A rat…a hole…and a great big crash.

There are very few things in life I hate more than rats. Actually I am in total agreement with James Cagney that the worst thing you can call someone you despise is a rat. The very thought of a rat makes me shudder. I wasn’t always like this however. Ten years ago before moving to a historic section of town into an almost 100-year-old house I had never even given thought one to a rat. Unfortunately with all the charm of an almost 100-year-old home, and put that home near a creek that runs right through the historic area of town and add in days of heavy rains…and well, they didn’t hire the Pied Piper to run all the rats out-of-town for nothing.

After a decade in my lovely home, I have become uncomfortably familiar with rats. I can sense when they are present, even yet unseen or heard. It is a sixth, or what I like to call a “sick” sense of them. In our lovely historic town they aren’t just rats though…the towns people call them wharf rats…which basically means they are the size of a small kitten. :::shudder:::Anywho…we have been very fortunate to not have any visitors for a long time. That was until last week. tiny scurries…strange sounds, chewed up wrappers…now the dance begins. Big Traps? Check! Peanut butter? Check! Frustration? Double Check…

So I go out on my front porch to the nightly glass of wine that may need to spill to two…and I see my neighbor laying face down on the ground, except oddly enough his head was missing…in a hole of sorts. My husband arrived and came to sit outside with me and I recapped the sounds of our visitor and told him if he ever loved me he would go immediately upstairs and change clothes and set out every trap we had to catch the critter. This had to be the worst experience a homeowner has to deal with…the violation of something furry…yuck! Then we went back to staring at our headless neighbor, still laying in the yard.

After a while, he resurfaced, stood… then paced back and forth, and then returned to laying on the ground. After a while he noticed our staring and walked over to explain to us he had a sink hole. Apparently all the rain that had fallen had moved some lodged dirt, and opened up a humongous five foot deep hole in his front yard. Could be an old city pipe, could be old tree roots, could be any number of things…but the plain and simple fact was there was a huge hole slowly inching its way to his beautiful front porch. Five feet deep. Wow. And spreading. Historic sections of town have historic abandoned things everywhere, one could easily be a leaky pipe…maybe that’s how the rats travel?

In a vain effort to make him feel better I disclosed our critter problem, but then felt hot faced and flushed about comparing what a three dollar trap and a dollop of peanut butter would solve in comparison to an exit ramp to China slowly opening up in this man’s front yard. This was going to take excavation, or worse yet, some real intense back hoe and dirt replacement. It put my issue into perspective and I felt sorry for our friend for the nightmare that comes with owning a historic home. I did the best I could and my “go to” for helping… offered him a cold beer.

As I went outside and the men continued to talk about the massive hole and the headache involved in fixing it, suddenly there was a huge crash, flicker of lights and a bit of ground shaking! What in the world? It was either a troop led by Attila the Hun rushing through the tunnel in my neighbors yard that led to the other side of the world or a Godzilla sized rat coming up through my pipes. I walked out to an empty porch and the faint sound of fire trucks headed our way…I walked to the sidewalk to look up the street and see my husband and neighbor staring at what was once a beautiful tall oak tree, now laying gracefully from one yard, across the street and onto another yard. In its wake, and weight..someone’s now smashed pick up truck.

Historic homes come with historic trees, that sometimes with several days of heavy rains give way to gravity and fall. Left in their path of destruction, downed power lines, crushed vehicles and thousands of dollars of damage to both houses… trunk to tip of tree. Wow. That is one big headache for the neighbors with the Georgia Bulldog statue in their yard. that’s all I really know of them, except that they once had a beautiful tree in their front yard.

As we three walked back to our houses our neighbor with the sink hole said, “Man, I’d hate to be that dude.” I laughed and said “You just have a great big hole to fill!” to that he smiled and clinked my beer and said, “Kind of puts a rat into perspective doesn’t it?” I sort of have to agree.

So, the meaning of this Thursday Freebie Blog is this…be humble with your mountains of problems…see them for what they are, quite possibly they may just be mole hills. A very good friend from kindergarten (yes, some 40ish years ago) reminded me today that we all need to be grateful for what we have, even our problems. Some people out there would love to have our lives, especially our problems in comparison to their own.

Remember…your worst day is someone else’s dream come true. ~ Kimberly