The Car Cracker and the Rat King

nutcracker2It’s been a WEEK.

On the way to the Nutcracker last Friday, Vinny was rear-ended, causing over $4000 in vehicle damage, sore backs and necks for me and Laylee and some serious emotional trauma and reduction in driving ability.

Until now, I’ve never been in an accident. In the past when I’d see a lame and tentative driver with part of their car smashed, I’d shake my head and think, “No wonder their car is smashed in, they’re such a lame and tentative driver.”

car crackerNow I realize I had it all wrong. What I should have been thinking is, “Poor thing. No wonder they’re such a lame and tentative driver, they just got their car smashed in.” I’m a bit terrified to be out on the road, picturing over and over again stopping quickly at that light and watching the other driver coming towards me in the rearview mirror, bracing for impact.

Dan met me at the side of the road and took Laylee to the ballet while I filled out the police report. I went on to meet them downtown a little bit late and a lot bit freaked out. Remember how I said I always cry when I hear beautiful music? Well it’s usually a few tears and a lump in my throat. I don’t normally burry my head in Dan’s shoulder and snort and sob. This time was special.


nutcracker cry

nutcracker4The ballet was gorgeous. Laylee danced and gasped at the appropriate places. It almost makes me regret dropping out of ballet and music class for the rest of the school year…almost but not quite.

We signed up for ballet and music class to take the place of traditional preschool this year and a few weeks later were invited to join 3 other families in running a co-op preschool where we all take turns teaching. Preschool is two days a week, the same two days as the other activities.

nutcracker3For many reasons, it’s been a hard couple of months and I find that I’m more frequently away than home. Laylee is acting out and BEGGING for attention and the little time we do have together is spent running around and telling her to “Hurry, hurry, hurry.” The other day we sat down to lunch and she asked me if we could just eat in the car. I said we weren’t going anywere and she said she just likes eating in the car. Telling? I think so. I am really happy with the decision to cut out a couple of her activities and spend more time snuggling.
The other day she was teaching Magoo how to draw pictures and she told him that to draw a girl, you need to draw the face, the hands and then the tears.
sad girl
The second set of eyes are the tears running down her face. Today she drew “a girl who hates the world.” I don’t know what to do with that statement. I ask her about it and she smiles and says, “I don’t know why she hates the world. She just does. She hates all the pretty and beautiful things in the world.”

It is a dark, dark rainy day. The roofers are working away next door, pounding and reminding me that we need to replace our entire roof this year. Anyone have a 0% interest second mortgage they’d like to sell me? Laylee has learned to belch whole words so she spent this morning’s breakfast drinking sips of milk and belching our conversation.

She thinks the song from Handel’s Messiah says, “Oh we like cheese.” I told her that they’re saying, “All we like sheep,” and she said, “I know. They’re just saying ”˜Oh we like cheese’ in SIGN LANGUAGE.” Hmmmm….. Can you belch that for me?

Maybe you can barf it.

Laylee and Magoo took turns barfing all over the east side of Seattle Thursday night, concentrating their work on our van and house.

I hope rats aren’t attracted to vomited Mexican food or we’re doomed. A month ago Dan found “some droppings” in the attic but refused to tell me details considering I’m a flaming rodent-a-phobe. He said he’d take care of it.

Last week, we had an exterminator over to assess the situation. I called someone from a large company, big enough to have a good reputation and to take the hit if they have to pay to replace my home when I light it on fire after seeing a rat in my living room that they failed to eradicate.

They’re also big enough to have a giant truck-mounted rat vacuum which they will be employing this week at the low price of half our life savings. They found that we did not have mice, but rather large rats throughout the puffy insulating in our attic. They will use the rat vac to suck out all of the insulating along with all rodents, nests and droppings. They will then plug all possible entry points, blow fresh insulating into the attic and spray it with rodent repellant. I imagine it like a giant can of OFF. Hopefully I will be able to photo-document the entire experience.

In the future, I will tell my exterminator to never gesture with his hands how big the rats are likely to be based on their poop. I will also ask not to see the brochure with color photos of rats, listings of the 46 diseases they carry and stats on how fast they multiply (1 rat can have 50 babies in a year). If I ask him about the ceiling damage that can occur from rat urine, I would prefer not to hear about the family who noticed water spots soaking through their ceiling and then one day one of the spots started to swell as the rat pee from all the rats in the nest over their family room soaked through, the ceiling crashed in and rats came spilling out all over their house.

I will be playing loud techno music on Tuesday morning to drown out the sound of the rat bodies flying down the giant vacuum tube, out of Laylee’s bedroom, down the hall, down the stairs, out the door ca-chunk, ca-chunk, ca-chunk. I don’t want to know what happens to them in the belly of the truck. If they set them free, I’m freaked out. If they don’t, I’m freaked out. Is it like a giant garbage disposal, a final rodent solution? Shudder.

Maybe I’ll use that time to hide in a closet and call our insurance adjustor about getting a rental car for our Christmas road-trip. Our van will be in the shop for almost 3 weeks over Christmas and they have offered us a rental but we’re not supposed to take it out of state. We may be spending our holidays home alone with the rat king’s ghost.

On a sidenote – The current ad running on my site for is part of their giving campaign. For every search you do on their site (up to one per day) that includes the word “red,” they will give one dollar to support Doctors Without Borders. It’s a great cause and an easy way to give.

the reasons: trees, baby giggles, favorite colors, 72 hours vomit-free

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33 Responses to The Car Cracker and the Rat King

  1. kate says:

    That is scary about the rats. I would be freaked out as well!

    Sorry about your accident that is worse than the rats I am glad you guys are ok.

  2. Peter says:

    I have to get one of those Rat Vac’s. I never heard of a Rat Vac.
    It sounds Awesome.
    What if the rats run when they hear the rat vac coming. Then what?
    I know I would run if the world around me was being sucked up. I certainly would not sit tight and enjoy the ride.
    There are two types of rats oin the US roof rats and norway rats. We do not have roof rats here in the North East I am guessing roof rats are in the attic. Maybe roof rats sit tight when the big vacuum is coming. Norway rats would head for the hills(wall voids).
    Happy hunting.

  3. heather says:

    Oh my goodness, when it rains it pours! So sorry for all the yuck!

    -for laylee, I always thought Madonna was singing about a “Ma Cheerio” world.

    -for the rat defestation day, I recomment The Shaman- super great techno music 🙂

    If this year ends so badly, next year has to be better right? You can only go up from here!

  4. Sorry about Vinnie. And the tears. And the rats.
    I never want to see a US roof rat live, up close or within 31miles of my personal safety bubble.
    About Girl who hates the world, were there rats in her attic I wonder. Maybe she hates beautiful things because the rats peed on them.
    I didn’t realize that picture of the Nutcracker is life sized. I thought it was a little doll arrangement. Cool! did she like those?

    I was rear ended once too. It’s weird how an accident like that totally takes away your sense of protection and security, I kept thinking “anyone can get hit at any moment anywhere, it just takes a second and not that much force”, So I totally understand you DYM. It’ll go away eventually

  5. Thanks to Peter, I am instituting a new policy against naming or describing the rats or their rat-like behavior. Yes, the exterminator says the rats will run and hide when the vacuum comes on. Say a little prayer for me. I plan on going up there to inspect their WORK!!!! AAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

  6. Heth says:

    Aw MAN! Now I am going to have nightmares about rat families crashing through the ceiling. Thanks alot.

  7. tftCarrie says:

    Our sienna has been rear-ended twice since we bought it brand new last February. The first time the car at fault gave bogus phone numbers in the police report and stated his insurance as “unknown’. THe second time, just last week, it happened in traffic on the freeway. We started moving over toward the shoulder, the car at fault did too for a few lanes. Then they decided to screw us and speed off before we could get their license number. I usually like to view the world as a collection of mostly good people but these two experiences have snapped me out of that dillusion. And I hate it.

  8. Never fear, Heth. I will too.

    Carrie, that is so lame. The lady who hit me has been very honest so far and her insurance company is taking responsibility for fixing the car. I hope it all continues to work out that way.

  9. Mary says:

    Wow, rats, being rear-ended, barfing, black eye…you have had a crapper of a week. I’m so sorry! And I thought my barf-filled week was bad. I didn’t have all that other stuff to add into the mix (and no car vomit) so I have no room to complain.

    I really really hope the rat vac works. I shudder just thinking about all that!

    I hope the next few weeks go much better for you, poor daring one!

  10. Heather O says:

    Oh. Oh. Just. Oh.

    Car accidents make everything bad. It takes a long time to keep from shuddering every time you get in the car.

    Rats make everything bad, mostly cause, you know, they’re rats. Yuck. Suck those suckers out of there.

    Good husbands, like the one you’ve got, can make everything better. Make him take the day off from work so you can get a massage. Seriously, it would be beneficial both emotionally and physically. I got a massage after a car accident where I sustained a mild back injury (while pregnant, no less), and I know it helped with the subsequent healing process. You can even just sit and cry into the face hole thingie the whole time, and your masseuse won’t even say a word.

  11. chris says:

    Oh no NO NOOOOOO!!!!!!

    The rat stories have killed me. And here I think having a mouse i my house is a reason to pack up and move.

    Ad yes I am horrified at the rat vac and what happens afterward… I really don’t want to know, but yet I can’t stop imagining it. SHUDDER

  12. Becca says:

    Oh I’m so sorry for everything! The accident, the vomit, the rats…one of these alone is PLENTY to deal with, but all together? I’m amazed you’re still functioning.

    I caught 25 mice in my kitchen last fall, with a brand new baby, just barely moved in, and with a husband who traveled nonstop. About pushed me over the edge! I’m tight now with my exterminator. The rat vacuum sounds very very nifty, and I hope we are treated to pictures.

    I second the whole get a massage thing. Or at least a pedicure. Anything to help you take your mind off everything!

  13. elliespen says:

    Good luck with the accident recuperation. In March I was rear-ended and knocked into the car in front of me, so I was doubly freaked out for a good month and a half. At one point when I was finally starting to drive normally again, I was unlucky enough to be driving behind a car whose brakelights weren’t working so all of a sudden they slowed down without me noticing until they started getting close really fast. Of course I was still leaving about four car lengths between myself and any other car on the freeway at that point, but it still was not good for my nerves. My poor little car also still bears the scar because they could only find a green back bumper for her and she’s blue. We never did get around to replacing the front bumper.

  14. Julie Q. says:

    Okay, so were the scenes in the Nutcracker with the giant rodents extra scary for you?

    P.S. We have twinner cars! BFF?

  15. Stephanie says:

    Ca-chunk,ca-chunk, ca-chunk.

    Have you seen the Wallace and Grommit movie? The Curse of the Ware-rabbit?

  16. Michelle says:

    All these bad things mean you’re due for a really great Christmas. Hope the good karma starts real soon.

  17. Susan says:

    Ooooh, the rat vac . . . I am intrigued. In a very icky way.

    Also, I wish I could come and hug you and make you a nice cup of cocoa while Charlie and Laylee played princesses together, and Henry tried to teach Magoo to talk. Wouldn’t that be fun?

  18. Jess says:

    Oh, how I wish I hadn’t read your post this lovely Tuesday morning. Now I will be thinking of rat sucking sounds and where do the rats go all morning.

    But you can get through this, my dear. At least you or your kids weren’t hurt in the accident.

  19. Traci says:

    I heard last year of a prairie dog vacuum that they use to clean out prairie dog cities for whatever reason, but never knew it was an actual method of home rodent extermination…Ewwww. Sorry that ca-chunk, ca-chunk, ca-chunk has to be part of your holidays.

    And for your Vinny – but I’m so glad you all came out of that relatively unscathed. Hope your holidays get happy…soon!

  20. Emily says:

    Oh, I’m so sorry about the car accident! I’ve been in way too many of those – thankfully (??) none of them my fault. But every one has been serious enough to require lots of car repair. My husband and I have simply come to the conclusion that God really wants to give us a new car…one piece at a time. 🙂

  21. mimi says:

    No matter how hard I try, I will never be able to get back the life I had before reading this post. I have a water spot on my ceiling and now I’m going to have to move. Life willnever, ever be the same.

  22. Shalee says:

    Accidents, rats and weeping girls in one post? This is enough to want to start the day over completely.

    Sorry about all the drama (meant in an entirely appropriate, non-condescending way) that has hit your life. Rats definitely should have been on of the plagues in my mind. They are down right despicable and shiver-inducing creatures.

    Might I suggest a day out on the town? Say Tuesday?

  23. “She hates all the pretty and beautiful things in the world”? Sheesh, DYM, what are you doing to this girl? 😉

  24. grammyelin says:

    I love you! I completely understand about the rat-phobia. They do not deserve to live. That is all there is to it. If the giant rat-o-sucker doesn’t work, you can all come and live with us. Dan is brilliant. I’m sure he could get a job here.

  25. Maybe I will comment when I stop laughing…

  26. Karen says:

    Oh my word. That was a lot. Dude, the rats. And the crying girl. Where to begin commenting??

    Sorry about your accident. I’ve been there and it’s horrible and traumatizing and all around inconvenient. Just don’t sign anything that says you’re a-ok physically. Give yourself a week or two, you might find that the back pain lingers longer than it should and maybe even gets worse.

    Don’t forget your open door rest stop with clean bathrooms and hot food on your Christmas road trip. The welcome mat is out, just say the word.

  27. Margaret says:

    Oh you poor, poor dear. That is really just all too much. I have nothing else to say except STICK IT OUT, DUDE! And then have a big party and invite the girl who hates the world. Maybe a free-style rap party DYM-style will change her mind.

    P.S. Please tell Laylee that I like eating in the car, too, and she can come eat in my car anytime. 😉

  28. KYouell says:

    Wow. Just awful. I can’t comment about the rats. I’m too wigged out to let myself think about it. And I don’t know what to say about the girl. Our ultrasound showed that we are having a girl next April. I plan on reading your blog until the day she leaves home to get girl-raising tips.

    I do want to second Karen about the not signing anything. I was rear-ended when the only new car I’ve ever bought was 3 months old. I had headaches that couldn’t be cured. The doctor said that sometimes when your brain gets jostled around in your head headaches will come and go for the rest of your life. I happened to have one continuous headache for 6 months. I finally settled with the insurance company when I started having good days. On the bad days I would go home and take a Tylenol 3 (they have codeine — they made TV very slowed down) which didn’t take away the pain, but I didn’t care anymore. Of course this was long ago in the Time Before Kids.

    What was I saying? Oh, yeah. Make sure YOU think you feel better before you sign ANYTHING. Don’t take anyone else’s professional opinion of your condition, assess yourself. I think that’s why I don’t have regrets about my settlement.

    Good luck!

  29. Tammy says:

    OH…I haven’t been here in awhile, but wow…you have a great way of writing with humor, even though so much negative stuff has been going on! I’m so sorry things have been a little rough lately!
    Yep, I’ve been rear-ended with a baby in the back at a stoplight…not fun at all.
    And the rat thing? I don’t blame you for being wigged out AT ALL!
    It sounds like you are a great mom and are trying to give Laylee some extra cuddle time…hopefully things will get a little calmer and happier for all of you.

  30. allysha says:

    I’m waiting for an update on the rat vac…

  31. Kage says:

    Seriously DYM….I would have moved far far away for a long long time. That rat pee ceiling story is not true is it? OH my

  32. Caryn says:

    That stinks about the accident and the roof. I hope Laylee’s doing okay; the mandatory tears on the picture of the girl, and then her talk about the girl who hates the world are so sad. Maybe things’ll be better now that she’s less busy.

  33. Comment deleted by Daring One says:

    Feel free to disagree with others in my comments section. If you can’t be respectful, feel free not to.

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