Get Real!

Oh, rats!
By Liz Dadson


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I have always been terrified of such creepy, crawly creatures as spiders and mice.

Much to my credit, I can now tolerate spiders - the small ones, not tarantulas. But I still get freaked out by those vermin that insist on invading our homes and scurrying about with great freedom from every nook and cranny.

Another thing I dislike is surprises.

So, there we were enjoying a visit at my parents' home last week. I had an itch to beat my mother at a card game we both enjoy, and we weren't needed at home since our eldest can drive to work and back by herself now.

We arrived in the afternoon, with a head of lettuce in tow for making a salad for supper. My mother had food already in the pots waiting to be cooked when we decided it was supper time.

My dad was watching the world junior hockey game on television, so my husband and the boys joined him.

We played cards, we had a great time. My mother explained that she and dad had finally got rid of the mice that had found their way into their farmhouse when the weather turned cold - it happens every year and all you can do is fight the good fight with traps and poison until the rodents are gone.

They even trapped a rat in the basement which made me glad I wasn't around for that episode. My mother still likes to tell the story, from a few years back, of opening the basement door to go downstairs and get some pickles, and coming face-to-face with an opossum.

My dad, a typical farmer, just grabbed the thing, killed it and threw it in the wood stove.

But I digress.

We were enjoying the afternoon, had our supper, and I put the dishes in the dishwasher.

Then ... I reached for the dishwasher soap in the cupboard under the sink.

Have you ever had one of those "Twilight Zone" experiences? You're staring at something that can't possibly be there but it is.

I had already grabbed the jar of dishwasher soap when I looked down and, curled up in the cupboard right beside where the soap had been, was a dead rat.


I screamed. And not just a startled "Oh," I mean a blood-curdling, throat-ripping scream.

My arms were swinging madly as I tried to explain what I had just seen. I'm sure everyone thought I was having a seizure as my entire body shook with horrified spasms.

The boys came running and then told my father to come and take care of the rat.

My father disposed of the animal and looked at me as if I'd lost my mind. Well, I'm sorry, who expects to find such a thing in the cupboard? What next? A lion, a witch and a wardrobe?

Contrary to my reaction, my boys went searching through the whole house to see if they could find another one.

No thanks.

The next time I load up the dishwasher at my parents' house, somebody else is going to go after the soap.

Ah, life in the fast lane.

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Monday, January 03, 2011