I Think I Smell a Rat

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

For days now, I cannot get this song out of my head.

No, not because of my love of the White Stripes or my  ”mostly attracted to, but slightly repulsed by” Jack White crush, but because my house has rats.

(I’m sorry, Mom. I know this is pretty much your worst nightmare. I was hopeful the title might have scared you off.)

The good news is I wasn’t here for the worst of it – although living vicariously through the friend staying at my place’s mortified texts and PHOTOS once she forcibly (fought one

This image was associated with a story about "rat meat sold as lamb in China." So much for tastes like chicken. Or ever eating anything in China. Ever.

This image was associated with a story about “rat meat sold as lamb in China.” So much for tastes like chicken. Or ever eating anything in China. Ever.

on with one of my large kitchen spoons while it came at her and bit scratches into the other end of the spoon) caught two of them on sticky traps will provide excellent PTSD fodder for years to come – or was I?

See, I don’t know.

And I’m not sure what rats smell like, but I keep waking up at all hours and creeping around my house both hopeful (?) and terrified I will discover something and thinking I smell something “weird.”

Here are the facts as they stand:

1. They tore down two dilapidated houses next door. Three days later, I have rats.

2. Despite my $1600 a month plus utilities rent, my landlord is a total slumlord bastard. Nothing is fixed. Nothing gets repaired. The place is probably six months from falling in on itself. He’s also prone to threatening to evict me – or maybe worse. The notes say things like “you won’t like what I’ll do.” Maybe he means release a bunch of rats? – because he hallucinates that he hears the dog howling. At 3 a.m. When the dog is asleep. And I’m home. And the only creatures stirring are a bunch of rats.

3. One of the other renters here in Hell seems to function as a de facto maintenance man, but he is clearly terrified of the prospect of actually encountering one of these buggers. Not exactly confidence-boosting. He recommended I put out a bowl of Pine Sol.

Um, what?

4. My cat doesn’t give a sh*t. He was apparently sitting on the counter a few feet away from two of them (yes. They frequent my kitchen counter and knock stuff down. Which makes me want to firehose this place with bleach.) begging for his supper. Who can blame him? They’re practically his size. Or maybe he thinks I’ve added to the family. Welcome, Ratatouille, Squeaker, and Meningitis!

4. My dog wants to kill, but I don’t really want him developing a blood lust or have the experience of murdering smallish animals inside our 750-square foot house. See: 9-pound cat.

5. Same de facto maintenance guy “plugged all the holes” leading into this place and put some sticky traps under my stove. The rat(s) drug them both across the house, took some dumps on them, shook free (I found the traps face down in the middle of the room) and – presumably – are now trapped inside here somewhere.

6. Arson sounds nice.



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Canine garbage disposal

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

I know this can’t be consistently (if ever) interesting…but once again, my dog ate himself sick on trash, and I can’t stop myself from telling you about it. He’s like a guppy: he’ll eat until he explodes.

dog looking at self in mirror

The evil within.

“Why does this keep happening?” you’re probably thinking. He’s relentless and he has no shame, that’s why. He’s an unstoppable force of nature. I goof once in a while. Whatever. Don’t be hating.

“Didn’t you install a baby gate?” I did, but someone staying with me ripped it out of the wall (by accident). I didn’t witness the incident and kind of forgot about it as the gate itself is still attached on the other side…but Dozer, however, was on the ball in this case.

Yesterday I left for a few hours to see the new Batman movie. I had an instinct. I saw it coming. In preparation, I moved everything off the front counters that could vaguely be considered edible: his poultry toothpaste, a container of Tums, a flower in a vase, a potted aloe, half a chocolate bar, and a bag of some unexpectedly yucky chips that are kind of like rice cakes but have a horrible fakey artificial jalapeno taste that’s really unbearable.

garbage all over the floor

Freakin’ idiot.

Ironically, all that made it through unscathed, because what Dozer decided to do instead was

a) breach the gate where it was no longer connected to the wall

b) eat a bag of trash consisting of mostly crab shells, papaya skins, coffee grounds paper towels (boy loves him a dirty napkin or paper towel used to drain bacon) and eggshells.

c) steal a highly fermented bag of Amish friendship bread starter (so raw, yeasty dough basically) and consume that ON THE CARPETS

d) God knows what else because I don’t have a motion camera.  ***ahem***

The net effect was a dog so bloated I honestly thought he might blow.  Well, he did actually, but that wasn’t for another six hours.

Seriously though, his stomach was rock hard and he looked like he’d gained 15 pounds.

Something about eating raw dough and crab shells makes a guy thirsty, because he also drank three bowls of water (easily a gallon and a half) and part of what he could find in the toilet bowl (water, but yuck water) and the cat’s water. Then he laid by his dishes and – pausing occasionally to cry softly – panted for a few hours.

Sick Malamute

Fairly certain he’s going to die.

He’s got health insurance – you don’t live with this animal for nearly seven years and not pay the $360 annual “just in case”: it’s an investment, not a gamble – but experience (an entire 12 oz. package of chocolate covered espresso beans, anyone?) has taught me he’d survive. I gave him a couple of the Tums – the internets implied he’d survive them, as well – and braced for the inevitable middle of the night wake up call.

It was spectacular – two gallons of water has to go somewhere – but at least it was outside.

And…true to his carrion-eating wolf ancestors…he’s as good as new, with a spring in his step again this morning.

I am vaguely hopeful he’ll put two and two together and think twice before raping and pillaging the kitchen again any time soon, but that dream is probably best filed under “hope over experience.”


Time will tell…


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Or maybe you’re just punishing me?

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Well, so much for my hunger…er…blog strike.

I thought I could wait you guys out and someone would deliver up a wildlife cam for our shared enjoyment…but no. Not quite.

Turns out you’re a far more hardened bunch than I realized. Guess I’d better bone up on my passive resistance techniques or try another approach. How does regret hit you?

Take a gander at the Dozer-based chaos that wasn’t caught on film. Exhibit A is this venture into a bag of vacuum cleaner-based garbage (almost entirely composed of black dirt and hair) in the pursuit of an empty Styrofoam container and what was probably an eggshell or papaya skin.

Malamute garbage eater



At least the vacuum cleaner was still nearby…

Malamute laughing

He almost looks like he's laughing.

Note the excessive amount of hair contained in the rifled through garbage. I have an endless problem with the furry beast, especially since summer (and occasional 90-degree days) have come. I brush him…really, I do…but it doesn’t seem to help. I suppose with dog grooming courses I could make some real traction, but I already have far too many “careers” and irons in the fire to start down that road.

Malamute garbage mess

He has no shame.

Or maybe you would have preferred to see him tear through these snacks?

And this doesn’t even include the two croissants, loaf of bread, bag of uncooked Thai rice noodles, and god knows what else I cleaned up before I remembered to photograph it for you.

Nonetheless, the King is my boy, and food theft is the cost of doing business when you live with a Malamute. In fact, when he was a puppy I met a woman who told me she’d been reduced to keeping her trash can on top of her fridge.

Granted, not a proper crown, but I think he was pleased nonetheless.

In other news…there isn’t much other news.

I’m about to start writing a new book…but I think I’m going to put the venture up on Kickstart and see if someone (ahem) won’t help me make ends meet while I do so. I have – as I mentioned – about five side businesses, but I would honestly pare my life down to just writing fiction (and of course this blog, which by the way is now four years old. Happy Birthday, blog! Sorry I’m such a neglectful parent. Thank god you don’t need food or you’d be dead.) if I could.

However, until that day comes, I’ll just continue freelance writing, giving hypnotherapy sessions, running workshops, helping out a local caterer, renting out my guest room to complete and total strangers (this is the first thing that’s going away as soon as I can swing it. Even though most everyone has been lovely, I really rather hate having other people in my house and having to fake like I’m thrilled they’re here. I would be a TERRIBLE bed and breakfast purveyor.) and selling drugs.

Just kidding on that last one, Mom and Dad. Selling drugs and having complete and total strangers sleep in your house don’t mix, so I went with the less dangerous (???) option.

Hot Malamute

This makes me laugh.


Alaskan Malamute in Maui

The King and I on our walk this morning.

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You’re really just punishing yourself

Monday, June 4th, 2012

You are.

But I think it’s time you put an end to that.


I need this.

BUY IT!!!! Just let the impulse take over and BUY IT NOW!!!

And it wouldn’t just be you who would benefit. I’m missing out a little bit too. I won’t lie: I’ve been sad about that, but I’m ready to move on. Just imagine the fun we’ll have:  the laughs we would share, the stories we could tell, and the endless parade of blog fodder provided if only one of you would buy me the Primos Truth Cam 35 Camera.

No. I’m not getting into hunting nor do I think my neighbors are up to no good (well, they are, but I don’t need a camera to tell me that).

No, the intended target of my truth telling is my dog, Dozer.

In the last month he has realized (figured out?) that crunchy or crinkly bags or wrappers - although entirely sealed – contain good stuff. As a result of that epiphany, he has eaten several candy bars, an entire bag of egg noodles, and even a bag of salad.

Do you really think you could live with yourself knowing that you missed out on the footage the day he figures out how to use a can opener?

Using baby gates to keep a dog out of a kitchen.

The next step is armed guards.

I didn’t think so.

And even though I’ve had to install a heavy duty baby gate around my kitchen (you read that right…unfortunately) that still doesn’t mean he can’t stand up on the counter nearest the dining room and pilfer all the items just listed. He can. He has. He will again…of this I have no doubt.

So come on!

Throw a dog a bone and a blogger a spy cam and help yourself out: there ain’t nothing funnier than a Malamute gorging himself on stolen people food while he thinks he’s all alone. Or at least that’s my assumption. I wouldn’t know as I have yet to see it myself.

You can change that.

And you can prevent forest fires.

Yes, you can!

Malamute begging

He only looks innocent.

So what are you waiting for? That’s right. Click on the link from the wishlist there on the right, pull out your credit card, and send the Primos Truth Cam 35 Camera to Kihei.


I’m not above taking an Ambien and putting the camera in my own room if it gets one of you to pull the spy cam trigger. Legend has it I look out the windows and say things like “They’re here.” Could be interesting stuff!

But we’ll never know unless you buy the spy cam, now, will we?

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It’s a dog’s life

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

It’s a slippery slope.
I chose to err on the side of love.

Let’s consider the circumstances:
1) he is a “snow dog”
2) I am his sole caregiver
3) I hate snow
4) He eats Blue Buffalo Salmon flavor – look it up – and has been (and will be) catered to all his life.

And yet people occasionally guilt me – or try to. Guilt requires an opt-in to work – that he’s “suffering” here in Maui.
Perhaps he is.
I hope not.
I love him like a bad habit.


Exhibit A


Exhibit B



Need I state the obvious?


I rest my case.

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