yesterday, sunday, holly rolled up her sleeves, put on disposable gloves and started a project we’ve both been dreading: replacing our dryer vent. honestly, i don’t know why i’ve been dreading it, as i had absolutely no intention of helping her. i guess mostly i was scared of what she’d find.
i’m not gonna sugarcoat it for ya, folks. we were about 99.9% sure there was a rat living in our dryer vent. we suspected it b/c we heard loud noises from the dryer area downstairs. and then–and this part’s gross, so if you’re eating something, you might want to come back and read this later–when we turned the dryer on, we heard things rattling. we decided, with disgust, that what we were hearing was actually rat turds, and that we’d better get on the whole dryer vent situation before things got worse.
(if you’re wondering what rat turds in your dryer vent sound like, imagine one of those annoying “rain sticks” from the 90s, except turds, not pebbles, and in a dryer vent, not a pretty stick.)
also, when i said “we’d better get on this whole dryer vent situation” i actually meant holly. i would be supervising from the other end of the house, by the front door, specifically, so i wouldn’t actually have to see what was going to come out of the dryer vent [i.e. petrified rat (holly found a photo of a petrified rat on the internet, really upsetting), an abundance of rat turds, a live rat and the like].
i have to say that we’ve dealt with some pretty disgusting stuff since we moved into our southeast baltimore rowhouse. (note: when we bought the house in 2006 it was a bona fide boarded-up drughouse. bloodstains on the carpet, needles in the sink, the whole nine yards. we hired guys to gut it down to the 100-year-old bricks and joists and then rebuild it, from holly’s design, from the inside out. we did it in just seven months and moved in, literally, before the dust settled. important note: wait for the dust to settle before you move someplace. that expression exists for a reason.)
we’ve battled mice. (oh my gosh so many mice.) and then we had that whole situation next door. and yes, a rat actually got inside our house (behind our stairs, thru the old man’s vacant house) in nov/dec, which is basically why i went silent for a little while, in case you were wondering, as i was battling a severe rat-induced stress disorder and was either hiding upstairs in my office with the door closed all day, with holly at school (pretending to be a college student at one or more college snack shops) or out at panera drinking copious amounts of hot tea avoiding the rat, which we named eddie. he was a damn smart rat, too. (i won’t get into that here. you’ll have to buy the book i’m inevitably going to write about it to find out more.)
to lighten the mood in our home, which, of course, was actually being run by eddie, i made up a rat rap:
I’m Eddie! (pause)
Not Freddie! (pause)
I’m Eddie! (slightly longer pause)
I’m a rat! (cross arms a la run dmc)
whatever. it was funny at the time. (hey, you try coping with a home rat takeover, during daylight hours, no less. trust me, a rat rap helps.) there’s been more gross stuff, but i think i’ll stop at the mice, rat and corpse next door.
what i’m trying to say here is that not that much gets to us at this point. but i’ll tellya what: what holly found in the dryer vent actually upset us.
here’s what she found:
and…a crab leg.
a crab leg?!! only in baltimore, folks. only in this town will rats bring crab legs into the dryer vent they’re living in. it was terrible, and i had no business looking but i did anyway. mostly b/c holly said, “BABE LOOK WHAT I FOUND!”
anyway, i wanted to tell holly to wear a mask, but i had a headache and couldn’t get the words out. now she has a fever of 101, and she’s convinced she has “rat fever” from breathing in “rat dust.” personally, i think she has a cold.
i told her i wouldn’t google “rat fever” like she wanted me to, but i did. (googling medical conditions: always a bad idea.) i learned that technically, even though she wasn’t bitten by a rat (i.e. “rat bite fever”), there’s a small chance she contracted an infection by breathing in “rat dust,” but the chances are slim unless we live in west africa, which we don’t.
in conclusion, i don’t think she’s all that sick considering she’s telling me right now to tell all of you that we have solved the “varmint” problem (i love when she calls them “varmints”) by sealing up all holes and cracks in our house, both inside and out. (it’s true; we haven’t seen a single mouse in a while and eddie’s definitely gone) so don’t be scared to come over. if you want to. which you probably don’t. but you should b/c holly’s a really good cook even tho she has a fever right now. oh hell, forget it. next i bet you’ll tell us you don’t want us to dry your clothes. sissies.