Diary of a Divorce–August 18th


One of those times when you really NEED a man:

    Rats! No, I’m not just using a figure of speech. I’m talking quite literally about rats. I have a rat, hopefully just one.

     It’s been miserably hot lately, even though I live close to the ocean. God help those who live inland. So I was outside yesterday, sweeping up around a fountain I have in my backyard. Just then, a very bold (and perhaps very hot) and VERY large rat climbed over the wall to get a drink from the fountain. I guess it didn’t see me nearby.

     Of course, I did what every normal female would do when she sees a rat: I screamed bloody murder and threw the closest object at it (a pair of garden clippers). The rat fled for its life. My useless dogs, who are always on the hunt, stood there like statues enjoying the show!

      Now what? My mind was reeling. Only a few days ago, much as I’d tried to pretend I hadn’t seen it, I saw a much smaller rat scamper across my fence. Could this be the same rat, just better fed?

      Oh God, not the rat problem again. I’d gone through this already about a year ago. When Mark and I had been together before our first major separation, he’d seen the rat and set up a rat trap above the jacuzzi area.

      I researched rats on the web and was advised to trim my bushes and vines. Every once in awhile, I’d peek quickly at the trap but saw no horrific dead bodies.There! Problem solved! I figured the rat was a thing of the past.

      Then the day following a very gusty windstorm, I went outside and….right there in the middle of the path running down the side of my house, lay a very dead rat, its neck broken by the trap, sprawled across the walkway.  I screamed all the way to the side of the house, where I located a bucket and shovel, It was up to me to dispose of this thing before the dogs saw it.

        Trying not to look at it while issuing bloodcurdling screams throughout the ordeal, I shoveled the remains into the bucket.  I glanced quickly to see if I’d gotten all of it into the bucket and found….gasp…ick…the tail drooping over the edge.  I almost cried.

         I carried the bucket to the trash can and tossed it in rapidly, hoping I’d aimed right. Then I made a quick check and…oh god…oh no…the damned tail again hung over the top of the trash can. I shoved the tail in with the shovel, went into the house, and mourned the taking of a creature’s life. It felt truly awful.

         I have to tell you I’m a major animal lover, but I can’t bear rodents and snakes. Still, it made me sad to kill something–no matter how repulsive.

         I swore I’d never do it again.

         Until I saw that huge rat last night. I knew something had to be done. Where was my husband or any man when I needed one? Wasn’t that one of their preordained responsibilities: killing bugs and vermin?

         So I trudged over to the hardware store today, had a long consultation with an associate, and left there carrying two repugnant versions of rat killers in a paper bag. One was some sort of poison which claimed on the box was safe to have around animals and children. The associate assured me it killed the rat immediately after consuming the poison. Leave me in my denial!!!

       The other was the dreaded snapper variety–the one that snaps down on the rodent’s head. Ugh…gasp…The associate suggested I put the whole contraption into a paper bag so that, once the deed is done, I won’t have to look at my victim and can simply fold up the end of the bag and dispose of it.

       The traps are set tonight. I await with horror the unmistakable sound of a loud snap. Then, I dread being  forced, once again, to endure the miserable experience of clean up and disposal.

        I found myself this morning, once again, almost stamping my feet and crying out loud, “I don’t want to do this! I don’t want to be responsible for everything around here–all by myself.” It’s part of this being single thing, this being all alone thing: mowing my own lawn, taking out my own trash, and…yes…killing my own rats.

        The horror. The horror…


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