New Civilization News: You Dirty Rat!    
 You Dirty Rat!
4 Jan 2006 @ 14:07, by Jose Overalles

I'd been down in the basement a couple weeks ago, wrapping Christmas gifts and filling christmas stockings, when I noticed that a piece of D-Con had fallen off of the high shelf that I keep it on, and was on the floor. I picked it up and went aboout my business finishing my wrapping. I'd left the wrapping paper and tape and stuff down there on my work bench, so a few days after christmas, when we were packing away all of the decorations into boxes to sit in the attic for another year, I went down into the cellar again to retrieve the wrapping paper. As I was cleaning up, I noticed that i had left two herseys kisses on the work bench. They'd never made it into a stocking. I also noticed that the piece of D-Con was now missing off its shelf and was no where to be found. So I decided to leave the candy there, on the bench in a conspicuous place, to see if we had mice or something. Checking a couple days later, the kisses were gone. This being a fairly good indication that we had a rodent problem, I scheduled a day last weekend and went down there and gave the place a thorough sweeping, filling suspicious holes in the field stone basement walls so I would be able to tell where they were getting in. While sweeping up, I noticed that the air filter for the furnace was on the floor. Since we'd had the furnace tuned up and and a new fan limiter switch installed on it this summer, I assumed that the guy who had worked on the furnace had changed the filter and left the old one lying there. I picked it up and threw it away.

So now I've got a fairly clean basement, as clean as you could expect a field stone walled basement to be, and I've been going down there looking for any suspicious piles of dirt indicating the presence of rodents reentering the place. I saw no signs.

This morning I got woken up early. " I think there's a problem with the furnace."Yes, there seemed to be. The temp in the house had gotten down to 45 degrees."I tried turning it up but it just tries to start and then stops." Must be the fan limiter switch, I think. These are the same symptoms as when this happened last winter, so I go down in the cellar and pull off the furnace cover. There it is, the brand new switch. I push the manual over ride button, and nothing. The furnace is hot, so it's definitely the fan not kicking on thats the problem. So I call the oil company, which will come out on short notice to fix these things, you see. I tell them the problem, and register my unhappiness that the switch they just installed in August isn't working.I mean, I paid like $300 bucks for a tune up and switch replacement, so why don't I have heat? So the guy shows up within a half hour. Nice guy. He does what I did and fiddles around with the fan limiter switch for a bit. The fan tries to kick on but just cant seem to. So he pulls off a lower panel, which I had tried to remove too without any luck. After a bit of tugging, he gets the lower panel off, revealing the fan motor. He tries to turn the fan motor belt wheel, but it doesn't want to turn. "Boy that belt sure is tight!", he says. Oh great, I say, don't tell me I've got a seized fan motor. Dollar signs are spinning away in my brain. "Well, that's what it looks like," he says. He gets down a little further and shines his light in there and starts to laugh. "Yeah, that'll do it," he says. "Here, have a look.". I scooch down and look.
I've found my rat.
Sorry, no pictures.
Seems he got his little neck stuck in the fan belt. It appears that he actually pulled the 24 inch filter out of the furnace and decided to crawl in there where it is nice and warm. seeing as how I'd blocked his hole and all. "Well, that's got to be a first for ya, I said with a chuckle of relief. Well, actually it wasn't. It seems that last year he'd had to deal with an unfortunate incident of an old lady"s missing pet ferret....

"Well, let me get a shovel", I said, "and when you unwedge him I'll throw him out back for the crows". But no, this is full service furnace repair here. He was taking the rat with him. He had plans for this fellow. It seems he'd had a medical emergency last night in his family and asked some other guys to cover his on-call shift. None of his coworkers would cover, and his boss would cut him no slack. He still had to be on call. So, guess who's boss is going to find a dead rat on his desk this morning. I kid you not.

All of this before I even had my coffee. I'm nice and toasty now though...

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