by Robyn Justo — After the rat invasion in Aptos, I was breathing a sigh of relief. I found an adorable little hobbit cottage in Pacific Grove and was enjoying my critter-less existence. Sure, most of my taller friends had to duck to get in the door, but my new place was cute as heck and oh so conveniently located to at least five coffee houses and more restaurants within waddling distance than a girl could imagine.
Then one day after about a month I started having headaches. Then I started to sneeze uncontrollably. I thought nothing of it until the day of my colonoscopy (one of the less pleasant procedures suggested as we get older.)
I was looking for a small purse in my closet because they advise not taking much into the clinic, but I needed something to hold my keys (if I could remember where I lived after the fentanyl), ID (in case I died or blew up), and maybe my cell phone (in case I changed my mind and needed to call someone for a quick escape before they dosed me).
I swear I could hear maniacal, high pitched giggles from beyond as I moved aside some clothes in my little hobbit closet, not to find the tiny bag I was looking for but instead to find the walls spotted with big mold. Surprise, surprise!! Not good, but it explained the headaches and the sneezing.
“Hee hee, ha ha!!” the voices squealed. Where were they coming from? I had an idea.
I texted my landlady and she called the moldbusters and an inspector came out almost immediately and soon my little sanctuary was invaded (about an hour before my body would be) and it looked like a CSI crime scene. Machines and measuring devices were moved both within and without of my place. I was told that the results would be back in a few days. It was right before the Christmas holiday so I had the feeling that it would take longer and it did, so I lived in stacks of plastic tubs, with a noisy dehumidifier as an unwelcome roommate.
The results were not good. Two guys came out and inspected the place and remediation was definitely needed. Now where would one hide in a 300 square foot hobbit house with men moving in and out with sanding machines and paint and plastic and tape? I could hear the sound of little rodent hands rubbing together in sheer delight.
The owners were more than gracious and let me out of my lease and paid for damaged clothes and other items, yet again I was a boll weevil looking for a new home after less than two months. Little rat faces were smiling somewhere, happy that I was experiencing what they did after I disassembled their carefully constructed, green, fuzzy home under the hood of my car.
“WHO’S your Ratty??” Revenge, restitution, karma, dogma, catma, ratma. What goes around comes around. We’ve all heard it.
I had to call my last landlady (from the place where the rats ate my car) for a reference to use as I was skittering around in a mad search for a warm new nest and she told me that she had moved. She also said that in the middle of the night a rat who had been living in her wall actually came through and was IN her closet! She felt it might be karma because of what had happened to me when I lived at her place. Pay it forward.
I landed in another new place not too far from the old one, but I sleep lightly now, listening carefully for strange noises and vengeful squeaking as I obsessively search for signs of mold.
Are we even now? Hope so.