Rats and Hope
Karen Louque has been sharing life musings and straight-up womanly wisdom on her blog “Karen’s Porch” for the last ten years. The mother of five from Baton Rouge, La., uses blogging as a medium to chronicle her everyday encounters in love, loss, and raising a family. And she has a way with words! When you’re looking for some inspiration and empowerment, whatever walk of life you’re in, her witty writing is worth a read.
A few months ago I started seeing little holes in my avocados. They would appear overnight and I, being extremely tired, did not attribute this to any being. As the days wore on and the avocados were steadily molested, I began to see what was clearly rat droppings. I bought sticky traps, the other kind of traps, and I strategically placed them in what I thought was all the clever places. I was apparently outwitted as the traps never yielded any success. But the rat poop continued. Honey (one of my daughters) and I were awakened one night to shrieking under the fridge. We stood frozen and terrified. It finally stopped but I knew this was bad. And so I bought the big gun. D-Con. I knew the risk. The dead rat in the wall. But I had no choice. I placed them all over. Even outside in the azalea bushes. That was a trouble spot for sure. I had seen glimpses of them scurrying through the branches like monkeys in the rain forest. I hated them with all my heart. With all this effort, they seemed to be enjoying the poison. And I was vexed.
And then the day, in broad daylight mind you, I walked into my kitchen to see a long squiggly tail disappear into my cabinet. I was done. I got a quick, hard-to-swallow lesson on my rental lease and found out we were kind of on our own. I may have cursed at someone knowingly on speaker phone on this day. I clearly recall saying that I knew I was on speaker phone so everybody can listen up….And I apologized a few days later in person.
That is when Sean, the exterminator, came into my life. I answered the door to a man in a pest control uniform, and I asked him if he was the one that was sent to save our lives. He said yes. And then he swung into action. It was like turning a cat loose in my house. He immediately crawled in spaces I had been avoiding. Disappeared into the attic. Now he’s behind the dryer. Wait! He’s under the house. He placed poison stations all over the property and assured me that it was over. He would be back to collect the bodies. I love men. Period.
And so it went. Sean, in his plastic suit and gloves crawled around and retrieved about ten dead rats the size of which he described as big. I trusted him. A couple of rats died in the wall, and I found out that incense is an excellent mask. Today, with the purest hope, we are rat free. Today.
I have often wished, like Frodo and the ring, that the rats had never come to me. I have also wished that my engine had not blown up, that I did not stop receiving child support, and that the love of my life was real. All at the same time. But no one chooses the fire they are to be tried in. I guess we would all choose something less hot and with no flames licking us. And so today, I imagine that my spirit is like the azalea rat bushes that Evan (one of my sons) graciously cut back. When I say cut back….they were about ten feet tall, and he cut them down to two. No more rat maze. But it left the entire front of my house looking like shock and awe. Like my yard had gotten a bad haircut. Like me, they were cut to the core. All the life they had was on the outside perimeters. So far away from the heart. And now, I can see new life. New tender growth is springing forth from all the old, pruned branches.
I hope I can bloom again. I hope that my car runs for a long time. I hope I can pay my bills. I hope I can fill the hole that is in my heart from my loss. I hope. And that in itself is a nice little shoot coming out of me. I have hope. I have no business having it. I know that.
But I do.