In yet another week where not much has happened, I thought I’d be telling you this week about me using my resistance bands for the second time since I bought them last January. I could have shared with you tales of taking an extra long Another Fucking Walk (Emer McLysaghts’s creation) with the aforementioned Emer McLysaght and trying a slightly, but not massively different, new route. Indeed, I could also have gone into detail about my Newstalk blaring neighbour and our silent Mexican standoff which peaked in us shoving notes at each other through our respective front doors. Alas, those scintillating moments of my life will have to sit on the subs bench this week, for a Diego Maradona shaped event entered the pitch at the last moment and scored a hand of God style, game beating goal.
Pop me in your ears my friends and let me take you on a RATSCAPADE.
In fair Verona where we lay our scene/my kitchen. I was pottering about making myself a snack of tuna ceviche with apple, mango and lime salsa served on a bed of winter micro-greens. It was either that or a packet of Walkers Oven Baked Cheese and Onion crisps but let’s not get too bogged down at this early stage. Just as I went to lovingly shove a Walkers, I mean, some ceviche into my face, I heard some scootin’ and a scrapin’ up above. ‘Shite’ your heroine thought to herself. Despite the pest control man concreting up possible entry points, it seems that one little stinker had found another way in. ‘Oh well’ Esther mused to the mic-ro-wave ‘I’ll just have to get ‘em back and we can get this sorted once and for all. I’ll think no more about it’. I then tipped the crisps packet/apple and mango salsa into my face and I spirited away back up to my office.
As I sat at my desk, tapping out a staggering work of breathtaking genius, I could hear the little snuffler, shuffling underfoot. What the fock was it doing? It sounded like it had hired a mini digger. Still, the pest control man had assured me that even though I could hear them, there was no way that any creature, great or small, could breach my barracks. However, go tobann, I heard something akin to pebbles being thrown against my tumble drier. My shapely, feminine ears pricked up. ‘Unusual. But it’s okay Esther’ my internal Bury Your Head In The Sand Reflex told me ‘everything’s fine - get thee back to your tappin stat’. ‘Got it brain!’ I said...to myself. AND JUST LIKE THAT (please note the SATC ref here thank you) EVERYTHING CHANGED.
I heard more debris being flung on the kitchen floor and then a loud and weighty PLOP. I could no longer deceive myself, something had landed. I flew downstairs and as I turned and looked into the kitchen I came face to face with my enemy - a plump brown rat SITTING ON TOP OF MY FOCKING BOILER. Well, Ned Flanders had nuthin on me. The screams were blood curdling. Almost immediately, I could hear a group of neighbours pounding at the front door asking if I was okay and to let them in or else they’d kick their way through. Just kidding. Nobody batted a eyelid. Lesson one: no one is going to rescue you Cutie Pie.
I couldn’t put a lid on my deathly screams however which no doubt irritated the sh*te out of Newstalk next door but crucially in no way incited him to check if I was being murdered. ‘Don’t move! Stay there!’ I commanded the oblivious rodent who probably regretted choosing my sweet boiler to rest its furry tush. I then set about trying to call the pest control people but I couldn’t get my code right. I forced myself to calm down just enough to make the call but then I was back to Drew Barrymore in Scream levels of hysteria. ‘THERE’SARATINMYKITCHENHE’SSITTINGONTHEBOILER! HE’S STARING AT ME. And he was staring at me probably wondering if he threw himself on the ground would the impact knock him out. ‘Alright love. Alright. What’s your address?’ Pest Control countered. ‘It’s ARRRGH. I live in ARRGH!’ I replied uncool as a cucumber. Okay, okay. I have someone near you now on a job and they’ll be with you soon’ said Pest-on Blumenthal. ‘Okay great THAAAAAANKS ARRRRRRGGGGGGH! DON’T MOOOOOOOVE!’ Next on my list of hysterical phone calls to make was my brother. It rang through. Just like in the movies. On to my mother who could do nothing for me but I needed to talk to someone or else it was just me and Ratatouille. She calmed me down and said she was on her way (we had an exciting walk pre-planned). The rat was still there and then BOOM BOOM BOOM. Pest Control was a knockin’.
I opened the front door and there stood a man I’d never met before wearing a mask, black latex gloves and holding a hammer. ‘Where’s the kitchen?’ asked Paul ‘THERE’ wailed me. In he strode, dragging mud and possible rodent guts across my Ikea Hellested runner (great price, washes easily, protects the floor). ‘It’s sitting on top of the boiler’ I said. ‘I can’t see it. Where’s the boiler?’ said Paul. If this were a scene in Mission Impossible, the momentum is definitely slowing down and the audience are going to start heading to the loo soon. ‘THERE. LOOK! IT’S….it’s gone’. Noooooooooo! Where has the focking rat gone?! Paul skulks around my vast (tiny) kitchen. We can see no rat. It must have returned from whence it came in all the kerfuffle. ‘Don’t worry. It was probably just that one’ says Paul my new best friend. Of course I do not for one moment believe him but can’t entertain thoughts of a mini football team of rats bopping about my flat roof. The front door goes again ‘ARRRGH!’ I am jumpier than a pony in the RDS horse show. It is my mum. I fill her in, make the introductions with Paul, now a close family friend and we both stand in the hall, looking on from a distance. Paul sets four traps around the boiler and then goes on a recce of the house, putting traps in the attic and in every nook and press. He talks me down from the ceiling and before we know it, our white knight is off. He tells me to call him immediately if any traps go off and he’ll be there in a flash.
As I shut the front door, my phone rings again - ‘ARRRGH. JESUS CHRIST.’ It’s my brother. I launch into the entire event, chapter and verse and how does he react? He laughs...nay, chuckles warmly, non-stop at my terror. ‘It’s not funny’ I say. ‘Oh, it is’ he replies. He reminds me how I laughed uncontrollably when he came to after knocking himself out playing basketball in youth club in our teens. And how I howled after he got his wisdom teeth out and he couldn’t move his face properly. ‘That’s different’ I insist ‘You’re just so funny when you’re sick.’
My mum and I decide we need to get out of the house and go on our trot. Before we head off we shut every door in the house and lean a paint pot against the attic door, just in case. With all rooms as secure as we can make them, we head off, stopping to get a quick nerve steadier in the form of a flat white. An hour or so later we return. I push the old tin bread bin aside, which has been guarding the hall door, lest a team of rat cadets burst through. I then tentatively make my way towards the kitchen. I squint. I peer. I almost sh*t twice and die because ONE OF THE TRAPS HAS BEEN SET OFF. Oh Lord. I continue my tip-toeing, stepping over the threshold from the sitting room to ye olde kitchen. ‘OH NO! I SEE A TAIL!’ I relay to mum. But the focking tail is not in the trap. It set it off but it didn’t catch it and now the little stunned squeaker is sitting by my Brabantia 30L bin with soft closure and super-light pedal operation. I indicate to my mum to fall back and we return to the hall, once again sliding the breadbin back for our protection. I pull out my phone ‘Paul. The rat is in the kitchen but not in the trap’ I wail. And just like Super Nanny he tells me ‘I’m on my way.’ But he’s in focking Bray which means it could be an hour before he gets to me.
Mum is dealing with her trauma by scrolling through her What’sApp chuckling away to a video of two women dancing in their dressing gowns to Tom Jones. I am not coping as well, after all, the rat could come-to at any moment. In an attempt to outsource my stress I interrupt peoples work days and ask them ‘DO YOU HAVE A CAT AND ARE THEY ANY GOOD AND SHOULD I GET A CAT RIGHT NOW PLEASE GIVE ME A CAT’. I go on Twitter and ask the same. I leave voice notes for friends. I am spiralling. WHERE IS NOTED PEST CONTROLLER PAUL? ARRRGH’ The advice is coming thick and fast and keeping me distracted. Some time passes and I suddenly notice music playing which causes me to look up from my phone. Mum is standing in the front window, her Samsung resting on the sill, playing My Love, My Life from the Mamma Mia 2 soundtrack. She is gently swaying and singing to herself. I take secret videos and send them to my brother a.k.a The Laughing Swine. And the hits keep coming. Next up on the Shake Your Rat Tail Disco Train is So Deep Is The Night sung by John McCormack. And then, because my mother is a total curveball who’s movements cannot be predicted, she plays I will wait for you by Mumford and Sons and informs me they used to pretend to be Irish to get people to listen to them.
Oh. I have no idea if this is true or not. And then ‘ARRRRGH’ as someone is knocking on the front door. I open it. It’s Paul. ‘Stand back!’ he says ‘I don’t have a mask!’ His black latex gloves and hammer are all in place however. He strides in again, squishing yet more mud into the sisal weave and once again asks ‘Where is it?’ ‘Oh no’ I groan. It can’t have focking escaped again BUT WAIT. Paul sees it and…….we’ll leave it there. It gets a bit Dexter from here on in. Let’s just say, the rat won’t be driving his digger any time soon.
The current rat status in my house as of 14:27 on Sunday 31st January 2021, is: no rats. My boiler is more heavily protected than Fallujah and my BFF Paul will be back to check the traps during the week. I will of course, keep you all informed as I know you all want me to.
LET US ALL HOPE THAT THIS IS THE LAST RATREON FOR THE FORESEEABLE.
Peace and love and I hope you are all staying cosy on this soggy day.