Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Day In Which A Shop Vac Is Involved

Oh dear.
When you live in a house that is one-hundred and fifty years old you may have critter problems. Especially when the house sits under giant oaks and is in a rather rural area.

And most especially when you are not, um, well, the world's best housekeeper.

We have an amazing staircase that reaches up to the second story with such grace and swirl that it is what makes this house fancy. Everything else about the house is rather plain but someone spent lot of time and effort and money to build that staircase. It is adorned, it is carved, it is beautiful. And underneath it there is a tiny room in the hallway with a most unassuming doorway. Here. It looks like this:

For a long time, I have kept our wrapping paper in that little room. The wrapping paper and the plastic skeleton which I drag out for Halloween (I love having a skeleton in the closet) and a big bin with wool in it for the day which will surely come when I complete that damn afghan I've been working on for oh, approximately a decade or so. Time flies, you know.

Anyway, back to the critters.
I've always known I had mice in that tiny room of a closet. No doubting that with the nibbles on the paper, the droppings. But a few weeks ago I opened the door up and looked inside and was met with a sight that was so overwhelmingly horrifying that I just quickly shoved the door closed and had to sit down and hyperventilate for awhile.

It looked something like this:

Okay. That doesn't do it justice. No. It does not. But you know what? I am ashamed to show you the picture which does. Because it looks like something you'd see on a reality show. Maybe the kind of reality show where they go into the houses of crackheads and take photos illustrating the depths to which crack can allow you to fall into. Really. It's bad.


No. I think I have the full-grown rats now. With gray beards and red eyes and opposable thumbs.

They have chewed up cardboard boxes. They have taken the skeleton and dragged him along the floor. It looks like a horrible manic confetti-filled pit of hell in there.
Although of course, a rather festive one, since so much cheerful wrapping paper was used in the making of this hell pit.

So. Today is the day. I am going to gird my loins and clean that closet out. I am going to throw away all the wrapping paper and boxes I have stashed and saved which have been nibbled and torn and ravished and ruined. I am going to pull everything out and then, I am going to use Mr. Moon's Shop Vac to suck all the detritus and rat-nest building materials up. Yes! I am!
Me- who once wrote a poem which included the lines:
Vacuum cleaners really suck;
They make me say bad words like "Fuck!"

I don't even own a vacuum cleaner. But Mr. Moon does and he has lent it to me.

It is a heavy-duty Shop Vac. It is bona fide. I think it would even suck up a rat or two if the situation called for it.

I am praying it does not.

Wish me luck, y'all. And please- do not judge me for allowing things to get to this point. Or, hell, go ahead and judge me. I deserve it. Really. Old house, new house- doesn't matter. I have let the rats and mice and squirrels take over and that's just all there is to it.

I suppose when you get right down to it, my chore for today is to clean the rats' room.

Hope they appreciate that.

Love....Ms. Moon


  1. I love a good Shop Vac. Sometimes I get carried away and suck up stuff I shouldn't.

    Good luck, woman!

  2. Doesn't everyone have a room like that? All of a sudden, it's taken on a life of its own. Our laundry room is like that - and it's not even laundry that overcomes it. Mostly it's just the busyness of life, particularly around the holidays. Open door. Stash. Close door. Forget. Rinse and repeat.

    Good luck today! I hope it's just you and the shopvac and no varmits.

  3. Yep, I have a whole scrap room like that. Whatever needs to go out of sight goes in there. Close the door. Gone. When we have visitors, they have to sleep in that room, at this point I frantically start cleaning up the mess...
    I feel for the rats and mice in your cupboard, they were so happy there! ;o)))

  4. Well my house is only 30 years old and I have been hearing something scritching around in the attic for about a month now. Good luck with the closet. Now that you have posted a "before" picture, I would love to see what it looks like after you are done!

  5. Oh my god, Mary, that staircase is the cat's pajamas!!! I don't know if I've ever seen one more beautiful, even in Gone With the Wind!

    Yes, an old house comes with its share of unwelcome inhabitants. I can't believe you are tackling this all by yourself ~ don't you want to wait 'til Mr. Moon gets home???

    Good luck ~ when I finally come for a visit, I'll bring along some new wrapping paper for you!

  6. That really sucks....Hope that the vermin holes get patched too. It may be flying squirrels as they tend to get through a crack that only a cockroach could.

  7. I have rats too. No judgement here :)

  8. Every time I hear "gird my loins" I think of Barbara Striesand in "Meet the Fockers" saying, "It's the fruit of your loins!" It just makes me laugh!

    Good luck today! :)

  9. I hate mice with a passion. I think my hair would go all white from fear if I found evidence of rats.

  10. Ms. Bastard-Beloved- I am wondering if Zeke would fit into it.

    Jucie- I have PLENTY of closets and rooms like that. This one is just the worst of the worst.

    Photocat- If I didn't ever have visitors, I'd never clean.

    Lois- I have a feeling that I have an entire community of rodents living here. Mice, rats, and squirrels. Not too many bugs though! I guess the rodents eat them.

    Lulumarie- I can do it. Mr. Moon's part will be to set and tend the traps when I'm done. And I think I am going to give up on wrapping paper entirely. I know- what a sin. Although I suppose I could invest in some more rubbermaid.

    Syd- I wish. Nah, it's not flying squirrels. And there is no way in this world to patch up all the entrances into this old house. Believe me.

    Nicol- I love that movie too! Especially Babs and Dustin AND that house. OH! That house!

    Stephanie- Well, you'd die of fright in this house.

  11. I lived in a house in college with rats. My housemates and I would lie in bed and listen to them in the walls. In the morning they had dragged our leather belts into their lair, bags of candy, etc. Eventually, they were killed and died between the stories of the house. The smell was so overpowering that it drove us away.

    Thanks for the good memories, Ms. Moon. Only kidding, but I do hate rats.

  12. I kept thinking how Harry Potter’s room at his aunt and uncles was the closet under the stairs…..and then DTG mentioned him.
    Good luck!! Make a lot of noise, and you may want to put on some battle wear like all those pads the hockey goalies wear, including the face mask. Just kidding, but that is what I am picturing: you holding the shop vac in front of you like sword.
    I giggled all over the place on this post and kept sneaking glances at the gorgeous staircase and doorway.

  13. A rather festive manic pit of hell? I just love the imagery. And I am ashamed to show pictures of any PART of my house anymore, much less a closet like that one, so no worries here.

  14. Hee! I have an under the stairs closet that looks just like that! I don't think there are any mice in there, but there are plenty of boxes, shoes, an old rug, cleaning supplies, spiders, cobwebs, candles, coolers, and other junk. Post an after picture, perhaps it will inspire me!

  15. Thanks for making me laugh with the skeleton in the closet line, and thanks for making me feel better about the mouse nests I found in my wrapping paper pile in the basement this winter. The Mr. likes to put out poison and traps and forget about them, leaving me or the dog!! to find their decomposing carcasses, so I have banned the D-Con and traps for now. Last night daughter was fussing about the mouse stampede in the ceiling tiles in the basement. What to do? I live in the woods, spiders and vermin are part of the ambiance!
    Your staircase filled me with envy I can't even articulate. And I'll not be judging you, I've seen way messier closets than yours!
    Hope you feel proud and accomplished when you are done. xxoo

  16. We had one of those at Finale's... we called him R2D2. May I borrow him sometime. You're house is a marvel!

  17. I love the staircase. Very, 'walk-down-wearing-a-prom-dress' elegant.

  18. SJ- Well. You don't OWN your place. And it's in the city.

    DTG- I did not. He's fine. He's at school.

    Elizabeth- When they moved my old stove out, we found a silver spoon which rats had tried to get out of their little hole. A SILVER SPOON! WTF???

    Michele R- We refer to it as the Harry Potter room.

    Kori- Somehow that makes me feel better.

    Lora- Be inspired! And get giant garbage bags.

    Mel- I do feel proud.

    Ms. Fleur- I'm sure Mr. Moon would lend you his R2D2.

    Rebecca- It is, isn't it?

  19. I love that vaccuum poem.

    Very sweet of Mr Moon to lend you his Shop Vac


  20. No judgement here. I have a couple very similiar closets in my house too, minus the critters...I hope.

    Maybe you should invest in a cat who is a proven mouser. But finding the little corpses is pretty bad too.

  21. I once had a rat in the house, grosses experience EVER!


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