Friday night around 8:30 PM, KS, MG and I were all home for the evening.
I mean, you know- we were painting the town red: dancing the night away, flirting with boys in button-down shirts and were dropped off at our house by a cab just before sunrise.
(No but seriously, we were all home for the night at 8:30 PM.)
MG finished up school last week and we were all ready to wind down and hang out, so we ventured into the backyard with Ruby and Michelangelo (our turtle).
Poor Mike lives a pretty limited existence because he resides in a cage with some rocks and shallow water, next to a tea light and a hoard of cookbooks. We've recently been letting him "play" in the backyard, but he has to be supervised because he's about the size of a pocket watch and can be easily misplaced.
A month ago we got three plastic Adirondack chairs for our little porch and have thus been spending more evenings outside recently, so while Ruby was running around and Michael was trying to flee (he's surprisingly fast), we sat down to sit and chat.
Soon enough, we saw something scamper across the fence furthest from us, and subsequently heard rustling in the tree in the far corner of our yard. Squirrels don't really come out at night, so we thought it was a little odd, and then we remembered the ominous words of a recent exterminator who came to assess our ant problem: "You need to have someone come and check the attic- there are a few holes to the outside, which suggests there might be rats."
KS, who is fascinated by things that make me cringe, ran inside to grab a flashlight and investigate. Still in her work clothes, which included a floral-print pencil skirt and a ruffly cream-colored top (her four-inch Michael Kors heels were discarded by this time) she started creeping towards the noise with the stealth of her former life as a ballerina, holding the flashlight behind her back. MG was trying to make sure Ruby stayed away from Mike and that we knew where he was- lest we lose or step on him.
Not long after, KS and her flashlight indeed spotted a rat.
Then another, then another.
I was horrified by this point and MG brought her Mac outside and started Googling what to do when you have a rat problem. The idea of getting an outdoor cat was thrown out as a possibility but quickly disregarded because we decided that KS would probably secretly bring it inside during days that were too hot or too cold- feeding it warm milk and coddling it until it was fat and no longer had a rat-killer instinct.
Plus- can you even train a cat? That just sounds like work.
Because of Ruby, we can't just throw around rat poison either. She eats any and everything and while she has survived a harrowing Halloween candy-debacle, and trash and pantry raids, our neighbor told us that they attempted using rat poison once and their dog had to go to the animal hospital twice.
At some point MG went over to check out the rats and Ruby was cowering near the porch with me while I was trying to find the turtle, which I had misplaced. Poor Michael probably felt like Rick Moranis in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.
Meanwhile, we had visitors arriving. Our friend AL came over with her fiance, and MG's boyfriend Z stopped by to see what was going on. I picked up Michael since there were way too many feet in the backyard at that point, and immediately Ruby became curious as to the edibility of the squirmy thing I was holding that was trying to swim through the air.
We took a tour of the perimeter of the house so that KS could show us where each of the alleged rat holes had been found.
Since there was nothing we could do about it at the time and KS "didn't have her BB-gun," we retired indoors for root beer and peach tea.
Because we all know that ignoring a problem is the best way to make it go away.
It is cheering to see that the rats are still around- the ship is not sinking.