Monday, August 4, 2014

I Smell A Rat

It had been a long day: up all night with the baby, up early with Jamie (that kid – it’s like he’s on amphetamines with the way he doesn’t sleep).  Tony took his truck to the shop (it was leaking antifreeze, which now I realize is probably why all the neighborhood cats have been hanging out in our front yard.  Sorry, neighbors, I hope your cats don’t die) early and then went to basketball, coming home after I had fed and bathed and dressed everyone, a feat just short of miraculous and possible only because Freddie wisely slept through the morning chaos. 


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Then began my work as a chauffer, since it was payroll day and I had to go to the office.  First, Tony to work.  Next, kids to school.  Then, me and Freddie to work where we worked for a couple of hours.  Then, to our business’s new building (!) to meet the sellers and discuss some stuff.  Then, me and Leland to the chiropractor (oh, that was so needed – I hadn’t been in a year or more and the pregnancy, delivery, and caring for a baby had taken their toll for sure), Leland back to work, and finally, me and Freddie home where a good (the best, really) friend was waiting for us with lunch.  After lunch, I started the reverse process by taking Tony to pick up his truck, getting the children, and getting everyone ready to go to a birthday party that evening.


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I nursed Freddie twice in parking lots, had a tearful breakdown at daycare, and drank too much coffee while eating too little throughout the day.


We got home from the party full of strawberry shortcake and refreshed by fun conversation with great friends.  As we always do, we pulled the van into the garage and extricated all our children and belongings (babies come with so much STUFF).  Charles barreled past me as I opened the door into the house with the car seat in one hand and the diaper bag in the other and we were immediately hit with a stench so powerful, so thick, my eyes started to water.


“What’s that smell?” I yelled, thinking that one of our neighbors must be grilling some particularly disgusting meat or maybe hadn’t cleaned their grill from the last time they grilled some particularly disgusting meat.


As usual, Buster was excitedly waiting for us at the top of the stairs, wagging his tail so hard you’d think his butt would fly off (“They’re home!

They’re home!  I thought they’d never come back!  They’re home!”).  The sun had started to go down and we hadn’t left any lights on, so Buster was almost a silhouette.  He was so happy to see us.


But he had something in his mouth.


Something dark.


Something with a tail.


“WHAT is in Buster’s MOUTH???”  Charles screamed.


I immediately connected the stupefying stench with the obviously dead creature, which I presumed to be a rat based on the tail girth and length, and screamed for Tony to “Eeeew!  Get it away from him!!!”


The only other time Buster has presented a dead animal to us was on Tony’s thirtieth birthday, six months or so after we moved to Mount Vernon.  I screamed, shooed the damn dog outside, and called Tony to come home and deal with the situation (happy birthday!  Your dog got you a present!).


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God DAMMIT, you disgusting dog.


Turns out that both the squirrel that Buster had six years ago and the rat (or baby opossum or whatever) that he had on Friday were long dead, but that made him no less proud of his prizes.  How he got them in their decomposing states, we’ll never know, but after this most recent incident, I’m beginning to suspect he likes them that way.  Like a fine wine, he catches small animals and then ages them for later retrieval and enjoyment.


Tony, bless his manly heart, somehow got the rotting animal away from Buster and disposed of it while I went all the way upstairs to nurse the baby and gag every time I thought about that rat.  I pleaded with Tony to mop the floor in case their were bits of diseased, decomposed rodent that had dropped off of the thing, just waiting to be ingested by one of the kids when they pick up a dropped spoon from the floor.  I sniffed phantom odors of putrefied varmint meat for the rest of the evening.


Because I must be fundamentally incapable of looking on the bright side, all I can think about now is that, at some point, there was a live rat in my back yard, happily spreading bubonic plague and God knows what else, digging around, having little rat babies, and somehow finding a food source.  I just… I can’t… YUCK.

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