizzly bear was about to eat me. Charlie and Miles learned about “eebie-jeebies” and watched me shriek and shake my jitters out all around the house. They didn’t seem to care much. They didn’t even ask to see the rat.
Gathering my composure, I continued to close up the house. After I shut the boys’ bedroom windows, which requires me climbing on top of Miles’ bed, I stepped down only to encounter this scene in Charlie’s loft bed:
I screamed again. Then I laughed.
I knew the day would come when Samuel Bearded would scare the shit out of me. Today was the day. (Yes, we discovered his real name! It’s written on the tranverse plane between his neck and his former body!)
Interrupting the boys, this time to tell them of my adventure with Samuel, Miles giggled with pride, “I did that!” It worked, kiddo. It worked.
“So boys, want to see the rat?” I regretted asking immediately, but knew I had to face this fear. I needed to water my garden. There were raspberries to harvest. I might as well have moral support.
I opened the door. It was still there.
As they watched, I pushed the box with a broom, anticipating the rat would run under the garden shed. Nope. Too easy. Instead it jumped onto our grill and hid under the cover.
“Aw, it’s cute!” Charlie gushed.
Shit. They make nests in grills. I didn’t think that was going to happen, but I didn’t want it getting cozy there, either.
I tapped at the cover with the broom. Nothing. I wiggled the grill with the broom. Aware that the boys are watching me, I was saying things like, “Just a little earthquake, rat! Come on out.” Nothing. It wasn’t budging.
The friggin’ rat was going to make me take the cover off.
I made a lot of nervous noises and grossed out faces while the boys observed from inside. I walked towards the cover and backed away. A few times. I asked Charlie if he wanted to do it. Nope.
Mustering up my courage and wanting to show the boys a good example (ha!), I approached, trying to pull it off like a magician pulling a tablecloth out from under dishes. The surprised rat tumbled off the handle, onto the cement and hid between a few of my potted plants.
“Oh, it’s SO cute!” Charlie exclaimed. Again.
I heard a quick whooshing noise and slammed the door again. “What was that?” “Did it come in?” Charlie looked around. “No, I don’t think so.” Clearly, I’m nuts. As if the rat would come back towards us. What, while wearing a cape to make a noise like that? Sheesh.
I went to open the door again but Charlie pleaded, “No, don’t open it!”
Rats. (Bwa-ha-ha. It had to be used.) I passed my fear to him. Just like that.
“Oh, honey. It’s fine. I’m sorry I scared you. I’m afraid of rats but they’re really more scared of us and won’t hurt us if we give them space.”
I opened the door, peeked at the pots and saw the rat tail. In my panic, I had thrown the cover back on top of the grill as the rat dropped. The cover must’ve fallen to the ground and made that noise. I shooed the rat away from the plants and checked in with the boys, who were still watching me with growing curiosity. “Yay! It’s gone!” I faked a little cheer.
“Are you alright?” Charlie asked me with genuine concern, but also a little smirk. I don’t think he’s ever asked me this question with that look on his face. He saw a little of the crazy in his mama. At least he found it funny.
I watered my plants and picked my berries with a hyper vigilant eye, all while thinking, “I bet that rat comes back. It probably likes berries.” Then I went inside and told the boys yet again, this time calmly and collected, that rats aren’t to be feared. (Hahahahaha.) We shouldn’t pet city rats, but they can certainly touch pet rats.
“Yes, people have rats as pets…”
“Oh, I’m glad you think they’re cute, Charlie, but no.”
Some days, when emotions are high, you just may pass on your phobias to your kids. Or, if you’re really lucky, they’ll want one as a pet.