Tue 8 Jan 2008
The saga continues…
In the last post I mentioned that replacing the linoleum in the bathroom snowballed into replacing the vanity and sink too. Well, it was because of that squirrel I found decaying in the corner. As I pulled the floor tiles out from under the vanity, I found a bunch of dog food that’s been disappearing from the dog bowls while I’m at work during the day. A mouse was squirreling it away under the vanity. Great. That meant he was getting in from behind the vanity. So, I unhooked the sink so I could pull the vanity away from the wall and look for anything fishy. Found a big hole chewed through the drywall. Grrr! When I pulled the vanity out, it literally started falling apart. The glue was dried out. Threw that puppy out on the burn pile and headed into Lowe’s for a replacement.
So, I figured the mouse mystery was solved. I’d found the hole, patched it, and that was the end of it.
Let’s back up a month or so ago when some friends were helping me with the house. They decided to throw something in the oven to warm it up quick. I wasn’t there but heard about it later. Apparently, there was a pretty bad smell coming from the oven. They turned it off and adamantly refused to clean the slightly crusty inside of the oven. No problem. I’d get to it later.
Later came last weekend. I tackled the oven which wasn’t all that bad. Looked like the former owner made a bunch of pizzas and let the cheese drip down. Nothing major. Cleaned the oven out and was all set to bake some bread and cookies over the weekend. Preheated the oven for the cookies. A couple minutes later a putrid stench filled the house. Ugh!!! Turned it off quickly. That smell was more than just the oven cleaner burning off! It smelled like dog-pee stained carpet being roasted.
Irene came down on Saturday afternoon to give me a hand with the oven. She cleaned the inside out again with soapy water this time. We slid it front and she cleaned behind it and noticed a hole chewed through the drywall. At this point, I knew what was coming but wasn’t sure how bad it would be. I patched up the hole and we continued with the stove. It was all clean so we turned it on. A few minutes later, the smell started and we noticed smoke rising from the back of the stove. Turned the stove off, unplugged it and unscrewed the back. Low and behold, there were 4 little feet sticking up in the air in the bottom of the back of the stove. Ugh. I stood there staring at it. Then I looked at Irene. Then back it. This was no tiny mouse. This was a rat! I don’t know what was going through Irene’s mind but I was thinking about how I was going to get that mostly-decayed-stuck-to-the-metal-been-there-for-a-long-time rat out of there without gagging and making a fool of myself in front of Irene. At that point, Irene nonchalantly turned around, pulled a couple of paper towels off the roll and bent down and pried the rat up. Then she proceeded to scrape the rest of him up with a putty knife and then cleaned off the metal back of the stove. All while I was standing there trying not to gag.
Then I noticed the little hole near the top on the back of the oven where you could see some of the insulation sticking out. It had a nice round hole in the insulation. Lovely. We lifted up the oven top and looked down in the sides. Sure enough this rat had been throughout the insulation. There were droppings (large, not little!) clearly visible. And it smelled like pee. That would account for the pee-stained carpet smell.
So I’ve been oven shopping in the classifieds, on Ebay, and on Craigslist. Looks like I found a brand new convection oven for a great price on Craigslist. I’ve been emailing back and forth with the guy this evening. I’ll hopefully have a stink-free oven come Saturday.
Hopefully, I’ve found all the dead animals that have decayed in the place over the past years. I don’t ever want to find another rodent – dead or alive – so I replaced the screens on all the windows into the crawl space and sealed up a couple little holes on Sunday.
Thank you Irene for (as the runners put it this morning) doing what only a mother could do and cleaning up the mess!