Two years ago, my family and I visited my parents in Reno for Christmas, and when we returned, our kitchen was flooded. Apparently rats had snuck into the house in our absence and chewed through the water line to the fridge– the water line I’d been wanting installed for seven years and that was finally put in maybe a month prior.
Later, I ran the dishwasher, and that also flooded the kitchen because the rats had eaten through that tubing as well.
Some rats sew dresses, clean houses, and cook gourmet meals. Ours destroyed our home.
The thing is that we thought we were being so clever when we left. We cleaned relentlessly and packaged away all the food. “Ha!” we thought. “We didn’t leave those rats anything! They’ll be desperate for water!” Turns out we were right.
One of my seven-year-old students, after hearing the story, commented, “You should really put in metal water lines instead of plastic.”
Isn’t he smart. Except that I know way more important things like how to divide decimals and write a cursive “z.” Sometimes I wonder how that boy’s going to make it in the real world.
A restoration company came in and put industrial fans all over the house. This in between time when we didn’t yet know what was going to happen was the worst. Power cords ran all over the floor, there was a constant whirring background noise, and all of us turned into reptiles with dry, flaky skin. The restoration company told us that they had to cut into the floors and walls to properly dry everything out because there might be mold growing under the house. They told us we would have to move out for six months.
We often asked if there was evidence of mold, but they could never verify this. They just told us to get out.
They were probably right. But I couldn’t help wondering, how bad is it to live in mold, really? (They said it was bad. Really.)
I think a lot of my doubts could have been solved if they’d just lied to me and said, “Yes! There’s mold! Everywhere! You will probably die from it in six months unless you move out.”
Then I could have felt really good about moving out and not dying.
Things got better. Our insurance company came through and paid for the bulk of the expenses, including six months in a rental in Vallejo. Our Vallejo house was much bigger. It had an extra bathroom and bedroom, including a master suite. In the evenings, two people could be in separate bathrooms and shower at—get this—the same time. Then, when Andy and I wanted to watch a movie while the kids napped, the house was large enough that the kids couldn’t hear us. We’d always wondered if we’d like a bigger house, and it turns out we would. For a while, we were sure we should move.
But then we moved back to our updated, rat free home, and we changed our minds. We got to choose everything for the remodel, so we love it. If we bought a bigger house, there’s no way it would be remodeled in just the way we want. Then we’d have to release a rat to chew through the water line and damage it again. Seems like a lot of trouble.