Well my Monkey Rat is gone. You may remember him from this blog. It was about 9 months ago when my bananas started to disappear. I did the most logical thing I could think of and I moved the bananas (and the bread) to the other side of the kitchen where I assumed it would be harder for the Monkey Rat to get to them. And I thought I was a genius because I didn’t really hear from him again. That was in the spring. Summer came. It got hot. The baking stopped. The bananas stayed. Life was good.
Somewhere in the midst of monkey rat’s disappearing act, the patch from my wall, where the dryer vent goes outside, was mysteriously ripped off and laying on my floor. I thought my dog did it trying to kill the mailman. As that is his usual daily routing (according to the mailman). It never dawned on me that it may have been the monkey rat. Or the dogs chasing the rat. At this point, I can only speculate.
Anyway, winter is setting in. It’s the perfect time to bake. And I really love to bake. Sooooo….. I turned my oven on the other day to preheat (yes, I know preheating is not necessary, but I do it anyways) and there was this AWFUL smell that came wafting through the house. My house is small. It doesn’t take long to be overpowered by any scent wafting through whether it is a dog fart or a burning hair and urine which is what I was smelling. At first, I wanted to blame it on the dogs. Three big dogs. One little house. There is always dog hair. But they don’t pee in the house EVER so the smell didn’t make sense to me.
I shut the oven off, cursed a little bit (completely out of character for me, I know) and let the oven cool off. The next day, I was cleaning the kitchen and just for the hell of it, I decided I would inspect the stove.
I pulled it out from the wall and swept underneath it. There was some dog hair and dust, but not enough to make that smell. So then, I got on my knees (no jokes Crystal) and started sniffing. I’m not sure why that’s my go-to action when I need clarification. “What’s this?” *brings it to nose and sniffs*
It’s a terrible habit. It will be really terrible when it turns out to be a mountain of cocaine or something, but we will cross that bridge when we get there. My nose led me to the smell. But I couldn’t figure out how to get to it from the back, so I went to the front of the stove.
I opened the drawer at the bottom and saw some white stuffing. Like the kind from a stuffed animal. So I pulled the whole drawer out and started inspecting. Long story short, I took the stove apart and had to pull out a shit ton of dirty stove insulation. Yes, there is such a thing. Apparently it keeps the heat inside the stove (thank you Google). And the stuff I pulled out was full of rat pee and poop pellets. So I cleaned it and vacuumed it out and then I started wiping it out. By this time, I had the stove almost laying flat on it’s back. It was actually propped up on my dog food container, but it was close to the ground. So I wiped the bottom of the tray and then I wiped the top of the tray, which was the underbelly of the oven. I was using a white rag… this is where it gets a little gross….
I was using a white rag and when I was done wiping, it was red. Blood red. So I looked at the oven underbelly and there were what looked like scratch marks. Like the kind you would imagine a rat would leave if he felt like he was trapped in a can and was trying to claw his way out of the can or into someone’s belly mafia style. But there was no dead rat.
So I am assuming that he got out alive…barely…and ended up dying anyway. Or Zeus ate him because he eats everything. It’s really anybody’s guess. And now I have no more rat. No more monkey. No more monkey rat. And I can have all the bananas I want.
My brother says there is never just one rat. But I’m pretty sure between the crazy rottweiler who tries to eat the mailman every day and the crazy lady who scorches rats in the oven, word on the street in the rat community is probably to stay away from my house.
My heart is a little broken that I may have cooked a rat under my oven. It’s a little more broken that he may have been fighting for his life. But them’s the breaks.
On a brighter note, I can make cookies again without my house smelling like I cremated the neighborhood stray.