Friday, March 06, 2009

Stowaway Poppets and oh...rats, benign interlopers all

We have a rat. Well, we think it's a rat. It might be rats. Not sure yet. So far, we have only clues and evidence. Droppings and rat bites in the nacho bag. We found the entry hole, about the size of a silver dollar---which is actually not too much of a challenge even for a good sized rat. We cleaned everything out of the little pantry over the oven (this house is old by California standards---built in the 1950's.) On Thursday night Aubrey and I left a doughnut hole in the pantry. I'd heard munching aplenty on Wednesday, so we thought we might find our doughnut hole in the morning with bites that would tell us how big our visitor is. It was fun actually. She and I stayed up late watching Poltergeist, and occasionally tiptoeing into the kitchen to listen for rat sign.

But nothing. We went to bed at midnight. And this morning, not even a crumb of the glazed doughnut hole, rather large, remained. hmm.

I'm awaiting the arrival of a humane trap. We don't want to share our food with non-inoculated rodents, but don't want to harm them either. There's a bathroom just on the other side of the oven wall, so we figure the pipes there (did I mention this is an old-ish house?) are where they're getting water.

I'm in no big hurry. It's a small, secondary pantry away from everything else. And I've never had a big aversion to rats, just a healthy respect for the formidable load of disease they carry. I'd kiss a rat---an innoculated, clean rat. I certainly kiss Zorcon (Aubrey's guinea.) But then, Zorcon has had his shots, and I know what he eats and where he's been.

This little adventure reminds me to recommend to you a book I discovered last year. I pulled it from the bookshelf last night, from a stack of nine or so other books about rats. Rats, by Robert Sullivan.
Do yourself a favor and read this book. Robert Sullivan is a wonderful narrator. You'll go in thinking you're reading a book about rats and discover more about human beings than you meant to.
It's bigger inside than out. I promise. Here's an interview with Robert Sullivan.

I have no idea how it happened, but four, yes 4, steampunk poppets became stowaways in a recent shipment. They traveled by land and by air and yesterday arrived back home wearing stickers and slightly groggy but contented expressions. They are now resting comfortably on cotton beds until their next adventure.
Their story, amusingly told and with fun photos, is here.

So. It's Friday night. I'm full of creative energy but the day started early and your artist is tired. There are five kids here, and two teenagers. We went to the park and played kickball until it was too
dark to see the ball and too cold and windy to stay out. Tomorrow Aubrey heads out to Santa Monica to an open house at the Arts Institute. Soon she will be gone from this house. sheesh.
Here we go again.

I'm going to have a drink---whiskey, I think, and Irish cream. And catch up on some Daily Show. I put a bit of rice crispy treat for our elusive little friend(s). But no milk, because once you go there, you've crossed the line into Pet and Crazy. Already Spencer suggested I leave a notepad and pencil, so the rat can tell me his preferences for snacks.

We'll see what happens. I'll keep you posted. Have a good Saturday.


ravyn said...

i can tell you from experience, Poppets definitely find ways to go where they want to go!

Out here in the MidAtlandic, we're having above normal temps this weekend, it's already 64F (stop laughing at me). Along with some non-art imperatives, this weekend i will paint paint paint. With the windows open.

Did i mention i've pretty much had it with winter? LOL

dunabit said...

Rats are very smart, as you know, and are suspicious of changes to their environment, so they likely intentionally avoided your doughnut as a potential hazard.

A friend of mine defeated ratty incursions into her house by plugging the rat hole with a wire pot scrubber, and then covering the hole with wire mesh.

spence said...

yes. I am laughing at you. Actually, 64 sounds pretty good.

dunabit: it didn't avoid the doughnut hole---it ate every bit of it---and the rice crispy treat. right, plugging the hole might work, but if they're living in the walls and/or attic, they will likely find another way in. That they are so very smart only makes me appreciate them more.

lisa said...

arrrrrgh! apparently we have a new settings problem, and I'm going to need to fix it, pay more attention, or put another computer in the studio. sheesh!
(the 'spence' comment was me)

ravyn said...

i figured it was you, since Spencer has yet to laugh at me. Well, here on the blog at least ;-)

Here laugh at me some more - i can't find my cane. i thought i brought it to the townhouse but i can't find it. And not only will i need it for traveling, i wanted to give it a nice Steampunk makeover, grrrrr.

katie said...

Glad they made the return trip safely! :D It was an honor and pleasure to entertain them during their stay.