…there’s most likely a nest.

Or, at least a critter in the midst of making a nest.

Let’s back up a bit, shall we?

About a week ago, Hubs mentioned that while locking up the house for the night he heard some scritching and scratching in the garage; then he saw a large rat (like, over a foot long LARGE rat) traipse over some shelving we have and skittered out of the garage by squeezing himself under our storm door.

“Ew”, I thought. But rats are outdoor creatures and maybe it was a cold night and the poor thing needed a warm place to hide out until Spring comes. Whatever.

This morning, as we were buckling up the boys on our way out the door for church, D asked, “What’s that?” Next to L’s car seat was what looked like lint of some sort. “Oh, it’s just dirt,” I said, not really paying much attention. Then I looked at it and kind of thought, “That’s weird.” Hubs looked at that point and then I saw what looked like stuffing of some sort on the floor of the car below L’s seat.

“Huh…that was not there yesterday,” I said.

Hubs looked at me. I looked at the windows of our car, which happened to be about half-way down. Both of us got a little creeped out at that point and it was a pretty silent car ride to church as Hubs and I wondered if that LARGE rat had been nosing around in our car all night and where in the heck that stuffing had come from.

More “Ew” thoughts rolling around in my brain.

Once the boys were down for their rest time, I took off to do some errands while Hubs donned his best critter hunting gear and started up a ladder to see if he could find where that rat’s nest was, convinced that our garage was being used as a warm hiding place. I wasn’t so convinced since I had never heard anything scratching around and there weren’t any animal droppings that we’d seen – a sure sign (to me anyways) that a critter is amongst you!

When I got home, I saw our car sitting in the driveway, along with both car seats pulled out and the floor mats sitting on the driveway. Hubs was sweeping up the garage and as I was bringing my items into the house I asked “So, what’s the news?”

Hubs asked if I’d eaten yet, which I hadn’t. He said it was best that I get some lunch and then he’d let me in on what he found.

GREAT.

So while I’m eating my Costco pizza (which is undoubtedly the best deal for a piece of pizza around here), I’m envisioning a whole family of rats that have taken up lodging in the rafters of the garage. Babies – maybe he’d found a momma and her babies? I’m trying to think of the worst case scenario and all I can come up with is babies. Who knows, either way I enjoyed my pizza and the quiet of the house while Hubs continued cleaning up the garage floor.

I take a deep breath and head out to Hubs for the news. I ask if he found the critter in the rafters. Nope. First he takes me to one of our bookshelves where I had a firelog stashed and where I keep my extra cloth shopping bags. He showed me where some of the paper of the firelog had been nibbled on at the corner, but that he didn’t find any other signs of critter on that shelf.

Alrighty.

Next he took me over to the car seats, specifically L’s car seat. That’s when he showed me the chewing that had taken place on the belt as well as the seat of the car seat.

It’s a $200.00 car seat, mind you.

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OK, well now we know where the stuffing came from, but at least the seat is still useable.

Then he took me to our car, our still good but used 2005 Toyota Highlander. The same car that we paid a pretty penny for since it was BRAND SPANKIN’ NEW when we bought it and that we have taken great pains to keep it in as good condition as possible considering we have had 2 little people sharing the car with us for over 5 years now.

The same car that I am very hopeful we’ll be able to trade in or sell for a much older and probably much more used minivan when the time comes that we’ll be taking in a foster child.

First he points me to the floor beneath D’s car seat. This is what was there:

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Huh. Droppings. Fantastic. Gross. Why didn’t I smell anything? How long have these been here?

GROSS.

Then I start to understand why we didn’t see this until after the seats had been pulled. You see, in our car is a 3rd row seat, only we hardly ever use it since you have to be the size of an infant to sit comfortably back there. The 3rd row remains stowed in the “closed” position to allow more space for storage behind the 2nd row of seats.

Those droppings were on the floor where the 3rd row is stowed.

That’s when he drew my eyes to the 3rd row seat, specifically the headrest area.

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THAT’S when I freaked.

I ranted in my driveway about how hard we have worked to keep this car in good condition and one stinkin’ rat comes along and in 1 week or less manages to ruin a very nice toddler car seat and a much nicer car’s SEAT!!!

And that’s when my ever-positive, ever-loving husband said how thankful he was that the critter hadn’t gotten to any wires and that the car still functions just fine.

Very, very true. Still much to be thankful for, no doubt.

Now we’re just hoping the thing isn’t somehow still IN our car.

Needless to say, we’ll be keeping the windows closed for the time being.

And we lasted 6 years before having to use duct tape in the car. *sigh*

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