Martha Stewart’s kitchen this most certainly is not.

My kitchen … how can I put this … creeps me out.

It's not only the spirits, ghosts and some bad energies who hang about, hover and haunt.

Each night I sit in the next room listening to thump!thwamp! thammp!thump!twamp! … {sound of landings on wood}

Then the vile scratchings … the blood-curdling scritchings …

The arrival of the r_ts.

I don't know where they go during the day AND I DON'T CARE. I know only that in the evenings they return to the home that is the crawlspace above my kitchen ceiling AND I WISH THEY WOULDN'T.

Everyone has one terror creature … one torture animal that if brought into your presence if you were a POW would freeze you to the core and cause spillage of your every secret. This one's mine.

And it distresses profoundly to have them residing here. I'd rather have half a dozen snakes slithering on my floor, 20 spiders dangling from the corners and two dozen lizards clinging to the walls than even one of those creatures within a 5-mile radius.

Not to mention directly above me.

And no, it's not as simple as reaching or squeezing into some crawl space to set D-Con (amazing stuff, btw; highly recommend). Reason being this is not my home. I'm a renter in a large, multistoried, rambling building that's approaching 100 years old.

And on the assumption there is a crawl space, even if I knew where it is — I don't — and could enter — I couldn't — do you really think I could, or should, take that on? I've worked with maintenance guys addressing problems in the deep guts of historic buildings with their old plumping, aging wood, funky complications. It ain't pretty. Skill and care are required.

In addition, part of my rent covers maintenance. So I leave this to the landlord.

To date, I've not said anything about those hideous creatures that cause my very soul to revile. Building structure informs me that accessing that crawl space is challenging, possibly not doable.

Seems like an awful lot to ask of the landlords (nice guys, cordial relations) to take on for rodents so out of consideration I grit my teeth and live with it. Besides, it's just one of many ailments in this apartment, one more unease and disruption to peace of mind. It's not home and I don't pretend it's ever gonna be or can be. It's where I hang until I get to go.

Then my mind was changed by something last night.

A small leak. In the kitchen. Dripping through this:

That can't be good.

So a note's been delivered. Figure that if they've gotta get into the ceiling to suss out a source of water amid the electrical system, they might do me the favor of planting D-Con.

Like I said, my kitchen creeps me out.

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