Our first Thanksgiving
Happy Holidays! We are hoping to spend this month highlighting our friends stories… We would LOVE for you to guest blog! To get the ball rolling, I have a memory of a horrific holiday memory:
The Preface, from 2009 Thanksgiving:
We were lucky enough to have a nature preserve between us and the ocean. We thought it was fantastic. However; our neighbors and I would sometimes get critters (mice, possums) in our backyards. I figured, no big deal! When Mike and I moved in, our sliding glass dog door was a bit small, so we decided to keep the door in the foyer open for the dogs to meander in and out at their leisure. It worked quite well until a chilly storm. On Mike’s birthday, we kept all of the downstairs doors open, since we had a little birthday party and we thought it worked out well…..
Sunday evening, after everyone had left, Mike had a hangover to rival an army, and I brought him downstairs to make my famous “hangover remedy soup”. He was on the couch, and I was in the kitchen. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw our maltese Bianca run across the tile…. Except, Bianca was on the couch- A new furry face friend had decided to join our family, and it was definitely not a maltese. A Rat. Not a cute little field mouse, but a very large rat running across my kitchen floor. Then, it jumped into, what seemed at the time, oblivion. I squeeled for Mike and explained what had just happened. Obviously, he thought I was crazy. How could a rat disappear into our kitchen cabinets when there aren’t any holes? Upon convincing him, he grudgingly investigated and sure enough, there was a hole, underneath the kichen cabinet.
Still not convinced, Mike assured me it was my imagination. About 20 minutes later, on the other side of the kitchen, the scratching began. It didn’t stop. Mike realized I hadn’t lost my mind, and that we had a rat in our kitchen wall, in between the cabinets and the outer wall. We couldn’t do much about it on a Sunday evening so my brilliant plan was to plug up the hole until the following day. However, I didn’t want our rat to get out, so I decided drenching a sponge in bleach to plug up the hole would surely divert even the most overzealous rodent. We put my bleach filled sponge in the hole, and placed a magazine and brick below it to ensure it didn’t peruse the kitchen.
The next day, Mike and I went to Home Depot, bought a trap, and placed it at the hole for the evening. However, when Mike went to get the sponge to free the hole, it was in pieces and the magazine had claw marks. Apparently the rat was not deterred by the bleach.
The next morning, we wake up, and sure enough, no rat. I quickly realized the rat had died in our wall a painful, bleach filled death. Horrible. In hindsight, I should have left the hole open so he could possibly escape outside. Oh well, lesson learned and we were rat free. However a few days later, the smell came… a wretched, dead animal smell. Disgusting, I know. So again, Mike and I went to Home Depot, and decided on the “foam hole filler”. Mike filled in the hole and thankfully, the smell disappeared! We decided, rats die in walls fairly often, and it would decompose and not be too much of a problem. However, a week later, I started smelling stench of dead animal. Turns out, the little guy died in the wall between the stove and the sink. What to do? There were a ton of ventilation holes in the area, so Mike and I figured a candle and a quick trip out of town would, for the most part, get rid of the scent. When we came home, the scent was gone! Whew! On Monday and Tuesday, we would have Mike’s family arriving for the first time. This was my first Thanksgiving hosting, and I was nervous.
Mike’s family was in town, and had been for a few days. Everything was going great, and Thanksgiving dinner preperations were going well. We decided to take his family to dinner the night before, and on our way out, I stopped to check the kitchen. Our cattle dog, Elway has a tendency to jump on the counters and eat anything we leave out, so he has trained me to keep the counter tops clean. The oddest thing, on my counter top, in between the stove and sink, was a worm. A little worm, what most people would consider a maggot. ODD. Peplexed, but I reasoned we had a lot of people in town, perhaps someone brought in bad veggies, who knows? I disregarded the tiny invador, bleached my counter and moved on with our evening. When we get home, we were sitting in the kitchen, and my father in law and Mike noticed more worms in the same place. They decide I might freak out, so didn’t mention it to me…..
In the morning, Mike went downstairs to make everyone coffee. I readied myself for the day, and came downstairs a bit later. When I came into the kitchen, my family was acting odd, and hovering in the corner.everyone is acting odd, and hovering in the same corner…. I asked what was going on, and after enough prodding…. I get the truth. The truth any woman hosting her first Thanksgiving would never want to hear. Maggots are falling, in mass, from the area in between the cupboard, onto the countertop, through the cracks.
Apparently, the rat decided to die in the wall, and by some horrific scientific anomaly, a fly got in… and laid eggs. A lot of them. And on Thanksgiving morning, maggots are dropping on my countertop.
I freaked out. Not a little, a lot. My brother in law and his fiancé are nature kids, and started telling me how odd it is, and go into the scientific details. I did not share the sentiments. I went upstairs, and puked. And then I left. I took some anxiety medicine, and I got the hell out of dodge with Elway. I walked for a long time with Elway trying to figure out when I should come home. Once the sedative kickend in,I went home. Bless my Father in Law, he decided to deal with it and he went through the areas in the kitchen, locating the areas they were falling. There wasn’t open pest services to call on Thanksgiving so he and Mike did what any problem solver would do. They bought duct tape. A lot of it. The two of them duct taped the majority of the kitchen corner,And sealed up every small opening. Apparently, Mike and my father in law figured it out the night before, and used the foam filler to close up the problematic spots. They were hoping to spare me the trauma, and assumed all would be fixed by the morning. Are you ready for this? Maggots don’t mind the foam and were dropping through it. Vomit. Luckily, duct tape is not penetratable, and the magots could not get through.
Cathy, my step mother in law, took me outside, gave me a pep talk, and explained we needed to make pie crust.
From that moment, my father in law (Poppa Tom) tirelessly patrolled the kitchen. I will never forget Poppa Tom’s dilegence, and protective nature of his new daughter in law. I will be forever grateful. We did Thanksgiving. Everything we had planned. And not one more maggot fell to my knowledge.
The crazy part? Thanksgivings dinner was actually amazing…… who would have known? I owe it all to Cathy,who was ready to help, and to Poppa Tom, who teamed up with Mike to shield me from the nastiness.