Location: Palm Beach County, Florida, United States

Recently have been told I look like Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island. I hadn't heard that in years, but that is a good place to start as to what I look like, although she had a better bod. I have three boys and have been married for 13 years. Born of a Navy family, in Hawaii, one Mom, one Dad, one sister and one brother. The eldest of three children. BS in Applied Mathematics. Consider Pensacola my home town although I moved every 2-3 years of my life growing up. Currently work in the aerospace industry in an engineering position while being a Mom. Of Celtic heritage and very proud of it.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

The RatMobile: Conclusion...

This is the conclusion of the Rat story! Finally!!! The previous installments come from e-mail I sent family and friends in October of 2003. They are written in present tense and other than names, I have altered nothing. To recap, I discovered I had a rodent living in my dash, my husband was out of town, in an irrational frenzy I tried to sell my mini-van before he got home, and am now setting multiple traps and am awaiting the demise of said rodent. This is my ongoing saga... woman vs. rodent-Bou

October, 2003

I was VICTORIOUS last night. I woke up this morning, checked the trap outside the car, saw his dead body lying underneath it (the trap was flipped over), closed the door, and called my husband for carcass removal. I have no problems trapping them, but body disposal is more than I can stomach. Isn’t that a fringe benefit of being married, bug killing and rat disposal?

I promptly called Toyota to forewarn Steve that I would be showing up with a chewed on mini-van. The first thing he said was, “Are you sure you got him?” and I replied, “Do you want me to bring the body to show you?” He declined, thankfully. The full extent of the damage was not fully understood until 11:00. The mechanic, Jay, had me come out to the car and realized his original estimation of 3 hours was wrong when I told him to remove the panels covering the wiring harnesses on the passenger side too. There was silence. The rat had chewed through 2 or 3 wiring harnesses; the connectors were still hanging on by one wire in most cases. On up the wiring harnesses, he had discriminately chewed only the yellow wires. Every yellow wire was shredded. To get a better look, Jay removed the insulation and rat poop and chewed wired fell out all over. I looked without emotion although I thought I might vomit. I didn’t want to be labeled, “A Girl”. He looked emotionless and kept working like this happened all the time. When we spoke later in the day after I had gotten to know him, he told me he was quietly freaking out, but didn’t want to alarm me. We both agreed that a full can of Lysol was in order before he touched anything again. What more damage could he do??? Everyone agreed they had never seen anything like this. The service folk at Toyota have taken to naming the rat, “Mighty Mouse”. I told them I preferred my friend’s nickname, “Rat Bastard”. The dash must be removed because the major wiring harness that runs between passenger and driver’s side has been irreparably damaged. There is no way to fix this, there would be too much splicing involved. Everything must be fully replaced. I have a car rental now and we expect it to take a full week for the repair. Jay thinks tomorrow when he removes the dashboard he’ll be able to see better if there is more extensive damage. He said it’ll take 2-3 hours to assess the damage, cross reference the parts, and put the order in. They have never ordered wiring harnesses for my vehicle. They’re built to last the lifetime of the car.

Toyota is keeping my car also because this has been deemed a safety hazard for me to drive it. I was the most concerned about wire harness chafing and a potential fire hazard. They were the most concerned about not knowing what all the wires were connected to and one good bump, things could quit working that are working now. For sure we know that nothing on the passenger side works. We can’t lock the doors or roll down the windows. The ‘open door indicator’ light is still on, but I grew concerned that a short in the air bag could cause my air bag to go off and we don’t even want to go into how that is my biggest fear being a 5’2” woman, not much bigger than the average 12 year old. If a car wreck doesn’t kill me, the air bag will.

So that’s where I am. The rat is dead. My car is a mess. I’m driving a rental.

On the positive side, every man I have worked with through this has been great to me. The folks at Enterprise are giving me insurance rates on the van rental even though I don’t have rental coverage on my insurance. The mechanic and service guys at my Toyota dealership are going above and beyond. When I had to pick up my kids from school, the manager of the dealership let me borrow his van to get the kids and run errands, with the only stipulation I be back before he left at 5:00. There are some truly great people out there and incidents like this keep my faith and hope that all is not lost on this planet.

That said, here are a few things that have happened via e-mail. First, this is not uncommon. I have heard from many people now (including Toyota personnel) who have related stories of mice getting caught in car A/Cs and dying in there, leaving an awful stench. No thank you. I have heard of another person who had a rat and had their seats eaten into. For some reason, this brings comfort to me. Don’t ask why, I don’t know.

Second, a friend of mine jokingly said she would use her Glock to take out the rat, setting an example for others and to take out his whole rodent gang too. So do you think she may be half Italian? ;-) There will be no target practice with rodents in my garage. My POA would have a fit and of course I would miss and the bullet would ricochet and kill me instead, insuring the Rodent’s win in this life or death contest. I preferred his death over mine.

Third should any of you meet my sister, Morrigan, please let her know that rats truly are more disgusting than squirrels. She informed me the other day that “The only difference between a rat and a squirrel is a squirrel has a better outfit.” Nope. It isn’t an outfit thing, I promise. Rats are just creepy gross. I could watch a squirrel battling my Dad’s birdfeeder for hours. I couldn’t watch a rat do anything… for even a nanosecond. Ick. I think I may be scarred for life.

And in case any of you had any doubt as to whether I was obsessing over this (I assure you, I was!), here is a key indicator… this had seeped into my subconscious. I awoke Tuesday night to a nightmare. I dreamt I was sitting on the hood of my car in my garage, waiting for nightfall so I could see the rat come out and kill him once and for all. It got dark and suddenly all these rodents crawled out from under my car and the garage shelves, mice, a rat, hamsters and gerbils. All I kept thinking was, “Oh My God! I don’t have enough traps!” Yeah, I would say I was a little obsessed.

Now he’s dead. Now it’s over except for paying the bills. Hopefully my insurance company will pick up a good portion of that tab. –D.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

YAY! I love a happy ending... Meaning the death of a rodent, not the total overhaul of your vehicle's wiring. Did you dump it right away, or wait a week? Sorry, but I don't know if I could drive it after that!

Arthur won't let me have a bird feeder anymore because it brings rats. Huge canal rats that eat the seed. The rats bring the snakes. :P

He used to sit on the back porch of our old house and kill the rats on the feeder with a BB gun. ;)

pamibe (forgot to log in)

1:02 PM  
Blogger Sally said...

Yay! I love a happy ending too!

3:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fabulous!!! I'm gonna link all 6. They were great!

9:03 PM  
Blogger Caltechgirl said...

Heh. Obviously I have a warped perspective on rats and rat poo, since I work with them, but I have to admit that the thought of a large, wild brown rat having its way with my vehicle would induce vomiting in me too. Glad the trap actually worked. Sometimes they don't work on the large males (which can weigh up to a pound, while a huge male mouse weighs just a couple of ounces)

7:54 AM  

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