Oh, Rats

March 21, 2011 @ 1:02 pm | Filed under:

Scott and I slipped away for a little while yesterday, just the two of us. First a visit to Mysterious Galaxy, San Diego’s famous science fiction/fantasy bookstore, beloved of many an author and reader. I found about seventeen books I was dying to buy. (I didn’t buy seventeen books.)

Then we hit one of my favorite spots in the city: Mitsuwa Marketplace, the Japanese grocery that carries a certain chewy yogurt-based candy I adore. And just a Staples away is a cavernous used book-and-CD store that always rewards one’s search with a treasure or two.

We wound up with two Diane Duane novels for Jane, a Robin Hobbs I’ve been wanting to read, a Suzanne Vega CD, my yogurty candy with the regrettable name, and a box of Pocky. A good haul indeed.

Our plan was to wrap up our date with a late lunch at In-N-Out Burger—oh how those savory grilled onions were calling to me. But as we were finishing up at Book-Off, the kids called from home. There was a rat in the bird feeder. As in, STUCK in the tube feeder, face squished against the glass. He had pried the lid off and fallen in. In broad daylight? Or had he been there all night? In either case, ewww.

So we bailed on the burgers (somehow we weren’t quite as ravenous anymore anyway) and hurried home to face the rat. I mean, besides the enormous ew factor there was the quandary of what to DO with the varmint. Set him free? Certainly his suffering, squished in that narrow cylinder for house, was unpleasant to contemplate. But liberating a rat has ramifications. Clearly the bird feeders have got to be retired for a while, and this is a blow: I love my wee sparrows and finches. But if the birdseed has become an attraction for rats, that’s a problem. And setting a rat free in your backyard seems an altogether imprudent form of encouragement. Then again, what’s the alternative? Kill it in cold blood? My blood runs cold just thinking about it.

Fortunately we were spared the decision: while we were hiding in the house deliberating, the rat managed to unsquish itself and squirm out of its prison. It has disappeared and is probably off somewhere writing a post about its terrifying adventure on the rodent equivalent of Facebook. Dudes, you will not believe what happened to me at the In-N-Out Bird Feeder today!

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10 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. sarah says:

    I laughed at the first part of your post – parents of half a dozen children get time to themselves, so what do they do? Visit a book store. Of course.

    As for the second part … I even managed a tight little laugh for that too. Especially the last bit.

  2. COD says:

    Unfortunately, ratbook.com is taken. yes, I really did check.

  3. Melissa Wiley says:

    And of course I had to click through and see what was there! A parked domain, alas. No rodenty goodness at all.

  4. Darsa says:

    Your post made me think of Augustus Gloop.

    I wonder what you would have done if you had eaten but hadn’t yet visited the book store. ; )

  5. MelanieB says:

    Oh ooh. Glad you didn’t have to deal with the disposing of the rat.

    What a delightful date interrupted.

  6. Melissa Wiley says:

    Darsa poses an interesting question! It would have been MUCH harder to bail on the bookstore…I mean, what’s it going to hurt the rat to wait a little while, right?

  7. Ami Jones says:

    My husband does varmint trapping on the side for area folk. His ‘rule’ is that if a chipmunk is in the live trap, we can let it go, but a rat is to be…otherwise disposed of. It’s amazing how many chipmunks we have discovered to be in the witness protection program, merely DISGUISED as rats. There is a small colony of them living a mile or so down the hill now.

    Popped in to tell you we just got a copy of “The Strictest School in the World,” ordered on your recommendation, and in ‘skimming’ the first few pages I ended up reading half of it out loud to the children’s clerk. Then I clicked on your site, and half your post reads the same way:) This one will be coming home with me tonight!

  8. maria says:

    As a fellow book lover, In-N-Out Burger longer-for and rat-strong-disliker, I smiled and laughed! Melissa your blog is a gem, as are you.
    Thank you for the smiles and giggles!(and tell Squashface the rat thanks too…..though hoping you don’t see him or his kin again! eek! & eww!)


  9. Heather @ Books for Breakfast says:

    I love how you ended this post. Quirky, inventive writing is what puts your blog at the top of my favorites list.

  10. Jennifer says:

    This is why we no longer have a bird feeder. I woke up to the horror of rats (yes, plural) frolicking on our lawn all around the feeder one morning. Shudder.