Most of you have heard of Day of the Dead. Yesterday was Day of the Dead Things at our house. My spouse, CB, was rebuilding the outdoor waterfall of our pond and found a dead, desert rat. Periodically critters, like pack rats, try to build nests in our pond. CB tries to flush the varmints out, but very often, they come back. Ironically, this rascal looked like a rodent that had infiltrated our garage, scratched our door jam, chewed a hole in a container of bunny food and left turds around our camping supplies.
I guess I can’t blame the rodent. He probably scratched the door jam in an attempt to escape, the bunny food was easy pickings – and while I have never been tempted to poop on our camping supplies there have been times I’ve wanted to hide it and opt for a vacation in a resort. But I digress.
CB started the pest-removal process by moving, cleaning and rearranging everything in the garage. And when I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING. It was a mountain of work. We have a three-car garage and junk – I mean stuff - lines the walls from floor to ceiling and we can barely squeeze two vehicles into the place. The third bay is a working area for CB’s projects and sports supplies.
Fueled by irritation, my animal-loving spouse was probably thinking less than charitable thoughts about our new garage dweller. We started out with a small, no-kill mouse trap and planned on relocating said rodent, but when CB spied the little invader it was obvious we were dealing with a rat, not a mouse. After hours of shuffling things around and trying to harass the varmint out of the garage and back to the wild, it became necessary to employ more drastic maneuvers. We were both opposed to poison and the sticky paper trap would mean a long, painful death for our uninvited guest, so we opted for bigger, faster, rat traps.
However, in an attempt to give the rat a chance to relocate, CB fashioned a less violent trap out of a bucket in hopes that the rodent could be captured and not killed. I didn’t want any part of it.
Day one. No rat in the trap, but more turds. The rodent was still in the garage. The next night CB kept going into the garage and trying to flush the little fink out. Like a bad neighbor, CB was there, making noise, shining a flashlight at the rat when it scurried across the floor and doing whatever could be done to get the little varmint to head for the hills. Still, I could tell CB felt guilty. Neither of us wanted the rat dead. We just wanted it to leave.
After the traps were set, CB came to me with a hang dog face and confessed guilty feelings about being a rat executioner. Not knowing what else to do, I chanted a Buddhist prayer (Nam Myoho Renge Kyo) for the critter to peacefully vacate the premises.
The next day the traps were empty, but the rat was gone.
It’s been a couple weeks now. I can’t say I’ve thought much about the rodent except I was thankful it didn’t return. But while rebuilding our outdoor waterfall my spouse found a dead rat. It had a wound on its side. CB continued working outside and uncovered another carcass. This time it was a hawk. The bird seemed to have a wounded leg and died while taking cover under our sage bush. After surveying the evidence we assumed the rat died as a result of the hawk dive-bombing it and the hawk hit a rock while in pursuit of its prey.
And that was our Day of the Dead Things.
Today I was on the NBC Playground twitter site reading the tweets from my fellow applicants for the sitcom competition. You can view my pitch to NBC at
One of the contestants wrote that she had not received an email that the announcement of winners had been postponed until Oct. 31. I replied to her post to see if she ever received an email confirmation that her entry had been received. She had not. It would seem her entry was not successfully received. She was dead in the water.
Even though I want to win this competition, I felt bad knowing this young writer’s entry didn’t even make it to the judge’s panel. It was no small feat uploading the information for the competition and had my daughter, Alicia, not helped me, I would have suffered the same fate.
A winner will be announced in a few days. Until then, I have hope. If I’m not chosen, I will try again. It’s been a difficult month for me. I lost my biggest client, been rejected for jobs and I have to bide my time another month to see if the NBC Peacock chooses my sitcom or some other ratfink’s (only kidding.) But rejection is part of the process for a professional writer, and losing clients is a reality in business.
But I have hope. I guess you could say it literally springs eternal in me. I can’t say it doesn’t sting when I don’t receive good news about an article, project, contest or job, but I know as long as I have hope, I will survive.