Sunday, August 18, 2013


Some of you have noticed I have not been around,  some noticed and made contact in other ways, and some will only notice when I mention this fact. 

Part of the reason has been that we have been crazy busy at work.  With a launch coming up things always get a little crazy to begin with but we also were moving our shop to a new area and it was this moment that, of course, Murphy chose to have equipment breaking right and left.  So we have been working crazy hours. 

That alone is enough to keep things quiet over here but even then, I try to check in at lunch at least.  No this quiet was one of those things.  You know the kind that was a disaster at the time and now looking back at it from a few days distant, I can begin to see the humor in it.  You know those times where you guys get a good story. 

It was Thursday night.  I had clocked close to sixty hours in the work week already and so was tired, very tired.  I was making my way towards bed when the dog assumed her "Oh look a mouse" stance.  She always does the same thing, watches a spot intensely where she has just seen something zip by.  If she sees it twice, as in this case, she will go make an attempt to chase it down. 

I had been making chit chat with The Man on the texts and he said "remember life is short".  I replied with a joking "life is very short for that mouse!"  He laughed when I explained and I made myself a note to put out mouse traps the next day.  I get a mouse now and then out here.  Usually when someone moves out of a house or something big changes in the neighborhood.  The construction crew next door had just hauled out their roll off dumpster so I assumed this was the source of the mouse.

I hit the bed and was out in no time only to be woken in a few hours by a pacing whiny dog.  She had been a bit urfy since she got a hold of an off bit of veggie scavenged from the compost.  I assumed she was needing to go out so got up and let her outside.  She ran out but came right back so we went right back to bed.  I was back to sleep only to repeat this cycle about every hour all night long.  I finally stopped getting up to let her out when I figured out she was not interested in going out at all.  I just told her to go back to bed and went back to sleep. 

At that rate, morning came way too soon and I struggled out of bed.  I let the dog out and fed her and made my way to the shower.  At one point I heard her let out one sharp bark and it crossed my mind that maybe that dang cat was back in the yard.   I heard her moving around the bedroom so figured all was well and finished my shower. 

Wrapped in a towel with another wrapped around my hair, I walked into the bedroom to get into my uniform and then I saw it.  There laying on her bed was my precious puppy.  Laying on the floor in front of her was the source of her sleeplessness as well as mine.  It was no mouse, it was in fact a rat, a quite large rat.  It was no Chicago sewer rat but for California it was a good sized rat.  It lay there stretched out on its side, quite dead, from head to tail wider than my girl who looked up at me with pride. 

I called her to me and she stood and picked it up.  "Leave it" I told her and she placed it back on the floor and came to my side.  I made her go outside and closed the door locking her out.  I should have known nothing was that easy.  I should have known better, I really should have, but I missed the signs. 

I walked back through the house carrying the kitchen trash can and a long handled grabber.  I paused in the hall to adjust my towel and then walked back into the bedroom.  There I found....   nothing. It took my sleepy brain a second to process the thoughts.  Larssen had tried to pick up that rat because it was not dead and I made her leave it behind to wander off who knows where while I put her outside. 

I looked around the room and realized that it had to be under the bed or in the closet.  There was no where else to hide.  I sighed, set down the trash can, and closed the door as I went back to the front of the house.  I came back with a baseball bat and a flash light.  Outside, I can hear the dog pitching an absolute fit but no way am I letting her back in just yet. 

Back in the bed room I survey the situation.  I have dust ruffle or whatever you call those thingies that hide the legs of the bed.  This means I have to lift it with one hand and look under while holding the flash light in the other.  I am not a fan of this idea as I lack a third hand to hold the bat in.  I am panicking a bit at this moment wondering how I am going to accomplish this feat.  Finally I decide that if I set the flashlight on the floor and use one hand to tuck the dust ruffle under the mattress I can both see and hold the bat. 

So here I am crawling around on the floor in a towel trying to look under the bed for ratzilla.  I have a small heart attack when the towel on my head slides off and lands next to me.  I pause long enough to throw it on the bed then resume my search.  I realize that my wet hair is now falling in my face and pause again to grab a hair band and tie it back.  As I get back down on the floor I see it.  It is sitting there centered under the bed looking for all the world just like a drowned rat or at least one that was been thoroughly drooled upon.

I try moving the bed a bit and it moves itself back to center position.  I try again with the same result so I get myself into a good spot and take aim on the bugger.  I take a very uncoordinated swing at it and realize that to swing the bat, I lose sight of it and of course promptly miss.  It moves to the far side of the by the time I regroup and readjust the flashlight to see it better.  I move to the side of the bed nearest to the wall.  I tuck up the dust ruffle and blind the dang thing with the flash light.  I ponder how to swing on it when it occurs to me to just whap it straight on with the bat.  

I make the sudden jab and it flies a bit away with a pitiful squeak.  It pulls itself off a bit with its front paws and it is clear that I have just rendered its hinders non-functional.  Relieved, some part of my mind recognizes that now I have a fighting chance of catching the dang thing.  then of course reality sinks in and I realize that it is STILL under the bed.  I can not reach it even if I wanted to.  I can not just whack it on the head and kill it as it is of course still under the bed. We stare each other down for a tense second when I remember the grabber.  I get up and retrieve it and then reach under the bed with it.  A slow speed chase ensues as it tries to evade me but I finally get a grip on its scruff and yank it from under the bed. 

It squeaks so loud that the dog is at the outside of the bedroom window pitching a fit. I hurl that dang rat into the trash can and slam the lid and lock it.  Now and only now do I do that whole shuddery, twitchy, OMG gross dance.  Then I rush the trash can, bat and grabber thing to the back door and toss the lot out onto the patio.  The dog darts past me, back into the house, and runs for the bedroom. 

With visions or the thing leaping out of the can at me and attacking, I carefully open the trash lid and quickly grab the bag out of the can.  I give it a spin to seal the top and set it on the patio long enough to whack the rat out of this world and then toss it into the big trash can.  I throw the bat and the grabber into the tub and spray the heck out of them with the strongest cleaner I have.  Then I go back to the bedroom to clean it as well.  I recognize by now that I am in perhaps a bit more state of panic than I should be.

This thought barely clears my brain when I realize that something is wrong.  It is then that I realize that I can not breathe and am fact am having a massive asthma attack.  I should not be surprised.  The only thing I am more allergic to than cats is rodents.   I should have been prepared for this but I was not. 

I manage to get to the night stand where I grab my inhaler and use it.  I do not feel it working so hit it again.  Still nothing.  I reach out to the night stand again and grab my phone.  If the inhaler does not start working I am in trouble and I know it, so I dial TIM.  He does not answer.  I hit the inhaler again and redial and drop the phone.  It pops open the texting screen to my last text.  I tap out a few keys to The Man, "need help, call" and hit send.  Hitting the inhaler yet again, I manage to hit the slider thing that dials from text.  It rings The Man's phone but he does not answer either. 

I am about to give in and dial 911 when I feel the first signs that the inhaler is working.  Relieved that I do not have to worry about them getting in the house with the dog, I wait.  Finally after a seeming eternity, I can breathe again. 

I am sweating buckets and so drag myself back to the shower.  Best course of action, remove allergen and cool body.  Finally thus relieved, I am breathing somewhat normally.  It is then I realize that time must have passed.  I look at the clock and I am shocked to see that I am already over an hour late for work.  I text my boss that I am going to be later than I already am. 

After my breathing returns to normal, I start to get dressed as my phone rings.  It is The Man who has just seen the message.  He confirms that I am ok and says he will call back then hangs up.  I get myself together, close up the house, and slowly make my way to work.  I have just made it there, when TIM calls me.  He had been asleep with his ringer off but woke and saw the missed call from me.  I tell him that I had a problem but am fine now and let him go back to sleep. 

The adrenaline rush from the inhaler carries me through the morning before the headache sets in.  I have a lot of work to do, it was the reason I came in at all, as there was still a massive issue with a critical piece of equipment that I had been working on the previous night.  Anyway, that incident knocked me a bit sideways in addition to the workload and so Friday turned into Saturday, which turned into Sunday before I caught a break from work.  I left work Sunday afternoon after being called in twice during the day and just went straight to the beach where I applied salt water and sand therapy. 

Anyway. I feel better now.  I have told my boss that I am taking some time off.  My house is vermin free and cleaned from top to bottom (as is my truck but that that is another story). 

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