Tuesday, September 25, 2012

If It Smells Like a Rat

A few days ago, a stench took over our garage the likes of which has never been smelled before.

"What in the world is that?" I asked rhetorically as I stepped out of the car, confident that my young sons who had just returned from an arduous day of second grade did not hold the answer.

"Whoever smelt it, dealt it!"  Nick squealed with laughter.

And I was right.

"Yeah, Mommy!  That means it was you!"  Vince positively howled with laughter.  Per usual, he thought his brother's most recent comedic offering deserved a perfect ten for content, originality and delivery.

I covered my nose and mouth and ran into the house, yelling:
"Don't forget to take your shoes off!"  

The door slammed shut behind me.

Is it possible those fumes are toxic?  I thought to myself as I stepped into the kitchen and took a deep breath. 


Vince and Nick burst through the door.

"Mommy, that's disgusting!"

"Yeah, Mommy, what is that smell?"

"I think something died out there."  And I really did.  We have had rats before, though for some reason Jeff calls them mice.  I imagined it was a giant dead rat that had been cooking for several days of 100+ degree temperatures.

I just love fall in southern California!

A few more days passed and the odor began to take on a life of its own.  Horrifically pungent by day and moderately pungent by night.

"Honey, when are we going to do something about that smell?"  I asked my husband after Saturday's soccer games.  Jeff's dad whom they affectionately call Bobo (pronounced "Bob" with a long "o" sound at the end) had come up to see the boys play. 

"It's probably just a dead mouse decomposing." Was Jeff's response.

"Yeah, I think we're all buying the dead rodent theory but are we just going to endure that rancid stench indefinitely?"

"How long can it take for a mouse to decompose?  And there are games on today, baby!"  My knight in shining armor nestled deeper into the sofa for an afternoon of college football.

Around 5 p.m., there must have been a game change or something because father and son elevated from the couch and headed toward the garage intent on finding the presumed dead rat.  All I could think of was that the odor must have made their trips to the garage for beers almost intolerable.

In no time at all, the source was uncovered, behind the refrigerator, dead as dead gets.  From where I stood, at least 10 feet away on the drive-way, the rat didn't appear to be decomposing but the men-folk mentioned maggots as they shoveled him up and dumped him in the trash.

"We gotta work on this garage, Jeff."  At the age of 61, Bobo still loves him a "big job".  Particularly jobs that involve manual labor.  He hails from many generations of "big job" lovers, including his father who helped him lay tile around his pool in Phoenix several years ago at the age of 80.

"Yeah, I know.  It's a mess.  Let's go!  Game's still on!"  My Jeff is doing his best to break the chain.

"Come on, let's at least move this refrigerator to that wall."  Bobo persisted.

I actually felt myself elevate from the drive-way.

Are we doing this?  Are we really doing this?

We have lived in this house four years now and our three car garage has been a shit hole all four years.  I take that back.  A couple years ago, Jeff's mom visited and helped us tackle some of the mess (noticing a pattern here), primarily Jeff's tool bench.  Anyway, it all went back to hell inside of 60 days.

I ran inside, grabbed my glass of wine, and ran back out to the driveway to watch.

We talked about the possibility of getting rid of some items to clear out space at the upcoming neighborhood garage sale.  Discussion soon turned to our currently dysfunctional garage storage solutions.

"You know it wouldn't cost you much to have someone come out here and build something for this wall and that wall," Bobo was motioning to a side of the garage as he spoke.

"Yeah, you're probably right." Jeff responded. Somewhat half-heartedly, then turned to me.  "Do we really want to deal with this right now?"

"Yes, yes we do.  We want order and we want cleanliness and we want no rats.  I want zones for your stuff, my stuff and the kids stuff.  Everyone needs to learn how to put things back where they found them…"  I went on longer but Jeff turned away from me and started emptying the flimsy, old cabinets.  

I fell in love with him all over again.

"Alright," he finally turned back to me.  "Call a guy."

I called four.  Construction begins in two weeks.  

And I owe it all to this guy or gal...not sure how to tell the difference...I'm going with gal, it was a suicide mission so she might save her sister from all the man chaos and filth:

Look how long that tail is!  She is definitely a rat!