Tender Mercies — A Rat Tale

rodent1I feel better about the rats today.  It’s partly because they’re gone now and I didn’t witness a single body flying down the vacuum tube.  It’s a little bit because Dan and his boss looked up these pictures of cute fluffy-tailed rats indigineous to our area.  It’s largely because I have an awesome therapist who did some EMDR treatment to get me over my fear of rodents.  Mostly it’s because this natural and very common phenomenon appears to be a blessing in disguise.

Several months back I heard a talk from one of the leaders of my church about the tender mercies of the Savior.  It was a beautiful exploration of seemingly coincidental events that happen for our good or to lighten a burden and that all that is good comes from God.

I’ve tried since hearing that talk to notice what’s good in my life and give credit to my Heavenly Papa for the fact that I’m still alive and kicking (and sometimes screaming), that I have a house to share with the rats, food to overcook, sweet kids to barf on me, a loving husband who’s not perfect and understands that neither am I, and a beautiful world to flood me and freeze me out.

The rats, the rats.  How can you be grateful for the rats, Pollyanna?  Well, I’ve found a way.

rodent3Our home inspector was, ahem, less than thorough in his report.  He said the electrical was fine, which it was… after we replaced nearly every outlet in the entire house the first week we lived here.  He said he couldn’t exactly date the roof but his guess was about 6 years old.  It turns out it’s a rotting 17-year-old roof with a maximum 20 year life span.  He noticed “seasonal moisture” in the crawl space and suggested we get a little gravel to solve the problem.  Contractors will soon be involved.

He said the attic was clear of pests.

So our lovely pest control agents in their boy-scout-looking uniforms have been working for two days and counting.  They have found in that “clear” attic several beehives, various rodent droppings and nesting areas and a THREE FOOT WIDE BIRDS NEST.  This picture is of the nest after he’d already removed half of it.  What was nesting up there, a Stork?  I guess I’d better take a pregnancy test. 


Maybe we should have had them leave it so we could do our Christmas Nativity up there. That nest would make a lovely manger.

Maybe we should have had them leave it so we could do our Christmas Nativity up there. That nest would make a lovely manger.rodent2Not only this, but they found that it was harder to remove the insulating than it should have been because the roof had a couple of major leaks and the insulating was completely saturated down to the sheetrock. 

Maybe we should have had them leave it so we could do our Christmas Nativity up there. That nest would make a lovely manger.Not only this, but they found that it was harder to remove the insulating than it should have been because the roof had a couple of major leaks and the insulating was completely saturated down to the sheetrock. So here’s where the rats are a blessing.  If we hadn’t noticed mouse poop and called these guys, we never would have known that there was standing water in our attic.  We would have discovered it when the ceiling crashed in over our bed.  As it is, we discovered it before it did too much damage to the sheetrock. 

We’d noticed the droppings several weeks ago, but I didn’t get around to calling in help until this week.  It just so happened that as the pest control guys were discovering the roof holes, some roofers were finishing up a new roof on the house next door.  They came right over, climbed on the roof and patched up the holes with the pest control guy helping from inside.

The only payment they would take for the job was some peanut butter cookies and the use of my jumper cables to start their old truck.  Kind people = I like them.  They could have charged me anything and I would have had no idea if they were being reasonable or not.  What are the chances that a kind honest roofing crew would be working next door at the exact moment we needed them?  I think sometimes God just gives us a break.  Heaven knows I was ready for one.

All the experts agree that we will need an entire new roof in the spring but it’s fixed enough to hopefully get us through the winter and no major damage done. 

Laylee asked why the rats came in our roof.  I told her that they were looking for a warm place to spend the winter.  She asked if they could have our old roof once we get a new one so they can stay warm and dry.  Why yes they can.  I’m sure they will have no problem finding the old roof down at the landfill.

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14 Responses to Tender Mercies — A Rat Tale

  1. Melessa says:

    All I can say to this is a hearty “amen.” And I’m glad your roof is patched and your attic rat and bird free-that was one big “manger.”

  2. grammyelin says:

    Thank goodness that the Lord helps us to find the silver linings. They are always there, but occasionally we need His help in recognizing it. So glad that things are going better. Long live the Rat-man. Death to all rodents!

  3. Kage says:

    Seriously I would not have been able to handle this. Go you.

  4. CeCe says:

    Your last two posts have been giving me the heeby jeebies! I’ve had pet rats, and they were great, but feral rats? YUCK YUCK YUCK. We’ve had them on and off in our crawl space over the years, but luckily we haven’t been overrun by them. Glad that everything worked out fine for you!

  5. RGLHM says:

    Glad I read this before your nut cracker post b/c I was seriously feeling anxiety from all the things that have happened to you!! Oh the stress of a car accident and RATS!!! You are a brave women. TAKE CARE!

  6. Caryn says:

    Wow! So do you think the home inspector was just incompetent, or did s/he have other motives for not telling the truth about the state of your house? That’s ridiculous!

    Oh, and it’s absolutely adorable that Laylee wants to give the rats your castoff roof. How nice of her.

  7. Melissa says:

    Well, the rats will add an authentic touch to your manger scene if you decide to take advantage of the osprey nesting grounds.

  8. Mary says:

    Holy cow, you had a zoo in your attic. If that’s not enough to give you nightmares, I don’t know what is! What a spectacular inspector you had. Did he even enter the house?

    I love your thoughts on how this is all a blessing. Way to look at things positively. I don’t know if I could do it!!

  9. Peter says:

    Great post, I wish we had bushy tailed pack rats in the North East, they really are cute.
    I would have a discussion with the Home Inspector. Hopefully the guy had some insurance because if he leaves you with a report that says everything is fine and there are holes in the roof and Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom living in your attic then he was having a bad day and you should not be responsible, he should be.
    Friends of mine bought a House, the Home Inspector said everything was fine and then the Chimney fell down. The home inspector missed it and paid for the new chimney.

  10. Heidi says:

    Pack rats? Know ’em better than I’d like! We live in the mountains and every fall, enterprising critters decide to try to (literally) gnaw their way into our home for the winter. There is nothing quite like the stench of pack rats. No rat vacuum for me, though. I have a live trap that I bait with Goldfish crackers, which are apparently the preferred cracker to said bushy tailed creatures. After catching my prey, I drive them several miles up the road into the mountains, way away from any homes, where they get to live out their blissful little pack rat lives, intact. No joke.

  11. Amanda says:

    This brought tears to my eyes. Good for you for being able to find the good in an otherwise yucky situation. God really does work in mysterious ways. Thankfully He is wiser than we are!

  12. heather says:

    uh, yah, definetly take the home inspector to court! Hope you are documenting everything.

    WOW- on the nest. Wow. what on earth kind of bird lived there, that is HUGE?!!!

  13. Aunt Murry says:

    I’m with Heather. That Home Inspector has some ‘splaining to do. Think of all the other people he is going to hurt.

  14. KYouell says:

    Double amens on the ability to see the silver lining and on taking the home inspector to task. Sometimes it’s easy to want to be nice and not think of the next people that could get a shoddily done report if you let it slide.

    And my apologies if this appears twice. Seemed to be a hiccup in the ether when I tried to comment the first time.

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