Thursday, June 13, 2019

Super Nose

Guess what's in the bag?

My ex-husband once told me that he thought I was a super-taster or had a super-nose (he's a chef), but my kids always mock me when I ask, what's that smell? They think I'm prone to exaggeration in addition to being, possibly, the most annoying human on the planet. I don't want to make this post one of those kid-basher ones, filled with the cliches of teenagers and the insufferable arrogance of young adults (I am perfectly aware of my own insufferable young adulthood but shhhhhhh, don't tell my parents). I don't want to badmouth The Brothers because they are divine in many respects, but damn if they haven't been helpful or even supportive in the rat saga of this past week. Neither agreed to handle any trapped rats (my feminism comes to a screeching halt when it comes to dead rats in traps) and last Saturday, after the traps were set and lined up behind the stove and the microwave stand in the kitchen, and we all heard the most horrific clatter and then silence, no one stepped up to check it out. Well, Henry did actually come out of his room with a bat and Carl did shine his phone light behind the stove, but the only thing we saw was one of what we thought were five (this is a crucial hint) traps a little skewed. No rats, though, and everyone carried on their days and nights as if nothing was the matter, as if roof rats, flying through trees and into the attic and jumping from vents onto pot racks over stoves and nibbling beautiful pears and cherries and making their way into the dining room to feast on the bits and pieces of food that fall from the wheelchair and then making their way back to their home or nests in the Christmas decorations and vintage toys and suitcases and skittering all about were NO BIG DEAL, were a problem that would magically take care of itself because that's the way things went in their home with their mother lying about all day.

The days went by.

I think I smelled something a couple of days ago but was met with the usual derision and mockery. I don't smell anything, they said and then rolled their eyes or did what boys do when my back is turned. I'm annoying -- it's annoying -- when I twitch my nose and sniff.  Today was the day that The Rat Man was coming back to seal all the holes in the house where the rats were coming in and out. I planned my day around this event because The Brothers were busy. I imagine the gears in their adorable heads clicking, clicking, pondering. What does she do all day, anyway? Does she even exist outside of my supreme sphere? The Rat Man arrived on time, bless him, and began his work. He is a peculiar guy in the way that certain occupations command peculiar, but Reader, I love him. When I told him about the clattering episode and asked him to shine his light behind the stove, he complied and then I swear I saw his nose twitch and he said, I smell rat. I practically shouted, I SMELL SOMETHING, TOO! and then thought about jumping up and down in excitement (not about the rat but because having someone actually confirm my suspicions which means affirm my skills, my extremely honed intuitive senses, my super-nose, my infallibility, etc. etc. is everything in these late middle-aged times) but instead said nervously, Do you see that fifth trap a bit at a distance from the other four? And he got down on his knees and claimed that the smell was urine and then he said, no, it's rat, and where's the sixth tra -- and before he got out the p and just as I said, SIX? I thought there were only FIVE? he said, I got him! Do you have a plastic bag? and I ran and got him a plastic garbage bag and reverently shook it out and handed it to him and left the room.

We have one rat bagged and every little hole in this hundred year old house screened up and against them. I texted The Brothers and Carl the good news and included a bit of my own exultation over smelling something funny. No one has acknowledged this, of course, but Henry did text me back:


  1. Henry kills with the humor.

    At my previous home, surrounded by a lovely forest of trees, we, too, had rats in the attic. We could hear them scurrying about at night. Quarterly pest control services were put into action. We'd find dead rats ALL THE TIME in the garage. I was so butch, I gathered them into the plastic bag all by myself (kinda like taking care of dog poop) and tossed them in the trash. Horribly, icky, no good job.

    Let me say, you've got a nose for many things, including rat piss and rotting rat corpses.

    Glad the work is done and life will resume!!

  2. I've always said that the main thing I like having a husband for is because he deals with the dead animals. And also, not dead animals. Of course I truly do love him for a lot of things even more than that but the animal thing is real and I'm a little bit serious.
    Bless you.
    Bailey White wrote a story about a rat man and I'll look and see if I can find out where it is. It's good.

  3. I would like to see the look on Henry's face if you had cooked it.

  4. I have the nose too. I sometimes wonder if I'd prefer to have no sense of smell at all, because it can really be a torture.

  5. OMG Where are the emojis for laughing, screeching and hiding your face? Ew! So glad you got them - and yep, gotta laugh.

  6. The nose knows! Thank goodness that rat is no more. So funny! (From this far remove.)

  7. Good news after all. I admire your smell sense (if I may say so) and your patience and tolerance of the young men.
    You did a stellar job there in all respects.

    Once, when we lived in a very basic bungalow type of hut in a small African country close to the equator and my in-laws were visiting, playing scrabble and drinking g&t's, a rat fell down from somewhere inside the corrugated tin roof and all the adults (i.e. husband, MIL and FIL) bar one jumped up on the chairs, shouting. Guess who chased the rat outside with a broom?????
    There are days when this story comes in handy, I can tell you. I get a lot of mileage out of it to this day. And so will you and your sense of smell.

  8. This post was a real thriller.

  9. Great story. I have mice in my rented abode. Traps didn't kill them. Peppermint smell didnt do a thing
    Exterminator came and plugged up one hole. Bait stations didn't work as they only grazed. Finally loose green poison pellets under the sink and only there finally did the trick. They feasted for three nights and that was it. A cruel way to go for sure but no other method worked. It scares the heck out of me when they randomly start running around the living room every day after 4 pm. Fearless. They were. I was terrified. I live near the ocean so more will come in the fall as the weather cools down. I am ready.

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