Alvin sticks out his tongue when he is nervous

Friday, March 9, 2012

Housework May Get Alvin Killed

Reader Warning: Do not read this near mealtime or if you are easily grossed out.  You have been warned.

I have always suspected that doing household chores was dangerous but I received conclusive confirmation today.  I was busy putting drinking glasses away when my very sophisticated system of balancing glasses on top of one another in order to save space, literally came crashing down all around poor Alvin and me.  I had my back turned so I didn't even see it coming and I suddenly heard a loud crash and felt a pain in several places along my shin.  Two very large glasses nearly exploded on impact with such force that some of it bounced back up and cut my leg in several places.  I immediately went into crisis assessment mode, trying to prioritize what needed to be attended to first.  There was potentially glass in Alvin's fur, glass all over the floor, and my increasingly bloody leg.  It became clear that I needed to get Alvin's little paws off the ground and as I reached out to try to "rescue" him, he of course he decided to start a looping frenzy, while running away from me.  It was the very first time I felt impatient with him.  Oddly, through everything, I have never felt a slight amount of frustration or impatience with him but today I became terribly frustrated because I was visualizing him running straight through a large amount of broken glass and then having two of us drizzling blood all over the floor.  Meanwhile he was completely oblivious, not looking at the floor and coming dangerously close to countless shards of glass.  I finally caught him and put him outside.  He was beside himself because he wanted a front seat to the action.  I spent a great deal of time sweeping/vacuuming/sweeping up all of the glass, which was very hard to see on my tile floor.  I then attempted to let Alvin back  but he was upset and refused to come back inside, while glaring at me.  I left him to sulk and attended to my leg, while being very aware that Alvin was not offering even the slightest bit of sympathy.  The one issue Alvin has not had is any fear of loud noises but I am certain that I cured him of that because I have never heard glass shatter so loudly before and the volume made me initially think that my kooky neighbor who has always reminded me of the Uni bomber had finally flipped his lid.  After realizing that we had not been bombed, I could only conclude that housework is potentially quite dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.

Alvin remained outside and on particularly lovely days like today, he enjoys basking in the sun.  He always maintains the same pose, with him lying on the ground, with his nose pointed upward, while having the most content, confident, and nearly prideful look about him.  When his fur gets long he has a mane of blond hair on top of his head and on his ears and he looks like the world's cutest miniature lion.  He was so adorable that I couldn't take my eyes off of him and everything about him radiated confidence and contentment, two states of being he rarely seems to experience. 

While he was out there I decided that I was finally going to bite the bullet and deal with an issue of unwelcome visitor we received recently.  I have a large plastic container outside that stores my garden supplies and at some point a rat managed to move in.  I have a large backyard and our neighbors occasionally get unwanted critters attempting to make themselves at home but this rat was my first house guest who must have found the vacancy sign and viewed it as a rat's equivalent to Trump Tower.  I could hear the rat in the container at night but I was too afraid to open it further and so I kept trying to pretend it went away.  I didn't want to kill it because although I am afraid of rats, I didn't want to necessarily end it's life and I was hoping he/she would simply relocate on its own.  I was playing a bit of Russian Roulette because although my cat, Maddie is nearly 16-years-old, up until a year ago she would occasionally manage to sneak a dead rat past me and I would walk into a half eaten, disemboweled rat on the carpet of the guest bedroom.  Wanna come spend the night?  I should mention that besides the tremendous gross out factor, I remain very fearful of rats even when dead and the clean up was traumatizing.  I just kept hoping that one of the other neighbors would have a nicer container with a vacancy.  In reality, he/she was one smart rat and was living in the rodent Hilton and he/she wasn't going anywhere.  I finally mustered up my courage today and slowing took off the lid and removed the contents.  Of course, every imaginable disease came to mind and I was fairly convinced that I could actually feel the beginnings of Typhoid attacking my system.  Never mind that I was  nearly dressed in a Hazmat suit.  The rat had left a fair amount of feces and I went through the unenviable task of washing it out.  Stevie managed to sneak up behind me and before I could stop her she got a mouthful of the rat poop.  To add to her allure, she had earlier managed to get a snack of cat poop.  Thank goodness she is spayed and off the market because with that kind of gross behavior she would be hard pressed to get a date to the local pet food store, much less a more serious commitment.  When she lived at a boarding place before coming to my house she had a boyfriend named Black Buddy who was also a black, blind, older cocker spaniel.  They enjoyed cuddling at night so much that while all the other doggies had to get in their kennels at night, the owner of the facility gave them a Love Shack (true story) that only the two of them slept in every night.  Sadly, she has clearly let herself go since then.  After seeing the image of Stevie gulping rat feces (a vision burned deep into my psyche) I immediately put her inside but she remained fixated on getting back out there for the main course.  I looked up rat feces right away and was assured that it was not toxic to dogs.  I would not have poisoned the rat under any circumstances but it wasn't even a consideration with the pets around and so there was no worry that Stevie had ingested rat poison.  After completing the horrible task, I forgot about about Stevie having ingested both rat and cat feces but was abruptly reminded about an hour later when she vomited it all back up.  Trust me when I tell you that the only thing grosser than seeing your dog eat cat and rat feces is having to clean it up in vomit form.  The task was so wretched that I think I had an out of body experience and mentally went to my "safe place" where there were flowers, rainbows and unicorns and not even a hint of poop or its ingestion.  Sadly, this isn't the first time I have had to clean up Stevie's poop filled vomit and I made the vow once again to never, ever let her lick any part of me.  She is on an indefinite kissing time she cares.

The only bonus of this whole fiasco is that I finally found something Alvin won't eat - feces of any kind.  What normally would be viewed as a given has quickly become a badge of honor for him and his desirability factor just went through the roof!

I was so rattled by the whole thing that when deciding to struggle to move a large dresser to a more desirable location, I wasn't paying attention and managed to turn the front of it against the wall.  Who does that?  I thoroughly traumatized, grossed out, injured human being, that's who!

What started out as such a lovely, promising day has abruptly turned into a day filled with items smashed to smithereens, bloody injuries, and cleaning up rat poop vomit, AND it's only late afternoon.  I am contemplating taking to my bed and hiding until the morning.  I am also anticipating having to hide from what is certain to be one angry rat when he/she discovers I have moved him/her out of the rat equivalent of the Sheraton. 

I am not wanting to ask for too much tomorrow but I am hopeful that there will be no spilling of blood, rat poop, or dog vomit.  I hope that isn't too much to ask.  I can only conclude that I should have killed the rat.

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