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are the inmates running the asylum?


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the huge rat poop i found on my dryer this evening.


when i found my house, i couldn't believe how lucky i'd gotten; beautiful 1921 architecture, miles and miles of hardwood floors, three huge bedrooms, the most enormous kitchen i could imagine, a formal dining room, a deck, a charming side-porch, and all on a large corner lot with tons of hundred-year old pecan and oak trees. how did i get so lucky?

because it has rats. tha'ts how.
i first discovered that i had rats when i found a rat in the throes of death crawling through my photo studio after one of my dogs (a pekingese who no longer owns me) had mauled it. i would come to find, later, that it was trying to crawl home. home is the crawlspace under my house, and he was trying to get there via the hotwater heater closet, located in my studio. an open portal to the rat kingdom. a hellmouth. a rat hellmouth. i have goosebumps just seeing the words in print.
"just set out rat traps", all my well-intended friends say to me. "snap. dead rat." snap, dead rat indeed. then what? to date, i have found four dead rats in my house, and the afore-mentioned mostly-dead rat. to date, i have not disposed of any of these rats myself. i have had to call my sister megen's boyfriend kirk to come and remove the rats for me. sure, the only thing worse than a dead rat is a live one, and let me make this perfectly clear - i would no sooner touch a live rat than a dead one. its a physical impossibility for me to not scream, then cry, then lapse into over-dramatic hysterics upon seeing a dead rat, let alone go near one for heaven's sake. the time i found a dead rat in my toilet was so bad, i stood in the bathroom, screaming at the hideous vision floating in the commode until i grew hoarse. and no, i didn't flush it. kirk had to come and fish it out of the crapper for me.
my point in all this incessant back story is this; the rats are no longer afraid of me. it's not often that i see one, but when i do, it's always a very dramatic event where i curse at the "g.d. m.f'ing rats!" at the top of my lungs, then stomp and bang on things to frighten them back into hiding. my house is c-l-e-a-n. i don't leave food out, ever. i don't even leave dishes in the sink. my dogfood container is like fort knox. (although they've managed to chew into it a few times, sons of bitches.) my dogs seem virtually nonplussed by the presence of rats in my house, but neither of them are rhodes scholars, bless their little pointed heads.
last night, i saw two. two rats. that's a double sighting in a single evening. i was a little creeped out to say the very least; of course, i woke up every five minutes or so for the first hour i was in bed sleeping, imagining that there were rats crawling on me. both of the rats that i saw were in my kitchen; one was more gray, and one was more brown. and by rats, i don't mean cute little mice wearing red pants and white gloves. i mean rats. long, filthy, grody, disgusting freakin' rats. rats that leave huge rat turds as a calling card. both times i saw a rat last night they saw me and made their usual getaway, but with markedly less haste than usual. instead of shooting off to their emergency exit like a bullet from a gun, they just sort of, well, jogged away. it was as if they were saying "oh, hey, lady. yeah, i see you. i'm goin'." i did my usual stomping around on the floors, screaming curse words and banging on the stove to make noise, and the more i thought about what i was doing, and thought about the reaction i got from the rats when they saw me, the more foolish i felt. it's quite an unpleasant reality check, the realization that you've been imagining rats are laughing at you.

living in the historic district, as i've done three times now, rats are just an unpleasant little extra that comes with the territory. the rats have been here for longer than the people have, and apparently they're not going anywhere. in fact, the town i live in, temple, was once known as "ratsville" around the turn of the century, due to the huge population of rats.

the phrase "the inmates are running the asylum" has come to mind several times, especially in the last few days, but i can't help but wonder: are they really the inmates, or am i?




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About me

  • I'm melissa mcgee
  • From Temple, Texas, United States
  • photographer. singer. soapcrafter. herbalist. dogmom. godmother. fantastic cook. i kiss better than i cook. [all photographs on this blog copyright melissa mcgee unless otherwise noted.]
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