Wednesday, June 16, 2010

There's a rat in me kitchen

Holy shit. Thank God for the blogosphere which is just barely managing to keep me from downing the three bottles of wine that are calling from the kitchen cupboard. Well, that, and the thought of dealing with a screaming infant whilst in the throes of a three-bottle hangover. It's hard enough when you're sober.

I had an incredibly sensible midwife when I attended antenatal classes about a hundred years ago. Her favourite phrase was 'if they're screaming, they're alive'. Which I didn't really *get* at the time but which, in retrospect, may just have kept me alive the last few days. This morning, after three and a half hours of singing, dancing, rocking, shushing, distracting, and eventually, dishwashing, vacuuming and ironing in a futile attempt to stop my son from yelling I simply put him down, made myself a cup of tea and sat at the bottom of the garden for 10 minutes. Because sometimes you just have to walk away. Before you shake them. Violently. He continued his tirade the entire time, but the distant sounds of vuvuzelas and traffic drowned it out sufficiently for me to unwind momentarily and talk myself out of giving him away. And at least, if nothing else, I knew he was alive. So thanks Sister McCluckie, Ezra will live another day in this house.

And speaking of living in this house - you might remember me telling of our little 'pet' shrew, Squeaks. Well, he/she hasn't been around for a while. I suppose pickings have been slim since my vacuum cleaner and I got re-acquainted. (Though, since they are insectivorous little mammals I don't think I can blame my baby-induced slovenliness for attracting him/her) So when I woke up the other night with the sounds of a small animal running around my room my first thought was that Squeaks had returned. And then I listened a bit longer. No squeaking. And this was a bigger animal. And it jumped. And gnawed something. I have owned many species of rodent in my life, and this sound was quite unmistakeable. Rat.

I flicked on the light to see if I could catch a peek at it, but even a low wattage bulb causes temporary blindness in the dark of the night. By the time my eyesight had adjusted there was no sign of our unwelcome visitor. I was annoyed. And even more annoyed when I did actually spot it the next evening climbing under our kitchen cupboard. There is no food at rat-level in our house so I don't know what it was after, but these little blighters can cause untold havoc with electrical goods if left unchecked. I don't like the thought of poisoning anything so I resigned myself to leave the rat eeking out the winter chewing on the bottom of the cupboards and mentally scheduled a periodic checking of the wires on my rarely-used slow cooker and stick blender. Until the night before last when I found rodent droppings in my son's cot. Live and let live se voet. I was at Spar when it opened to clear out their stock of Rattex.

There are aspects of lunacy that come with living in Africa. Vuvuzelas are one of them that I can live with. Rodents in the nursery - not so much.

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