This is a story that has nothing at all to do with Kokoda, or training, or diets. However it has become somewhat of an obsession over the last week and therefore I shall share it with you regardless. On the grounds that misery loves company (and if I pass away through sleep deprivation, then at least there'll be some evidence of the cause). See, it all started when I was clearing out D1 (daughter number one)'s room for D2 (daughter number two) to move into, and my foot went through the floorboards. This wasn't such a big deal as it sounds because I was well aware the floor needed replacing. However that night [insert creepy music], the size eight-and-a-half-but-sometimes-nine hole transformed itself into an Amityville-horror-style Gates Of Hell (hereafter to be known as GOH for short). I was woken by a loud gnawing noise, closely followed by footsteps and then a shrill scream. Apparently D2 had gone to investigate (hardy soul that she is), and a mouse had run over her foot in the darkness. Anyway we laughed about it merrily (blissfully unaware that laughter would soon become a thing of the past...), and I said I'd set some traps the next day. Then we went back to bed. An hour or so later I woke to something crawling heavy-footed up my neck (I kid you not) - and leapt out of bed so fast the room span. The mouse probably (although this is by no means certain) got as big a shock as me and was long gone, while I spent the rest of the night drinking coffee, scratching at my neck and shuddering uncontrollably every so often. I sort of looked like a rather unstable recovering drug addict.
The next day I discovered a large section of gnawed wood at the bottom of the closed door to the room with the GOH, so I figured that the mouse must have become trapped in the house and been trying vainly to return to the nether regions (aka Hell). This hypothesis was confirmed by the fact the dog (who, despite all visual evidence to the contrary, rather fancies herself as D3) carried on for quite a bit, trying to get beneath my bed, before giving up and curling on top for a nap. Yes, it seems the bloody mouse was still there, underneath. I immediately sprung into action (all that coffee helped) and locked the dog away before setting a multitude of mouse-traps around my bed, down the passage and, leaving the door now open, around the GOH.
That evening mouse-traps went off periodically (which did nothing for my frayed nerves), but no mouse was captured. So that night, and the same for the next three, I set fresh traps (not my favourite, or most skilful, activity) and then closed all the doors before going to bed. And each time, in the early hours of the morning [insert even creepier music], I woke to the sounds of loud gnawing, scratching, gouging. Which only ceased when I opened the doors just a little to allow easy egress to the GOH (actually I stand at a distance and prod the doors open with a walking pole and then race back up the passage to my bedroom while making oddly high-pitched whimpering noises). And each morning I have found fresh gouges in all the (previously smooth polished walnut) doors at the far end of the house, plus - now - patches of crimson carpet having been devoured around them (FYI that's not blood, the carpet was already crimson - I like colour). The traps are either set off, but empty, or just ignored. The poison I've left out has also been rejected (meaning the mouse is either clever, or just fussy). And I have averaged about three hours sleep a night.
Now this story would already have a fair degree of 'yuck factor' about it - except further investigation this morning revealed a scattering of clues - each one considerably larger than what one would expect of a mouse (unless said mouse has serious bowel issues). Those, plus the mega-amount of damage done to the (closed) bifold doors have led me to only one conclusion. That's right, remove the word 'mouse' from the previous story and substitute [insert really, really, really creepy music] - 'rat'. Which sends the yuck factor skyrocketing into the stratosphere - and I'm not even going to think about the whole crawling-up-my-neck thing. Yes, it seems I have a psychotic rat wandering my house each night and losing his temper with the woodwork whenever the doors are left closed. It's like being married again.
No wonder the traps weren't successful. He was probably chortling at my ignorance each night as he set them off with a twig and then snacked on the peanut butter as an entree for my woodwork. But at least D2 has stopped saying things like 'oh, but mice are so cute' - and she's also taken to sleeping with the dog in her room which, judging on the dog's performance thus far, isn't going to be much protection anyway. But at least she's sleeping - which is more than I can say for me.
But tonight, ah yes, the tables shall be turned. I have just purchased ultra-strong, super-over-the-top rat poison and tonight the bastard dies. I may poison the totally useless dog and cat while I'm at it. I could just put something heavy over the GOH but I've seen enough horror movies to know that's not the answer. And in the case of this particular fiend, he'll (that's right, he's a 'he' - I'm sure of it) probably just break a window. Or ring the door-bell (and get a key cut). So it's war. And I have every intention of winning - just as long as I can stay awake.