Rodents!

Okay so this morning a friend in need of comfort over at the Lifeway Forums prompted this rather long response from me about the rather extensive experience I have had with rodents of a variety of types in my life… Please, do have a belly laugh at my expense… I did!
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When I was a teenager it was not unusual to have all sorts of rodent creatures around the house. My dad, in his wisdom building our house, put in the sort of windows you cannot open – like double paned – one solid piece in each window. Makes a beautiful house, but is lousy for the spring and fall evenings when the cool breezes blew in through the trees off the lake.
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One night I came home from a night out with my friends and noticed an unusual looking stuffed animal among my collection on top of the television in my room. It had wiry gray fur with dark beaded black eyes. It’s tail looked like a rubber hose… WAIT A MINUTE… IT’s A POSSUM!
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I ran downstairs and hastily told my father in the most urgent whisper I could manage and he grimaced, groaned and grumped all the way up the stairs grabbing that possum by his tail and tossing him out the front door. The front door that had been wide open most of the evening making a way for the possum to get into my house. It gave a whole new meaning to the term playing possom.
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I would go on to discover baby possums in our pantry near the cereal boxes one other time, and the straw that broke the camel’s back was the little drowned looking possum sitting in the tub as I pulled back the curtain to climb in and shower! I was screaming and hopping around. The latter two experiences were left to my brother to rescue me. I think I actually just closed the pantry door on the second possum and decided I didn’t really want any cereal.
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I also remember an occasion when I saw a mouse dart across my bedroom floor when I was a teen. It scurried across the white carpet and could not have been larger than a medium size bouncy ball. I was so frightened I climbed across the furniture that stood between my bed and the door – never letting my foot touch down, opened my door and turned out the light before climbing back across the furniture to my bed and lying down. I suppose I was not quite aware that mouse could scamper his way on up the comforter edges and land himself right in my bed with me if he chose to. I rather believe he politely excused himself from my room because to my recollection I never saw him again.
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I have a dozen silly memories of this nature. Some involving a season of dead rats around an apartment complex – it was like the Pied Piper had led them to a rat poison box in our own backyard. They just kept showing up.
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In our old house, the one we lived in before Justin died, we would get a usual scurry of field mice in the house every winter. We would have to set traps and the whole nine yards. This was a turn of the century, pier and beam house that sat a good 4 feet off the ground with a crawl space underneath.
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One night as I lay on the couch watching television I catch some movement in the hall between the kitchen and bath out of the corner of my eye. A mouse was making his way from one room to the other and missed the door hitting the wall. He must of rung his little bell good, but he hesitated only a second before redirecting and heading back in the direction of the bathroom. It was so funny I did not have a mind to be alarmed.
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We had another run at possums and the added pleasure of squirrels in that house which led to my kids swearing the place was haunted.You would be in the bathroom taking a bath and this wretched clawing sound would begin to transpire. It would happen at all hours of the day and night. One night, when it first started, Scott and the kids were at a lock-in and I heard the eerie sound. I went over and tapped on the bottom of the tub to set off the craziest cacaphony of scurry and tapping I’d ever heard. Whatever was under there, perhaps a squirrel by the scurry, ran up through the piping in the wall, obviously colliding with the plumbing the whole way… The wall actually shook violently – I thought I was about to meet the clawed beast face to face and it freaked me out so bad I called my husband and informed him he would have to come home if I heard it again.
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We would hear the squirrels scurrying through the attic and once discovered that a rather large squirrel had gotten trapped in the vent-a-hood above the stove. As I was cooking one night I grew very alarmed when I noticed long dark hairs hanging down through the vent grate. I was telling my husband I thought there was a problem and he dismissed me. IMAGINE THAT!
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The next day the trapped critter had nawed a whole all the way through the grate and it was chattering as it pushed it’s nose out trying to break free. It was not only alarming, it was disgusting. We duct taped the vent back shut and decided to go the next day and by a live varmint trap from the sporting goods store. My youngest daughter and Scott picked out the largest trap we could find because I had everyone convinced a raccoon had somehow found it’s way into that vent. (What was I thinking?)
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We took it home and removed the vent grate ever so gently, the squirrel stuck his head out and then presented his bushy tail before retreating above the fan motor. Scott mounted the trap so it sat right under the vent in a chair and he put a spoon full of peanut butter in the bottom. We sat in the hall hoping to catch a glimpse of the awnry critter, but he would come out take one look at us and retreat back in.
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Our entire family retired to the living room and began to watch television, but Taylor went into the darkened dining room (off of our bedroom and the kitchen and sat and watched until the clatter of the squirrel scurrying to the bottom of the trap set her free and she ran and slapped the door closed. Scott hastily took this rather large – like gargantiuan squirrel out the front door and down the block to let him go. I was greatly relieved.
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Our final rodent quandry was in our laundry room where Scott opened the door one day and found three baby possums nestled in a pile of dirty clothes. They are quite cute as babies but also quite gnarly as adults and I was deeply troubled because I figured where there were babies, there must be a mama…
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Justin, not Scott, scooped up the babies in the towel they were sitting in and hustled them out the back door depositing them beneath a bush where we watched them look so lost without their mama.Scott on the other hand discovered the mama near the bathroom door off the laundry. He gave chase and she scurried (if possums scurry) to the hole behind the bathtub that gives plumbers access to the pipes. He laughed hard to discover she had somehow removed the door and was taking care of those babies right there in our laundry unbeknownst to us.
Nowadays, these types of things really have not come to bear… but if it did, I suppose I would just remember that little mouse running full speed into the wall and begin to laugh my head off again. Live and Learn!

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