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The weather is cooling down. It is beautiful outside. Yet, I have been a prisoner in my own home for over two weeks. There is a terrorist rat in my backyard!

I have a SEVERE phobia of rodents. No sarcasm here. I really freak out, and can't even look at a picture of a mouse.

After our wedding, when we were commuting to the Bay Area, Brad had returned to his job in San Jose, and I had the rest of the week off at our home in La Quinta. The ceremony and reception had been in our home with caterers and guests in and out all weekend. On the Wednesday evening after the wedding, I saw a tiny field mouse skitter across the baseboard across the room from me. I barricaded myself in the master bedroom, stuffing beach towels under the door. I called Brad in hysterics while trying to breathe during my panic attack. There wasn't much he could do from San Jose, so he suggested calling the security guy at the main gate. The poor guy came, and searched the house for an hour, pulling out all appliances, and finding...nothing. I grabbed a change of underwear, my toothbrush, the book I was reading, and a bathing suit. The security guy brought me my purse and keys from the kitchen. He checked the entry hall again, and I made a dash to my car in the driveway, asking him to turn off lights, lock the house, and leave my key at the front gate of our community. I spent the next three nights at the closest hotel (where our wedding guests had just stayed). It took the exterminators three days to catch the little guy. I lived by the hotel pool, ordered room service meals, and read several books from the hotel gift shop.

Just about every two years, there has been a minor "incident" of some kind. There are "fruit rats" in the desert. Three years ago, we had one in our yard, but it ate bait and was dead the next morning. Two years ago, I was driving, and one crossed the intersection in front of my car. I had to stop driving in the middle of the street. I couldn't safely drive with it in my vision. Thank goodness there were no cars behind me. I sat there in the middle of the street with my eyes closed until it was gone.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a party for some Slow Travel friends. The day before, Brad moved our two pool rafts to the side of the house. That was when he saw this current unwanted visitor. He made a really wise choice, and did NOT tell me. I would have completely freaked out. 19 people in my yard, opening and closing the door, and all that food! What we don't know can't hurt us, and yes, ignorance was bliss! I was able to sit outside, drink my coffee, enjoy the flowers, with no terror. Now I am a prisoner.

A couple mornings after the party, I saw some rat "droppings" on the patio. I ran inside, told Brad, and THAT was when he told me he had seen a rat. I made him search the whole yard: under every bush, behind the pool, under the patio furniture, EVERYWHERE! He saw it again, on the side of the yard by the pool rafts.

We called in our exterminators. There are 4 bait traps. The critters are supposed to eat the poison, and DIE!. Not this rat. After a couple days, I hired new exterminators. He added bait, and also set several huge spring traps. Brad checks every day. New rat poop, but no dead body!

Last Saturday, almost 2 weeks after the party, I was on the phone in my kitchen. I happened to walk by the glass door, and the little f**ker ran across the patio right in front of me. Now I have the visual, as well as the fear!

Ego and I go outside only to our front courtyard. Even the dog has had to readjust. He has found new areas to go potty, but I miss the comfort and privacy of my back yard.

I am used to walking outside to pick fresh herbs when I cook. The other night, I couldn't make dinner until after Brad got home to go outside and pick me some sage!

I'm a therapist. I know this is "all in my head". I went to an anxiety specialist once. She said it was a very "deep ingrained phobia". There were no childhood traumas. I know I learned this from my mom. All of this insight is quite useless to me. I will not go into my backyard until one of two things happens: a dead body, or a few days with no new poop (so I can pretend he went to the neighbor's to die). This is SO creepy.

Ok, now you know what a neurotic mess I am. I am on edge, and living in what I am calling a "hostile environment". Every day, Brad wonders if we will have to move. I hope this ends soon. I have a dinner party in a couple weeks. I need a vacation.

Comments (12)


You and Kathy from justabeachkat should get together (from opposite sides of the USA) and commiserate. She is having the same problem in Florida! Get a cat or at least entice the neighbor's cats into your yard. Don't be held hostage in your own home!!


But....I did learn alot from the part about '3 nights in a hotel'.

Barb Cabot:

I hope you catch that little f**ker!


Oh, Palma, I'm sorry that the damn rat is upsetting you so much.

Would you consider a cat? My cats have killed all kinds of critters thru the years.


Oh, oh... I hope one of the baits take care of him... in a bad way.

I'd send you a cat but you know what they do - bring the corpse in to you!

I think you should just come to Canada for a while. It is so cold here that anything outside is dead. Mind you - we did have a raccoon the other night. No mice or rats though!


Had it been a cockroach...well, that would be different!

Oh Palma, I am so sorry to read that you are being held hostage. I hope that rat bites the dust pronto and his body is left dead in plain sight for you so that you will know he is dead.

Barb Cabot:

I'm afraid a cat might leave his dead catch at the foot of Palma's bed as a "gift". Oooh yikes...believe me that would not be good. Our lovely little Blanche left a couple of gifts like that and I screamed bloody murder. YUK! I'm sure Jerry must have a couple of stories like this one.

Oooooh, I hear you!! So sorry Palma, I hate those as well. A few years ago I made the mistake of leaving a bag of M&M's in my desk drawer in my office. Well it was not pretty a field mouse decided to make a nest in my desk here at work. Needless to say no more M&M's in my desk! hehehehe

Palma-I feel your pain! We live on a canyon and have rodents cruising by and I too freak out! We're vigilant about keeping our screen door closed at all times and when guests come over they don't understand why we're adamant about this. Once I went out to grill and opened the lid and there was a rat eating a tomato it had stolen from our plants-that REALLY did me in! Last year as I went to pull out the garbage cans one l had a close encounter and ran in the house and locked the door and screamed! We always have bait out-the whole ordeal unnerves me!


Totally understand,Palma.I have the same phobia - one of the reasons we just got another cat.Even if they bring you a "present" - which my former cats NEVER did-it will not be alive.We have been in our house for 30 years and always had a cat.We never saw any rodents until our last cat died 4 yrs ago. I was ready to move!

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