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Who is the Saint of Pest Control?

“What is this a picture of?” you may ask.


“A rat,” I say.

“But there’s no rat.  I see an orange and a black thing.”

“Yes, you are right. That’s an orange, and the black thing is a sticky rat trap.  And the rat you don’t see is a very lucky rodent.”

You may have read the Incident Report, in which I mentioned that our oven mitts had been mysteriously defiled, and that my dear husband, Cap’n Firepants, seemed to think a rodent was responsible for their disembowelment.

He was even more certain when he walked into the kitchen one morning and found a half-eaten banana.  On our counter.  He and Dimples don’t eat bananas except under extreme duress.  I love them, and would never just eat half.  Mrs. P.I.B. has never once counter-surfed in all her 10 years.  So, unless Wonderbutt was able to launch himself to the center of the counter, then suddenly lost his appetite in the middle of eating the piece of fruit AND placed his half-eaten treasure back up on the counter, the evidence overwhelmingly pointed to a home invader.  Since the invader did not choose to take Wonderbutt when he left, the only conclusion left to us was that we definitely had a Pest That Must Be Dealt With Swiftly.

So the Cap’n went out and bought him some traps (now can I call him Captain Von Trapp?), while I looked at Wonderbutt and Mrs. P.I.B. accusingly for allowing such a vile trespasser into our abode without so much as a bark.

Sticky traps set around an enticing bowl of oranges, we went to bed, confident that there were two possible outcomes – neither of which, quite frankly, I wanted to be the first to witness in the morning.

Around three in the morning, Wonderbutt sounded the alarm.  He was out in his pen, barking his head off.  For some reason, this is where he goes when he feels he needs to alert us of something – not to the baby gate that separates the bedrooms in the Forbidden Section from the Neutral Zone where he and Mrs. P.I.B. (and the rat, apparently) roam free.

Cap’n Firepants leapt up (after some hesitation – did he think I was going to confront the intruder?), and ran to the kitchen, certain his trapping had worked.  I pulled the covers over my head, quite content to let him be the hero this time.  After all, I did take care of a live snake that had the misfortune of meandering into our house a few months ago.

I heard the garage door open and close, then again, then again.  Back and forth.  How many friggin’ rats did that man catch?

Finally, he came back to the bedroom, washed his hands, and climbed back into bed.

“Got it?” I said, relieved.



“You’re not going to believe this.  The trap got its tail.  When I got out there, it had already gone back down its hole, all but it’s tail.  The trap and the tail were sticking out of the hole, and it was trying like crazy to pull through.  I didn’t know how to grab it, so I went into the garage to find some way to pull it out.”

This is what he decided on.

Ouch! I'm not sure even a rat deserves this...


“By the time I got back, it had gotten its tail free and all that was left was the trap and the orange.”

The “hole” by the way, is so ridiculously small that you wouldn’t believe a spider could get through it, much less a –

well, no need to go into de “tails.”

I see I have to take matters into my own hands.

There’s a house for sale a few blocks away.  Do you think that’s far enough to move?  I will just bury St. Anthony St. Joseph in the front yard, and we should be able to leave this whole nasty business behind us in a week or two.

Too bad rats are nocturnal. Wonderbutt is quite alert during the day.

After 10 P.M., his shift is over. (Loyal Readers, this may be the closest you ever get to seeing my face.)


Appropriate Times to Overreact

Just another normal day in the Wonderbutt household…

I thought the dead rats in our attic were having a race yesterday morning.  Wonderbutt and Mrs. P.I.B. looked mildly curious about the racket, but not nearly as concerned as I thought they should be.  Then I looked outside, and realized the pattering sound above my head was actually rain.  It’s been that long.  Mrs. P.I.B. forgot that she is mortally afraid of any type of precipitation and didn’t even start panting.  Wonderbutt just looked at me, ignoring the sound and giving me his daily please-don’t-leave-me-to-go-to-that-stupid-job sad face.

Do You Have to Go to Work, Mom?

The storm was over by the time I had identified it.

Later on in the day, Dimples and I arrived home to a similarly unimpressed dog duo.  Wonderbutt showed off his toy of the day, and I briefly greeted him before heading to my closet to kick off my shoes.

“Mom!!!”  Frantic shouting from the Dimples, the Drama Queen.  Was Wonderbutt attacking her backpack again?

More frantic.  “Mom!!!!  There’s a snake!”

Now, let’s pause for a moment for a little background info.  Dimples is frantic when there is a spider in her tub, a tangle in her hair, or a missing remote control.  There are no in-between levels of freaking out in her opinion.  Every problem deserves the same amount of yelling at the loudest possible decibel.

So, you might understand why I didn’t immediately comprehend that there was an actual snake in the house.  Particularly since Wonderbutt and Mrs. P.I.B. had not bothered to indicate this fact upon our entrance.

I walked back down the hall to clarify the situation.  Yep.  Snake near the bottom stair.  Wonderbutt sitting on the other side of the gate looking somewhat bored about the situation as the snake tried desperately to crawl into the stair riser.  Dimples wide-eyed and practically hyperventilating.  No sign of Mrs. P.I.B.

Now, I am not a snake expert, but I have handled a few in my life as a teacher.  There was no rattle on the tail, and no alarming red or yellow colors.  I vaguely thought I remembered that venomous snakes have a certain snout shape, and this one did not look like the menacing kind.

So I told Dimples to open the back door, grabbed the snake behind the head, marched outside, and threw it in the garden.

Dimples gaped.  Mrs. P.I.B. reappeared and wagged her tail slightly apologetically, and Wonderbutt presented me with a medal – er, I mean, slobbery toy.

After releasing the snake, I realized that I was going to have some ‘splainin, to do to Cap’n Firepants.  If it had been him, he would have hacked the snake to pieces right there, irrespective of the fact that he would be scarring Dimples for life.

So, I Googled the snake.  Brown and black mottled snake in Texas.

Hah!  A Rat Snake!  This would be my defense for being a Snake Saving Pushover.

Because the more rat snakes patrolling our property, the less dead rats dancing around in our attic, right?



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