Rodents as Roommates
Before Jeremy and I began to share our lives together, I had roommates. I love living with Jeremy. But before all that, I loved living with roommates. I had roommates in college. I had roommates in Brooklyn. I had roommates in a really fun sublet on the Upper West Side one summer.
These roommates were so awesome. The only complaint I might have in retrospect is that they smoked a lot of cigarettes. They never had enough cigarettes to go around. Then they would quietly steal cigarettes from each other. But one or another of them would always find out about it.
Cigarettes are expensive. No one had enough money. In addition to the outright stealing from one another, they did a lot of begging. Not on the streets or on the train. It wasn't that bad. They only begged from each other inside of our apartment in Brooklyn.
I was really outside the drama about the cigarettes because I was a non- smoker. Well officially, I was a non- smoker. The second hand smoke may have calmed me down and smoothed over some of my rougher edges. I may have received some benefits. Or it may have been the placebo effect.
Except for one clove cigarette in college, I never smoked. The man that came to our school in 5th grade to speak with us through a special hole in his trachea scared me half to death. He smoked, and then this terrible thing happened. So I'm never smoking.
These smoking complaints are very minor. The roommates really should get a trophy for living with me all that time. I could be a lot of fun. But I also kept them up until the wee hours talking about my problems. When I look back on it, I should have done more for the roommates. At the very least, I could have bought them a carton of cigarettes to spilt.
There are good roommates. There are bad roommates. I have been blessed and cursed with each.
If you are squeamish you may want to stop reading here. If you are seriously involved with PETA, please, please stop reading.
I am here to explain that rodents are really crappy roommates.
In a previous post, I recounted a bad experience I had babysitting a rodent. That was easier than living with rodents. For one thing, the rodent I babysat had his own habitat. Really he had his own apartment. Him living in his own apartment meant that I wouldn’t be surprised finding him in the silverware drawer or skulking along the baseboards. I’ll say this for him. He was well contained.
The rodents that make the worst roommates are the kind you don’t go to the pet store to pick out. These rodents just move in without permission. They don’t pay rent. They attempt to eat your food. They are constantly trying to use your cardboard or paper to build their nests. As if living in your apartment isn’t luxurious enough, they want to build their dwelling inside of your apartment.
They reproduce. They are disgusting. They are horrible roommates. They must go.
We have found that the best way of evicting rodents that are living with you without permission are glue traps. For a more permanent solution to undesirable rodent roommates, please see my future Post titled Living With Rodents: Part 3, Getting Rid of Rodent Roommates in a More Permanent Way.
I have engaged in much self -improvement in the last few years. One result of this hard work is that if there is a rodent in a glue trap inside my apartment, I can dispose of it myself.
The process of my disposing of the rodent is not a quick one. First I must employ between 1 and 4 glue traps to cover up the rodent. If I am lucky, I can make a good sandwich using one extra trap. But unfortunately, rodents have long tails. That is where the other traps come in. The entire rodent must be covered.
I then use a broom handle to pat the traps down on top of the rodent. The next part is tricky.
I need to get the rodent into a bag while denying that it is a rodent. I use the broom handle to grab a sticky, exposed part of the traps with the rodent sandwiched inside and shake it into the bag. I have previously opened our apartment door. I then run screaming to the compactor room and dispose of it as quickly as I can.
Occasionally, the glue trap is really stuck to the broom handle. No amount of shaking near the bag will loosen it. I will not put my hand on or near the glue trap because I have not forgotten there is a rodent in there.
On these rare instances, I run screaming to the compactor room with the rodent sandwich still stuck to the broom handle. I then open the compactor shoot and shake that sandwich hard while hitting it against the metal. Once disposed of, I close that chute as quickly as possible then scream a little more as I go back into my apartment.
This process takes 15 minutes on a good day, but for a more challenging case can take upwards of 45 minutes.
Previously to my independent rodent disposal, I had four options. The easiest option would be for Jeremy to dispose of the rodent. If Jeremy was already home, this was a best case scenario. If Jeremy was not home but coming home later that day, I could close off the room with the rodent inside until he arrived home.
Sometimes Jeremy goes on a business trip.
The next best scenario was Pedro our porter. If Jeremy is the #1 awesome husband Pedro is the #1 awesome porter. My policy is that every time Pedro disposed of a rodent, I would give him a tip. Pedro did not want to accept the tip. I once chased Pedro with a tip around the second floor of the D building, then threw it at him and then ran back into my apartment and slammed the door.
My son is entrepreneurial. Once he realized I was tipping Pedro to dispose of the rodents, he asked me if I could just pay him to do it. I considered it. I couldn't do it. It's screwed up to pay your kid to dispose of rodents.
The third scenario is to have a male extended family member come over. I won't go into his methods here. Let's just say the man is serious.
One late night, I had exhausted my options. Jeremy was on a business trip. Unfortunately, Pedro is not on 24-hour call like a doctor. My male in-law was out. My female in-law would not come over to dispose of the rodent.
That left my finding a male neighbor to do it.
Please don’t call me a sexist. I am a feminist. However, when there is a rodent in a glue trap inside the apartment, do yourself a favor and find a male neighbor. The female neighbor will commiserate. She will validate your feelings about the rodent. She will talk to you about bad experiences she has had with rodents - possibly even the exact same ones! But she will not dispose of the rodent.
I knocked on a neighbor's door. A male neighbor answered the door. I was crying softly. I asked the male neighbor to please come to my apartment to dispose of the rodent.
The male neighbor felt sorry for the rodent. It was squeaking. However, I was crying. I felt like the male neighbor should feel less sorry for the rodent and more sorry for me.
The important thing was that the male neighbor quickly disposed of the rodent. Once that happened I could forget about rodents for the rest of the evening.
I have never forgotten this act of kindness.
At a certain point, I realized that we had too many bad rodent roommates. I could no longer pretend that the rodent/glue trap sandwiches, the financial burden of tipping Pedro, the stress of chasing Pedro with the tip, and trying to alternate male neighbors as to not alienate them was an isolated thing.
So you can add amateur exterminator to my list of accomplishments. Some of my methods, which you can read about soon in Living With Rodents: Part 3, Getting Rid of Rodent Roommates in a More Permanent Way will sound a little bit unorthodox. But I’m here to say that it works. Isn’t that the important thing?