Oh, rats! Is that what I think it is?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 9, 2011

There are not a lot of things in this world that I hate, but frogs and rats top the list.

I can’t stand a frog, period. I think they’re slimy and squishy, and they look at you funny with their big ol’ eyes.

I dislike frogs so much that I will make my 7-year-old daughter come and institute the catch and release program whenever I find one in the house.

It’s also because of her that I had the problem with the rat.

Thanks to basketball games and other commitments, we had fallen rather behind on housework. There were clothes and toys scattered everywhere, and we were doing our best to set things right.

The last load of the day was on its second drying cycle, and I opened the door as the drum was still turning.

With each turn of pinks, blues and purples, I would catch a glimpse of something black.

At turn one, the glimpse was the size of nickel. Slowing with turn two, a cone-shaped something flashed against the light blue sweatshirt. With turn three, I glimpsed the flick of something long, black and quick.

Oh. My. Goodness.

There was a rat in my dryer.

The thought was confirmed when the drum stopped, and there it was – all nasty looking.

I should stop this here and say I am the woman who called my mother to come across the road because there was a mouse eating a fruit loop on my floor. She had to kill it with the broom while I sat on the bar, my stomach heaving.

This day was no different.

First, I was immediately furious at the idea I was going to have to rewash and re-dry those clothes.

Then, I was doubly furious when I realized I was going to have to touch the thing myself.

As I steeled myself to grab it and sling it out the backdoor, I noticed it wasn’t quivering in the last of its death throes, even though its tail appeared to be twitching a bit.

Then, it hit me.

It was that cotton-pickin’, good-for-nothin’, piece of rubber crap that I know full and well and good I told Miss Mia to throw out because just looking at it freaked me out.

It, and another one I presumed to be a brother rat, had made its way into our house via a Halloween treat from the Woodham household down the road. (Thanks, Aunt Misty.)

I called Mia into the hall.

“Get that out of there,” I said, pointing to it. “Put that in the garbage.”

“Hahahahaha,” she said. “Got it.”

In looking back, she probably meant that as, “Got you.”

I think she did it on purpose, because Sunday, the rat reappeared, this time on top of the paper towel holder.