The heating repairman was here last week. I was just noting his resemblance to actor Chris Cooper as he descended from the attic. Dryly, he remarked, "Ya got a rat problem up there." My head spun, as if I had just learned I had an STD or was a slatternly housekeeper. I heard the words, "feces," "urine," and I thought, oh drat! But I have lived in this bungalow for three years; the demands of homeownership cannot be postponed any longer.
So what friend will you ask about rat abatement problems? In one sense seeking referrals instantly unravels your filthy secret. Then again it may convey that you suspect someone else has experienced vermin---now there's an unsavory assumption. Instead I turned to the trusty Hometown Pasadena website because its concierge department lists plenty of specialties. There it was: Choice Pest Control of Sierra Madre, CA.
I made an appointment with Mr. Joel Pena. What a nice fellow! He has the reassuring, comforting smile of an obstetrician. He conducted a brief interview and then headed up to my cursed attic. Yes, old and new rat activity was evident. We walked about the exterior of the house and he pointed out three or four small permeable entries for rats. He said they love homes for shelter and comfort, just like humans do. He further mentioned that I shouldn't leave my house doors wide open on these lovely mild days, that quick crafty critters sidle in despite the presence of a dog.
After the estimate, I went whole hog for fourteen traps in the attic and basement. Mr. Pena will be back in a few days to seal the entries and check the traps. Trapping will continue for several weeks. Meantime, I am going to tend to my yard by disturbing leaf litter and trimming back growth. I can't let any corners remain dark, attractive nuisances. The days of benign neglect are officially over.