I haven't told you about my new washer and dryer. They come with a story.
A couple weeks after we got back from England this summer, our cat, Hannah, brought us a welcome-home gift.
"Oh, no!" Claire and I heard Bob yell from the kitchen.
Then the kitchen door slid shut with a "wham!", and we heard a lot of banging.
About twenty minutes later, a grim Bob emerged to tell us that he had let Hannah inside, and she had dropped a live mouse on the floor.
"A WHAT?" I asked.
"It went under the fridge and then just ... vaporized," he said, averting his eyes. He looked a little wild, and I reached over and pulled the dust bunnies out of his hair before I went and looked for the missing mousie myself.
The mouse hadn't vaporized, of course. Over the next seven (yes, seven) weeks (yes, weeks), the mousy grew and grew, and as he grew it soon became evident that mousy was, in fact, a rat. He had been a baby rat and we, against our will, were raising him into an adult rat.
I will not go into the amount of time and money we spent, or the number of contraptions and services we tried, or the sheer mountain of advice I listened to. (Before you are tempted to blurt out "try peanut butter," WE WENT THROUGH AN ENTIRE JAR OF SKIPPY BAITING TRAPS, AND THIS RAT HATED PEANUT BUTTER and ignored the peanut butter. Stop talking about peanut butter.)
I cried a lot, and I may have mentioned divorce. ("How is this MY fault?" Bob asked. "Because you are supposed to CATCH HIM," I wailed. It was not my finest moment.)
Before all was said and done, Chewy did about $1500 worth of damage to the kitchen.
He chewed through the refrigerator water line and through the Dualit toaster cord, gnawed on the Kitchenaid mixer cord, and, for his pièce de résistance, bit a hole through our washing machine -- through the plastic dispenser cup, and right out the back of the machine.
"I haven't seen this before," the repairman said. "They usually just gnaw through the electrical cord and kill themselves."
No such luck.
We chose not to make the repair because it would have cost more than a new washer, but we couldn't buy a new washer until we killed the rat.
Unfortunately, whatever smidge of hunting instinct that had kicked in and made Hannah pounce on that rat to begin with, promptly left her once she was back indoors. During this whole ordeal, she did not so much as bat a whisker at the commotion in the kitchen, but spent her days and nights sleeping on the foot of the bed in a purring, useless little comma of warmth.
And then, one triumphant evening, in a gruesome spectacle I will not describe here (think "Nearly Headless Nick"), we snapped him dead.
And when I say "we," I mean "Bob."
Thankfully, by the time Chewy was getting bold enough to venture into the middle of the kitchen at night (we believe he lived between the cupboard and wall next to the stove), he was too big to squeeze under the door, which remained shut for the entire seven weeks. So his reign of terror was limited to the kitchen itself.
And also thankfully, I ended up with a new washer and dryer.
And Chewy is now a distant memory.
Except when Bob (how quickly he has forgotten the word "divorce") and his always-game-for-fun sidekick, Claire, play little jokes on me.