A Check-In, with a Two Plagues Return and our New BFF

Hey… you!

(This is the awkward bit where it’s been so long since we’ve seen each other, we have to dance around whether we really remember each other’s names.)

I know it’s been a long time, but I’ve got some cool stuff coming up, so I wanted to drop in and say hey. Just a quick check-in, so here are some long-time-no-see conversational FAQs.

🌧️ How’s the weather? 🏔️ (That’s what everyone with snow wants to know.)

A hot and dry January that left everyone’s water catchment tanks parched has transitioned into a wetter and cooler February. How cool? Our neighborhood can drop to upper 50s (°F) at night, but I’ve seen 40s at higher elevations. And of course, it can snow on the mountains almost anytime. 

🌋 What volcano is erupting now? 🌋 None—just hush your mouth.

We had a close call with Kīlauea in late January—lots of earthquakes and general seismic stretching put us into an Advisory/Orange level for about a week. We nearly ran out of cold drip coffee. 😱 Who wants to have the contraption stacked and soaking for 24 hours, much less balance it atop a glass pitcher for a few more to drain? Not me! 😂 I kept imagining broken glass and thick-as-oil, French Market chicory coffee concentrate all over the kitchen floor.

Things settled down (ha, ha) until we were jounced by a 5.7 earthquake (Richter magnitude) a couple of weeks ago. You probably didn’t hear about it because it was not eruption-unrelated, and because California had a 4.6 the same day. I was doing my own version of Hellraiser, full of needles on an acupuncture table when it hit, so that was fun. 😳

I’m exaggerating! 🫣 Only a few of the needles were in my head; please don’t get heebie-jeebied out.

And more importantly, I was not making cold drip coffee.

What creature is bugging you now?

Funny you should ask…

You know how last year about this time my husband had Covid while we were completely overrun by rats? (Two Plagues Upon Our House has all the gory details.) Yeah, I blocked it out, too. That is, until the end of January when my husband tested positive for Covid again. Thankfully, it was a mild case this time. But I do think that double line acted as a summoning… You know where I’m going with this right? 

The rats are back.

Just a little one at first—a rouse we call them, falling somewhere between mouse and rat. Having learned our lessons last year, we quickly threw every bit of plastic- or cardboard-packaged food into a chest cooler. What didn’t fit went into big pots with lids! And out came the ginormous metal cage rat trap and its cardboard sleeve at the ready, once again reducing our kitchen to a single traffic lane at night.

Photo of sprung mouse trap on the floor and rat footprints

(See Two Plagues for an explanation of our Puna-style engineering.)

For the rest of the week, they ate our peanut butter bait every night and left something that was not a thank you mint on our counter.

The Hubs picked up a smaller regular mouse trap, not the snapping, cartoon kind but a little box with a passage and tilting/trapping floor. Still no luck.

Then a few nights ago, my husband’s eyes suddenly went big while we were watching TV. “That is a rat!” he exclaimed, as he witnessed the not-so-little asshole shove the ribbed closure strip from beneath the roof to enter as though it were a nightclub door. 🪩 🕺

I missed it, which is why I slept at all that night. Unlike the next night, when the furry little f-ers made me bolt upright in bed multiple times, sure they were crawling on our headboard (not really possible) rather than just in the ceiling space directly overhead.

The rodents were mildly crazy-making over the weekend, with some rustling and signs but no devastating destruction. We continue to live out of coolers and pots in the kitchen while we wait for the next weapon in our territory-regaining arsenal: an intermediate-sized trap Hubs ordered online. (Couldn’t find any locally.)

So what else is keeping us busy when we’re not hunting rats? Phrased differently, what creature is not bugging us now? (Mostly.)

You may also recall that during the pandemic we lost Fred and Ninja Kitty, the last of our once-mighty pack (along with Fritz and Travis).

This is Sadie.

She showed up on our doorstep (literally) at the end of last year and she is mostly not bugging us, being 80% Angel and 20% Demon. (The ratio varies from day to day and moment to moment.) That’s because we’re spending a lot of time training.

I look forward to sharing our future adventures with you. If you need a dose of occasionally terror-inducing cuteness before then, I post pics and videos on Instagram semi-regularly. 🤔

Okay, so that’s my quick check-in.

Take care, y’all, and watch this space! Seriously. Multiple cool things this week.