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The Stink of Death

Xy came home from Indiana on Wednesday. When she entered our house, she immediately noticed an unpleasant odor, something beneath my level of perception, but we couldn’t find the source.

The next day I noticed it too. We searched but still couldn’t find it.

Yesterday we made a more concerted effort. I noticed the smell seemed stronger near my office window. Xy investigated more closely, with a flashlight, and discovered the source: a dead rat, lodged between a bookshelf and the wall.

Dead Rat

Xy used a stick to dislodge the carcass, and I grabbed it (using gloves and a newspaper shield) and put it in a trashbag. Ugh. I’m not particularly squeamish, but I don’t like dealing with rodents, dead or alive. Yet I felt an absurd sense of pride that we handled this little crisis pretty well together, and I’m happy to report the stink of death dissipated almost immediately.

This is the second dead rat I’ve found in our house, and there was also one on the sidewalk next door a couple months back. It’s obvious we have a problem. At first I thought our cat Lucy was killing them, but I wonder. At my request, our exterminator threw some rat poison pellets around our attic when he was doing our termite treatment. Maybe it’s working.

Published inLife with XyOur House


  1. Lou C Lou C

    Gold stars for Xy being able to find & remove the carcass. We had a dead something (rat or suirrel not sure) that crawled inside a wall of a rent house we lived in once. We could have insisted the super knock out the wall to remove it but we chose to let nature take it’s course with decomp. Amazing how flies waste no time finding the decaying matter. I suspect had Xy not had such accute olfactories, the swarming lies would have eventually led you to it. Accute olfactories…a gift & a curse!

  2. David David

    Women typically have a more acute sense of smell. It’s an evolutionary adaptation that allows men to do the nasty shit men historically have done.

    If you want to motivate your cats, cut their rations in half! (I’m kidding mostly.)

  3. Women’s more acute sense of smell also allows them to distinguish what is fit to eat from what is not. Another evolutionary adaptation. The sense of smell is even more acute during pregnancy, thereby protecting the young.

  4. Hey, at the least, you’re finding them dead and not alive, staring at you with their beady little eyes. I love all creatures great and small but cannot abide roaches and rats, New Orleans’s finest vermin.

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