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End of the Rat Race

Although this story officially came to the end of the chapter (I won’t say end of the story, because it’s a long road to hoe with rodentia) on Saturday, I thought I’d fill you all in. When last I spoke, it was late in the night / early in the morning, and I got tired of waiting the little rascal out, so I took some huge cardboard boxes (flattened) and lay them against the opening to the fireplace, and then backed it with the grate and some heavy stuff as to deter the rat from entering the house. I knew that if he really wanted to, he could chew his way through, but at least I would know for certain that he was running around. Really, the worst part about maybe having a rat in the house is the ‘maybe’ part. If you are certain he’s there, you can go about positive and aggressive methods until you find him and get rid of him. If you don’t know, however, if the bastard is in the house or not, you’re always on yellow alert, but can’t bring yourself to take on the full frontal assault lest you’re only wasting your time hunting for something that isn’t there.
So I just left the cardboard in place at around 5:30 am, and went to grab a few hours of sleep before starting the next day. Fortunately the little bugger didn’t bother chewing through the cardboard, but snuck back up the chimney to his little home. Later, he poked his head out while Julie was out with the kids and I was able to chase him around until I pinned him down with a thin paperback and coaxed him / pushed him out the back door. The last little guy survived the brutality of his three brethren the night previous, but most likely will fall prey to the bait stations outside. Who can say what way is more humane — it just seemed like the right thing to do at the time. I had already knocked three of the guys into the next world, I just felt that this guy could have a break.
The important thing is, I can put my feet down on the carpet while in the living room again, and I was able to exact the removal of the pests before they were even seen by my wife or children. That’s a major success. Who knows if any more will come in through the chimney, but I think we’ve done a good job of sealing that entrance. Today the gardeners came and trimmed back all the offending tree branches that touched the house, and we got rid of our two big pyrocantha bushes in front of the house (bad for rats AND spiders — I say ditch ’em!). I feel like the little extra effort I’m pouring into this problem will really do the trick. I’ve taken up the standard in this battle, and I’m not going to give up until I’ve won. So hear this declaration, great king rat and all your minions — time to move out and find another chump to freeload off of!

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