Unwelcome house guests... when rats move in

by Jackie Echavarria

We have all heard about the rat problem here in the city. The Mayor has been on the news talking about way the city is combating the situation. But some of us are having our own personal problem with rats. I am one.

One Saturday night after midnight I was just about sleep when I heard scratching in my room. I happen to occupy the basement of my home. I have my own everything in the basement and it suits me.

Well, I stopped being almost sleep and listened. I heard the scratching again so I sat up and turned the light on. My cat was sitting at the end of the bed looking up. So, I looked up. There were little particles falling from the ceiling. I got up and went closer. I turned on a clamp styled lamp that was attached to a shelf in front of the window. I twisted the lamp to shine on the ceiling.  I saw what looked like a rat’s foot poking through a small hole near the edge of the ceiling closest to the window.

I went temporarily insane, snatched the clamp lamp off the shelf and began beating the ceiling. The rat stopped for a second and then it started again. This time I saw it’s mouth, with nasty yellow, sharp teeth poking through. Of course I use the lamp again to beat the ceiling. This time it stopped for good it seemed. I waited and waited. No more scratching.

There was no going back to sleep, so I got up and went to work. In the morning, as soon as I finished work I was at Annie’s Hardware. I purchased Pestblock sealant. I sealed the small spaces around my whole window, inside and out. It looks absolutely ridiculous but it makes me feel absolutely fantastic. I have since sealed every hole I see inside and out of my home.  But, that’s not the end of this story.

Shortly after rat in the ceiling incident my stove wouldn’t turn on. The clicking was gone when we turned the burner knob. We had to use a match to light the burner.   So, like most people, we Googled it and found that we could replace the igniters. We did.

The burners still would not come on. We investigated further and found that our wires were frayed underneath the burners.  We also found out why.  Unfortunately there was evidence of rats.

We called the repairman and in the middle of having the stove repaired I just couldn’t stand the thought of having that stove anymore, so I bought another.

Those rats were costing me... the lamp, the igniters, the stove... and so many cans of sealant and so many packs of steel wool... so many. It's to the point that I almost don’t like squirrels anymore.

Of course we sealed the hole behind the stove, but damn. Really! I have three cats so the rats won’t come into the house but they sure were having a good ole time in the shadows.

Everyone should know that calling 311 for city services does work. The city responded in a timely manner and they did follow up with me. I also called Jordan Bailey of Councilmember Todd’s office. He listened intently as I told my story.

However, I am in the middle of water pipes being replace at one corner and on the other corner apartment buildings have been gutted for remodeling.

Thank goodness to date, so far so good. Cross your fingers for me!

Jackie Echavarria is a new contributing writer with Petworth News. Learn more about her on our About page!