Late last night I found myself googling a new phrase that I'd never considered googling before, "Roof Rat in Toilet Arcadia Home Phoenix Arizona". Why, you may ask? Because unfortunately, I discovered a rat in our toilet in one of the single most terrifying moments of my life.
I'm exhausted. I really and truly am. This month has been a doozy. I won't bother you with the long list of ups and downs again, if you know us well enough, you've probably gotten the general gist of it all from my previous blog entries and various facebook updates. This week was my big trip to Sonoma with Jamie to shoot our "how to" photos for our upcoming book. Although it was mostly fun, it was grueling. I didn't get a lot of sleep and the sleep that I did get was not the best quality. By the time that I arrived back in Arizona on Thursday early evening, I was spent. I intended to rest on Friday, but I made the mistake of trying to turn on my lap top. It would not turn on. Uh oh. I need a lap top to assist in finishing our book. I need a lap top for just about everything that I do at work. I spent a few hours making sure that I could have a computer for the following week and mumbled to myself that it was silly that I couldn't just have a full day off any more.
I tried again the next day. I slept in. I watched tv. I took a nap. I read. By evening, I felt up to going out into the yard and doing a little work. I was feeling rested. Josh joined me and was mowing. When it got dark, I came inside and decided to wipe down the bathrooms and squeeze cleaner into the toilet. I flipped down the lids in both bathrooms, washed my hands (of course) and moved on with my day. I was back on he couch, relaxing again. Josh came in, took a shower and soon was by my side on the couch.
It started when I heard some splashing. I am really sensitive to unusual sounds and lights. I turned down the television (Twin Peaks) and listened. I asked Josh what he thought the sound might be. He went and investigated. He reported back that he thought it was just the new lights that we had purchased. We both commented on how strange it was that they would make noise, but I accepted his answer and went back to watching the tv intently. A few minutes later, I decided to go to the bathroom. I don't hardly ever use that bathroom during the day. As I entered the bathroom, I remembered that I had left the toilet cleaner in the bowl. The toilet cover is rarely down at our house. So I lifted the cover and was about to flush when I saw something large floating around in the blue water. I sat for a second contemplating what it might be when the rat's head lifted from the water.
This is where my memory goes a little fuzzy. I know that I slammed the lid down. Josh said that he thought that I had been electrocuted and that I kept repeating, "I know what it is." I can only imagine that this was because my last question in my head was, "What is that?" So I kept repeating over and over that I knew what it was but could not articulate "a rat" for a minute or so. Then, there was a mad rush. We had (have) no idea how it got in the toilet, but could it get out anywhere else if it swam back down the pipe? We started covering every open drain in the house, and both toilet seats with heavy paint cans. Per usual, Josh was calm and reasonable. I was irrational and terrified. After everything was covered, I felt a little better. At least it was contained.
That was when the google search started. Can someone remove this pest in the middle of the night? Is this normal? Has this happened to anyone else in our neighborhood? In fact, it had. It happened to The Single Senior. I found much solace in her blog post as I did not feel alone in my troubles. Apparently, my fear runs a little more deeply than hers. She seemed so okay with the whole thing.
At any rate, we finally got an overnight operator on the phone from Burns Pest Elimination. This is where it all went downhill again. I explained our problem. I explained the situation. He explained that it would be impossible to get someone to our house until 7 am the next morning. Oh, and that it was a Saturday night on a holiday weekend and that it would cost a lot for pest removal regardless of what time the exterminator showed up. At that point, I didn't care how much it cost. Not one bit! Then, he proceeded to tell me that in all honesty, even with the lid down and the paint can on the lid, the rat was probably already loose in my house. I practically dropped the phone. I had to hand it over to Josh. The idea of it creeping around my bedroom (next to the bathroom) just sent me right over the edge. Josh finished the phone call and then put on his brave face to try to calm me back down again. Seeing as I was a gigantic mess, he offered to find us a hotel for the night. Yes, please.
So in the middle of the night, we packed up just the necessities and set out for a comfortable hotel room at the aloft by the Phoenix airport. We didn't get to sleep long, but at least we slept. So much for feeling rested!
This morning the exterminator seemed baffled as to how the rat was in the toilet. He told Joshua that it was a fluke, a completely unusual occurrence. The type of thing that happens once in a blue moon.
Roof rats are a pretty normal thing in East Phoenix. The landscape is more lush than other areas of town. The area was formerly full of orchards. There are plenty of fruit trees still around for the rats to feed from. From what we have read, they are not swimmers. They need water to drink, but they prefer to be above ground in dry places. Joshua found a few things that we can do to make sure that this doesn't happen again. I have a feeling that he will be fortifying our castle over the next few days and weeks. We both knew that they were outside. We had already checked any and all access into the house to make sure that there was no way they were getting in. We did not even think about plumbing. Argh.
If you are a home owner in the Arcadia area and stumble upon this blog because you too have found a rat in your toilet, check out Roofrat.net. Also, this Rodent Proof explained why the population of rats exists very clearly. Good luck!