For the past few days, I have been in New Orleans at a conference for my work. I’ve had a great time, although I miss Jon and the kids a lot. Until yesterday afternoon, I was really looking forward to heading back home, but then Jon let me in on some new information that has me kind of dreading leaving the relatively safe confines of my hotel room and being back inside our house in Knoxville.
I’ve written before about how much I love our giant, half-unfinished Victorian house. While the official square footage on our house is somewhere between 3500 and 4,000 square feet, that doesn’t include the full-house-size brick cellar or the mud porch on the back. I have sometimes said that our house is so big, and so full of still-unfinished spaces, nooks, crannies and levels that an extra family could be living with us and I might never notice. As it turns out, that’s apparently the case.
Behold, a possum. In. Our. House.
This is the photo that Jon emailed me while I was in a meeting yesterday, with the cryptic subject line – “Not Rats.” Before I left to go out of town, we both thought that we might have a rat. We’d heard something scratching around in the plastic shower surround in our one functional full bathroom, and Jon thought he caught a flash of a tail when he peeked back there. We agreed to call an exterminator this week.
Rats are gross, and I definitely was not happy at the idea of the rat, but I wasn’t that worried about it. At one time, we did seem to have a rat/mouse problem, but we made some changes (sealed up dog food in plastic boxes, etc) and the vermin were driven out.
We also have two cats, Mingus and Moses, and since that rat/mouse issue arose a few years back, the cats now divide their time equally between indoors and outside, so I figure that they mostly keep rats and mice at bay in the house. In the past two years, I haven’t seen any evidence of a full-scale rat infestation, but I do recognize that in a house that big and that convoluted and that old, we are going to have the occasional rat or mouse somewhere inside. I trusted that Jon would track the shower-rat down, and give him his walking papers.
Well, I am not entirely sure yet how Jon figured out that we have LIVE POSSUMS in the house, instead of one rat, but he did. Moreover, he even managed to capture a photo of one of the possum offspring, peeking out from behind our dryer – the photo above. He says the possum was small enough that it has to be a young one, meaning that it almost certainly has possum parents and siblings elsewhere in our house. And now I am totally and completely freaked out.
I Googled “possums” after Jon sent me this photo, and I discovered that many people find possums cute. Some even keep them as pets.
Possums are creepy. They are like giant, ugly rats, if rats were crossed with pangolins or armadillos. Apparently, possums can also be aggressive, carry diseases, and they will die and rot inside your walls and roof. And they are BIG animals. The possums living inside Casa HickJu are likely as big or bigger than our cats, so I assume the cats pose no threat to them.
I will be back home later today, and the very first thing I am going to want to discuss with my husband is The Possum Issue. I had nightmares last night that possums were gnawing off my lips while I slept, and I don’t know if I will be able to sleep at all when I am not in a hotel bed but instead in our own bed.
Have you ever had possums in your house? What did you do to get rid of them? Will possums gnaw someone’s lips off while they sleep, especially if that specific someone has expressed her hatred of possums in, say, a blog? Are possums vindictive that way? They definitely look like they are the type to hold a grudge.
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