A few days ago, I saw this nasty rat run out of the garage so I called the pest control guy to come eliminate the problem.  He came yesterday morning and made me feel much better by telling me I do not appear to have any in the attics or the house – just the garage.  Whew!

Yesterday afternoon, I went to get our oldest child from school in the pouring rain and when I came home, opened and closed the garage door quickly since the temperature was dropping.  We all paraded into the house and didn’t leave again for several hours.  All I can figure is that it was when we got home from picking him up that the animal got in the garage.

So when Daddy called and asked if we wanted to eat dinner at Double Dave’s we were IN!  The boys paraded out into the garage (as normal).  The scene is still clearly in my mind.  Middle child was standing by the car, oldest was by the door to the house and youngest was standing on the stool by the button to the garage door, just about to open it (waiting on my permission).  The door to the house was open and middle said, in a normal-sounding voice “Mommy, look – an animal!”  All I could see was gray fur.  And the size?  Bigger than a rodent.  Then it turned and I saw a long tail.  Oldest said “It’s a cat!” and that’s when I said, probably not as calmly as I should have “EVERYONE GET INSIDE!  NOW!  MIDDLE CHILD, GET OVER HERE NOW!”

The boys ran into the house while I slammed the door, then thought twice and cracked the door open just enough to press the garage door opener.  I figured that the animal would run out.  Beyond that?  No plan.  So I called Hubs.  His answer?  Get the PLASTIC SWORD off the island and check out the garage.  Great.  I’m now headed out into the garage to face what could potentially be one of the ROUS’s (for those of you who haven’t seen The Princess Bride, shame on you!  Also, that stands for Rodents of Unusual Size).

As I beat around the garage with my plastic sword, nothing emerged so I was cautiously optimistic.  I got the boys into the car quickly, then wheeled out into the alley, shutting the garage door as we left.  At this point, oldest child yells “WATCH OUT MOMMY THERE ARE PEOPLE BACK HERE.”  As if my nerves weren’t already frazzled enough.

After slamming on the brakes and losing all 18 tubes of lipstick when my purse fell over, I saw a man and his little girl at the other end of the alley.  ‘I dumped my purse out for this? ‘ was my first thought.  My second was ‘Maybe they’re out looking for their missing gray cat, the one that’s been in my garage the last few hours.’ Hey, at least I got there, okay?!!

I rolled down my window and watched the look of astonishment on the man’s face as I described the incident in my garage.

Since I’m not great at using quotation marks, here’s the gist of the conversation:

Yes, it was their cat!  He was out looking for it, as a matter of fact!  Well, actually it was his wife’s cat, and you shouldn’t let your kids too close to it because it is, in fact, a pretty unfriendly cat.  Thank you and I’ll walk down the alley toward your house and look for it.

In retrospect, I should have given him my phone number.  Or perhaps my name.  But I was too busy telling this total stranger about how I thought his gray cat was a ROUS.  No, I didn’t really use the acronym but I did in fact tell him that I thought his cat was a large rat.  He didn’t laugh.  But then again, he appeared to be a Longhorn.  Which totally explains everything. (Sorry Cathy – couldn’t pass it up!)