The Intruder

Rat-a-tat-a-tat… rat-a-tat-a-tat…

“Hmm, maybe there’s something rolling around on the roof,” I thought, mindlessly online shopping as the noise overhead became more and more insistent. But after ten minutes my ability to ignore and deny no longer worked. The noise was a definite scratching and pawing in the attic crawlspace. I had an intruder trying to get past the access panel in the ceiling.

My first thought was not to panic and keep it Disney. “Oh, it’s just a poor little squirrel,” I said to myself as my skin started to crawl. But as the scratching got more frenzied and the sound of my voice did nothing to deter it, I had to face facts that it was more likely our old friend, the scourge of DC residents, the ancient carrier of yersinia pestis, the rat.

Like many an urban dweller, we’ve had a rat problem before. Apparently it’s unavoidable when you have an old townhouse with lots of nooks and crannies for little critters to squeeze their way into. Our pest control technician told me not to fret, that it wasn’t a sign of my housekeeping slovenliness but simply a fact of urban life. “The worst rodent problems I see,” he said, trying to reassure me, “are in Georgetown. You know, where all the rich people live? Those people have housekeepers!”

So what do you do when there’s a rat trying to get into the warmth of your house, and eat it’s way through your bread supply? Well, you can call Animal Control, who will refer you to a trapping service. Or you can have a pest control company on contract like we do. Of course on Sunday you just have to wait it out until the next morning when you can cry on your technician’s shoulder.

In the meantime, city rodents don’t give a rat’s ass whether you shout at them “you’re not coming in here, you – big – jerk!” and don’t even get me started on how lame city housecats are as they yawn in your face when you beg, “please Violet, protect me!” (ok, she’s a traitor, but Jules has a good excuse ). So what do you do?

Stand under the access panel and hiss with all your diaphragmatic power. It stopped my intruder in its tracks.
But only for a while…

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