You guys. So the other night I happened to be sleeping without the single earplug I usually wear. (I am a side-sleeper and I wear one earplug in my top ear, so I cannot hear the dog breathing and the music of the spheres and whatever, but so that I can hear it if someone speaks my name or if absolutely all hell breaks loose. Yes, I do move the earplug from ear to ear during the night.)
So there I was, having heedlessly fallen into slumber with my ear canal unplugged, when I was awakened by something. I lay there and tried to determine what had disturbed me. Then I heard it: a skittering in the ceiling above my bed. A skittering and a scuttling. It was quite loud, an almost urgent-sounding kind of skitter. In my sleep-fogged state, I tried to alert Matt. I remember tapping on his hip and trying to murmur, "Critters." But I can't be sure that my mouth was really working right and I might have just patted him and sussurated in his direction.
Later, awake and vertical, I remembered that when we bought this house, the attic was home to some number of flying squirrels. So when the exterminator guy happened to be here, I confided in him about the skittering. He went up into the attic. When he came down, I was sitting on the living-room couch. He said, "Well, I've got bad news. It's not flying squirrels, it's rats."
Reader, when he said that, I actually shushed him. Shushed him like you shush a child in church. Then I put my hands over my ears. He looked compassionately at me and waited.
He explained that there are these black rats, he called them roof rats, that live in trees and high places, and like to come sleep in our attic after they've been out foraging for food. They're using our insulation for nesting material. I wailed a bit and asked why we couldn't have something cute up there, like raccoons. His eyes grew big and he said, "Oh no. You don't want raccoons. They never leave."
Then he went outside and performed various calculations and observations. When he came back in, he said that for $1360, they would go over every bit of the roofline and seal it up, then set traps and come every couple of days to check them until the problem was solved. I agreed to this and established a day and time for the work to commence, then he went away.
Well, you can imagine what Matt's reaction to this was: We will trap them ourselves, he said.
Reader, I said nothing, said it in the most tolerant and understanding wifely way that you can imagine.
I did not wish to quash either his thrift or his can-do spirit, but I did quibble with his choice of pronoun. No, I demurred, there could be no "we" in the case, as I could neither trap a rat, look at a rat, think about a rat, or really even know about a rat.
Then I said, "Sweetie, do you have the time and energy to devote to this issue? Because I do think this could be the sort of thing where we either pay now or pay later, having thrown just enough money and time at it to decide that you don't want to tackle it, given the many and various demands on your time."
Then I postponed the attic work for a week to give him time to think about it. And I gave him the critter guy's business card and suggested he chat with him.
Then I discussed it with several girlfriends, both at home and abroad, who understand the delicate marital dynamics of having rats in one's attic.
Tonight I discussed it with our house guests. "I think I heard them," our friend said. In the kitchen, Matt announced, "I went up into the attic today and I have a plan. It seems very doable."
I listened to the plan and it may be doable, I don't know. I just asked that he call the critter guy and tell him not to come, because I am ready to remove myself from that loop, and that we do something fun with that amount of money. My tennis friend just got back from a trip to Dominica that she got with a Groupon, something like that would do okay.
I will keep you posted, trust.