Friday, July 11, 2008


I work in a winery warehouse and for five years now I have to deal with all sorts of creatures. One of the first things I did for the company was set up with The Hitman pest control to come out once a month and spray down the building. We had every insect you could imagine coming in and making a home here. We are right on the river and there are many access areas that make it possible for them to crawl in. I still get some spiders, bees, moths, silverbugs and the occasional potato bug and I have to deal with it... only a few times I've had to call one of the guys over to take care of something really bad.

I've almost stepped on a snake at the outside front door and I've known that I've had a few rats in here over the years. (and I still wear flip flops!) About 3 years ago I had a smaller rat, maybe a mouse? in here for a few weeks before it was caught... it left droppings on all the counter tops in the kitchen which made for a lovely job of disinfecting the kitchen everyday.

Last week I noticed rat traps in our building next door... big rat traps...

Last Saturday morning when I came in I saw that there were rat droppings all over the garbage bin... great they were getting in here again. I also noticed dirty scratches on the corner of the counter top where they were scrambling to get up and then foot prints all over the counter tops in the kitchen. I mentioned it to my boss the next time I saw him and he said that The Hitman would be putting rat traps all around the outside of the building to help prevent them from getting in here in the first place. It's been really hot here, in the 100's so they are coming in here to cool off and look for things to eat.

When I came back to work on Wednesday, Cole and Guy were here working and I happened to be talking to Guy from upstairs in my office down to him in the tasting room, so I was looking over the edge of the office and out of the corner of my eye I saw a flash of a large brown rat running underneath our barrel racks in the back of the winery. I said "Oh, shit! there's the rat." so Guy walked around to look and we both saw it run for cover underneath the pallets in the corner.

He told me that they would set up a trap for it. Cole confirmed later that he did put a trap in the back corner so not to go back there if I didn't want to see a dead rat. They had caught the one next door the day before.

I came in yesterday and asked Cole if the rat was caught... he said no and sure enough I found the counter tops dirty again. Not really thinking much about the rat(s) when cleaning up last night I threw away the left over bread and olive oil into the garbage bin and left. This garbage can I bought for the tasting room was $160.00... and it was so worth it because it looked nice and the top kept shut really tight. Well Kevin, our handyman, accidentally broke it one day so the top stays ajar just a bit... just enough for a rat to climb into it.

This morning I came in to see that the rat(s) got in the garbage and tore it all apart. The lining of the plastic bag was ripped to shreds and after poking the garbage can with my foot to make sure they still weren't in there I opened the top and found that ALL the bread was gone. They really got a nice treat because there was olive oil, high quality at that, poured over the bread. Those little fuckers ate a LOT! Which makes me think that there's more than one rat in here. I made my way around the tasting bar and around the corner and I stop short because half of the walls insulation on the back wall was ripped out. WTF?

Seriously I'm stunned, how the hell did that happen? The insulation was hanging, part of it still attached to the wall, down all over the stairs to my office. I literally had to crawl up the stairs underneath the insulation into my office. I grabbed some scissors and cut away the attached part and thew everything up over the stairwell down to the ground. I then carefully dragged it all away from a air-conditioning fan on the floor into the back of the winery.

So I'm thinking about what to do with it because I can't leave it there and have the rats nesting in it and then I think shit, that's probably how it all fell out, they were trying to next in it up in the wall. These rats must be huge! They are the giant rats in "The Princess Bride" that Westley had to wrestle with.

Anyway I decided to call Guy even though I know he's up in Tahoe. His cell phone just rings and rings and then goes into voice mail... I leave a message. (And he still hasn't called me back and that was 2 hours ago! He better be bike riding or something) And Cole, who would have been here today, left for a weekend trip up north last night. I'm here all alone.

It's to big to put in the garbage bins outside, I can't leave it all outside and I can't leave it in the building next door either. So I'm just sitting here thinking of a solution and I remember that our recycling dumpster was just emptied out yesterday. So I go down to the hardware store to get some heavy duty gloves.

As I'm standing in the isle looking at all the gloves trying to figure out the best gloves for removing rat infested insulation I notice that there is not one pair of heavy duty gloves in women sizes. On the right side there are a few "dainty" gardening gloves for women but nothing else. Sexist!

Anyway I found a pair that I thought could handle the job and I go pay for them. As I was leaving the guy who checked me out said "nice gloves". I just wonder what the fuck he thought I was going to do with these heavy duty man gloves.

When I got back to the winery I got ready for the job, I put on the gloves and grabbed a broom. I used the broom to poke at the pieces before I picked them up to make sure there weren't any rats in there. Piece by piece I dragged it all out to the dumpster and threw it all in... I had to make 5 trips. Once that was done, still wearing my gloves, I took care of the inside garbage bin situation.

So now I don't know what's next... I'll probably find them making babies up here in my office tomorrow.

1 comment:

Annie said...

ohnno no! I can't believe you had to deal with that yourself! I'm terrified of creepy-crawlies and rats are the worst. Something about the way they move.

And GROSS! Yes, they were probably trying to nest in the walls, ew!

I should blog about my creepy crawly stories; we live not far from that creek, as you know and the cats are constantly dragging things in here for us to "share" with them. Or something wild just comes in through the cat door shudders.

too funny about the gloves! So sorry you had to do all that on your own.