A rat’s nest of problems

A rat’s nest of problems


By Vanessa Broadbent

When I found out that I would be working for the Chronicle, I knew that it would come with a lot of changes; starting a new job and moving to a new town doesn’t exactly compare with switching coffee brands.

But what I didn’t expect is that it would also come with a few unwanted challenges, the kind that you don’t even think to prepare for.

Having spent most of my life living in suburban neighbourhoods where the houses are uncomfortably close together and you know more than you want to about those living beside you, when I found a little farm house on an apple orchard with a stunning view of half a dozen vineyards I was thrilled and felt like I was getting the full Okanagan wine country experience. Unfortunately, my rose coloured glasses didn’t allow me to see the problems that also come with this: lots and lots of rodents – in my house, eating my food and even sharing my bed.

At first I was horrified. I debated moving, but that meant losing the month’s rent I had just paid. So instead, I learned how to cope with it and after a few rat traps, boxes of poison and eventually even an adorable mouse-catching kitten, I finally had a handle on the problem.

But that first week of involuntarily sharing my home with an army of unwanted guests wasn’t easy. I remember calling my sister one night, while sitting outside on the back steps of the house even though it was painfully cold, just because it was a break from being inside with who knows how many rats.

She didn’t understand: “Why don’t you just move?” Because the view here is better than anywhere else I could find. “But you just said that you can’t fall asleep because you can hear them running around.” Yes, but hopefully that will lessen or I’ll get used to it.

Maybe it was a little impractical on my part, and maybe this was an overly optimistic outlook, but I saw it as a win-win situation. Sure, the first few days, maybe even weeks or months (God forbid) might be uncomfortable, but not only will I come out with the knowledge of knowing how to turn an old rat-infested shack into a home, pending that I don’t contract some sort of bubonic plague-like disease, but I’ll also get to live in a beautiful farm house with an even more beautiful view.

The thing is, it’s easy to avoid change because it’s uncomfortable, and thus avoid the growth that comes with it, which is necessary.

I could move into a less rat-infested house, but then what happens if I eventually become a homeowner and have the same problem, but this time simply packing up and moving isn’t an option?

I’d rather learn how to deal with obstacles when they come up, acquire a few new skills along the way and roll with the changes.