Adventures in the New Home

The home is beautiful and easy to live in since there is a master bedroom on the ground floor. We love it, mostly. One of the things we really like is the electric remote controlled gate. That is, we love the gate being electric until the electricity is off, then it is manual just like our old place.

Still, it seems we cannot get away from having a fish pond, but instead of a large pot with a huge fish, this pond is large and has numerous small fish.

Even though the front yard is covered with pavers, we do have several fruit trees, with a large Mango tree laden with almost ripe mangoes.

Not all is perfect however. We thought the home was constructed so as to keep out invasive animals and potential robbers, so we really panicked one night when we came to a power failure darkened home. We manually worked the gate then unlocked and opened the front door and heard what sounded like people running to hide in the house. We backed out and got into the car, locked the doors and wondered who to call, since we had not received the police phone number at the time. So we called Soy Kosal, the maintenance man for the mission. He promptly came over with his co-worker, grabbed a shovel and a pipe for weapons and entered the home. Their search did not yield any human intruders but they did hear some animal in the space between the ceiling and the first floor. They found they could bang on the ceiling and something would run to a different part of the ceiling. Searching around the house yielded no clues how whatever it was has gotten in. With the cause determined, we entered the house and went to bed for a restless night. For the next several weeks we continued hearing the animal run from place to place in the ceiling, especially when we would turn on the recessed spot lights (they probably have air vents into the ceiling space allowing some light to enter).

Several times, we examined the outside of the home trying to determine how anything could have gotten into the ceiling, finding nothing. Then, one day I noticed the ends of some iron square tubular beams used to hold part of the roof on were not capped. I reasoned that if these beams were butt welded to their inner support, all would be well, but if they were sitting on top of the support and welded to the top or bottom, they would provide a means of access to the ceiling. So I had the beam ends capped with duct tape, for a temporary fix.

For several nights we heard nothing in the ceiling, then started hearing noises again. A check of the beam ends showed no damage so we thought we had not solved the problem.

Several days later, I awoke early and got up and read my email which kept me busy for nearly an hour, but still being tired, and with dawn not yet forthcoming, I took my iPad with me back to bed. Sleepless and tossing back and forth I decided to write an email by leaning over the edge of the bed with the iPad on the floor, typing with one finger, when out of the darkness and over the brilliantly lit screen hurried an enormous spider. I jerked my hand away as the spider disappeared under the bed, headed for Julia’s side.

Considering what I should do next for a very long millisecond, I raised my voice, instructing Julia to wake and get out of bed, that there was something she needed to see, that was headed her way, causing her to jump right up. Flicking the light on, I noticed a movement against the far wall, so we pulled back the curtain to see a 4 inch Huntsman spider (Initially identified as a Banana Spider) sitting on the window sill. Julia held back the drape while I ran to the next room for something, anything to kill it with, and finding a can of Raid, I returned and sprayed it all over its body, remembering that Julia had told all her pesticide classes that spiders walk on their claws and the only way to actually kill a spider with poison spray was to either spray it directly or hit it with the can. After a half dozen direct, long sprays the spider curled up and died.

4 Inch Huntsman Spider

With the early morning light beginning to stream into the house, I wandered around and happened upon a smallish mango with a yellow patch on it I had picked the day before reminding me I had an almost ripe mango in the kitchen, which I went to check for ripeness. Picking the mango up, I saw where it had been chewed on several times causing me to exclaim, “We have a rat in the house”.

Thinking we would get rats into the living quarters of our house, we had just purchased several sticky traps fearing the return of noises in the house meant we might have a rat trapped inside.

The traps were in a two-pack, so I took one, baited it with Milo and placed it near the garbage can, putting the other unbaited trap to one side of the shelf where we keep the fruit. While waiting for both of us to be ready for breakfast, I heard a noise in the kitchen, and checked the baited trap but saw nothing. At about the third bite of cereal I heard more noises, and found a midsized rat caught in the unbaited trap, struggling to free itself. I finished it off with a bucket of water, which reminded me how much I hate killing larger things. The spider hadn’t bothered me, but the rat did, as it struggled to find breath.

Rat in Sticky trap

We are not sure we can breathe easier or if we just have to maintain constant vigilance. We suppose vigilance is in order, but we will try to get restful nights of sleep and hope the noises stop.

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