June 25th, 2007


"It was not me! They must know it was not me! It was the rats--the rats in the walls!"

There's something alive in the crawlspace over my bedroom. Possibly multiple somethings.

Around one 'o clock in the morning, when Ben and I have retired to bed, and he is draped across my torso, having twitchy-pawed cat dreams, this something starts moving directly overhead. And I mean directly. It sounds like something with claws is climbing down the wall six inches from my head.

When this happens, Ben jerks awake (much to the detriment of any patch of flesh under his paws) and stares upward at the ceiling, while the scuffling, scurrying, occasionally thumping noise goes on overhead.

I can think of three possible suspects. Squirrels definitely hang out on the roof here--it's not a surprise that they might build a dray inside the building, or whatever. On the other hand, squirrels are largely diurnal, and this critter does a definite tapdance in the small hours of the night. Woken up and scuffling around? Maybe. There was a heavy rainstorm last night, and the creature in the crawlspace was moving quite a bit, so it's possible that they're just light sleepers.

Rats, in any large human habitation, are pretty likely. (You know you're old when you go to Disneyland and find yourself wonder how they're controlling the rat population so efficiently behind the scenes.) Thing is, I haven't seen any little ratty calling cards scattered anywhere inside, and whatever it is sounds...heavy. I mean, an adult male rat can get pretty hefty, certainly, but while I could just about accept a klutzy squirrel thunking around, my experience with rats (Dad used to breed 'em) is that it'd have to be one heckuva rat. The skritchy scratchy noises, okay, that could easily be a rat, but the thumps, the scrabbling footsteps...it'd have to be a giant among ratkind. El Gordo.*

Or the crawlspace could be set up in such a way as to amplify the sound. I can't discount that completely. Whatever it is, it's literally on the other side of the ceiling, and I generally am listening at night, so it's possible that it sounds bigger than it is. Still, the lack of any signs of ratty habitation puzzles me on that front.

My third guess is possum. It'd be an acrobatic feat, but wild animals seem to have an astonishing ability to squeeze themselves into tiny little holes that you'd swear they can't get in. I've mostly had experience with possums living under the house, but they can climb, so I can't rule out that somehow a possum found an overhanging tree and an entrance and has chosen to hole up directly over my head. It'd explain the timing and the apparent size of the thumping, I just don't know how likely it is.

Unlike Ben, I am, in all honesty, not all that bothered by the presence of this creature--it's not like I'm ever going to get into the crawlspace, and where I'd feel obligated to roust the beast in my own home, it's rather less of a priority in apartment living (although I really should mention it to maintenance in the interests of civic duty.) I'm more curious! What IS that thing? I want to know what I'm hearing!

Of course, I suppose I can't rule out roof ninjas...

*Which reminds me of a funny story about the days when my Dad bred rats...remind me sometime.

(no subject)

Bopped over to DA. Saw the sheep on the front page. It already sold last night, even at the inflated pre-con price, and the comments are full of people asking "But what happens next!? Does he get home?"


I get the automatic kneejerk you-can't-do-that-just-because-its-popular twinge from the back of my brain, but the sheep may need a sequel...

(no subject)

So the tentative move date is looking like the last week of August, and it's off to San Jose.

My roommate, the esteemable Carlota, thinks she'll want to stay in San Jose for a year. Then she had various plans and whatnot, but she needs the year away from old surroundings and old memories--which is exactly what I need, god knows--to figure out exactly what to do. Sort of a cross between a sabbatical and life rebuild for both of us.

Since I can only afford San Jose under the heavy subsidy she's offering, I suspect I'll only spend a year there myself. And that's really okay by me. A year is a good chunk of time, but not so long that I'll need to bring every last scrap of schtuff that I own with me. Much of the art, many of the books, things like vases and bookends and...oh...duck decoys and stuffed wombats and what not, I'll box up and stash in her storage unit for the year. I can live a sort of minimalist lifestyle for a year, which will probably be good for me (my lifestyle tending more towards the baroque, possibly even roccoco, under normal circumstances.) I'll bring a few things that make it really home--part of my mask collection, a couple of paintings, my stepfather's oversized mosaic fish sculpture--but mostly it'll be Neccessary Stuff, like art supplies, CDs, Mr. Printy, and a fork.

Possibly even two forks, if I'm feeling decadent. (Or a spoon! But now we descend into madness...)

I'm thinking of just getting a trailer hitch for my Altima and renting a U-haul trailer. The price difference, even assuming the high end of the trailer hitch attachment, saves something like $1700 over truck or relocube prices. Since Carlota and I will be swapping off driving and taking our time, the annoyance of driving a trailer should be seriously offset by the savings. Carlota is a very, very good driver, and I err on the side of slow and methodical, so it should work out, particularly since nobody expects me to parallel park with a trailer. (Of course, the question is whether or not the Altima will TAKE a trailer well enough to satisfy U-haul's standards...I'll have to take it in and get it inspected. It would be a very slow trip, but we were planning on taking our time anyway.)

 If I'm not taking everything I own, I should have more than enough space--about all I need is the bed, really, (although I'd really like to bring my loveseat....we'll see, though, it's the largest thing I own, and even though I really really like it, it was only $400, and that's not enough money for me to submit to the Tyranny of Things...) and the rest of the furniture will all break down easily enough, or I'll just get rid of it.  I'll need to get a cheap desk and table when I'm out there, but that's easily enough accomplished, and I was long overdue for a new office chair. My bookcases are mostly cheap and disposable Target stuff anyway, and I am not too proud to use board and cinderblock construction if need be.

And after that...well, who knows? A year is a long time. I have a standing invite to come stay with my father in Phoenix, and I suspect I'll take him up on it. The only real problem I foresee is that at some point, I'll need to relocate my stuff from the storage unit in Raleigh out to wherever I wind up...there'll be art that I have no desire to lose...but hell, if worse comes to worse, I can always do another road trip, or even fork over the cash to have it all shipped.

I kind of like the idea of a year in San Jose. It doesn't seem as permanent and scary somehow. I don't have to look at all my stuff and go "What will I need FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE?" but the rather less unsettling "What do I need for the next year?" (I suspect the answer to both is "A lot less than I've got," but see above comments about minimalism. There's a reason the Packrat print keeps selling...)

I could even come back to Raleigh if I really, really wanted to, or if I find that certain business is not so finished as I might have believed. And while I have no intention of imposing on Dad's generosity for all that long, a month or two of scouting around should be enough to determine what city I want to live in--good 'ol Phoenix, or Tucson, or Santa Fe, those being the top three contenders, with Flagstaff running fourth--in the desert that I've always loved.

It's like being granted a little section out of time--a year where I don't have to decide What To Do WIth My Life Next, without feeling guilty about it.

And who knows? A year is a long time. Disney could buy the movie rights to Nurk six months from now, or I could convert to Mormonism and go do missionary work in Outer Mongolia, with Ben as my sherpa. Anything can happen.