December 24, 2004

Ah, Yes.

Life in the foothills near Pasadena, California. When the wind is blowing—or right after a rain—the mountains appear to be etched against the sky with a precision that almost makes them look unreal, they're so beautiful. During the transition seasons from hot to cool, the skies are blue with fluffy white clouds that give a picture-postcard effect, despite the scrubby, desert-like ecosystem in the hills.

Sure is pretty out here.

At the moment my husband is just starting the cold that I got over a week ago. So he can't smell any longer the odor that's seeping up from the basement, or perhaps elsewhere under the house. But we know something is dead down there. At first we thought it might be a mouse, but a mouse would be dessicated by now, its parts carried off by the ants. This guy is a rat.

In between fevers, Attila the Hub managed to find out where the creatures were getting in, and seal it off. But the smell is still there.

I didn't mess around with potpourri: I got concentrated perfume blocks of a piney, Christmas-like scent that's actually quite nice. As I walk around the house I notice the different "scent zones" created by my strategic placement of the little perfume blocks. And the 2-3 places where they don't cover, and something is Present that makes one think either of a severe case of mildew, or a mild case of death.

I'll keep moving the little scent blocks around, and maybe burn a few candles. And I'll hope that our guests on Christmas day also have mild colds.

Yup. Sure is nice, living in these here hills. Seclusion, privacy, dark moonlit nights, a view of the little valley below us . . . and carrion wafting through the heating vents. Very glamorous indeed.

Merry Christmas, everyone. Here's hoping your rats die outside, where the coyotes can get them.

Posted by Attila at December 24, 2004 03:47 AM

I've got an ozone generator in my house. With 7 cats, the place still smells fresh and clean. I could probably have a dead squirrel in the rafters and never know it until I found the dessicated remains.

Even potpourri scents don't get five feet from their source before the ozone neutralizes them.

Posted by: Desert Cat at December 24, 2004 08:53 AM

I'll have to look into that.

Posted by: Attila Girl at December 24, 2004 11:32 AM

are you sure there haven't been any recent "missing persons" in your area lately?


Posted by: Rightwingsparkle at December 24, 2004 12:13 PM

Just a suggestion. I had the same problem once. Found one had gotten into the A/C unit. You might want to check the furnace.

Posted by: Kathy K at December 24, 2004 04:11 PM

I live downtown--we don't need coyotes to take care of the rats--we've got the homeless.

/going to hell

Posted by: Christopher Cross at December 25, 2004 09:34 PM

There's a place under the water heater that they like to nest in. One crack appeared larger than usual, so the husband sealed that one up. Yup--furnace is a likely culprit. At least they aren't dancing around on the vent like they used to, or running around in the attic. My spouse is generally right on top of the rat situation: he's good at it, too. Used to live in Hollywood, where he had plenty of practice.

They've never made it past the crawl spaces, and never will.

Posted by: Attila Girl at December 26, 2004 12:21 AM

Ozone is fun stuff. Horrid pollutant (its the part of smog that makes your eyes, throat, and lungs burn), but a excellent disinfectant for drinking water kills just about everything only downside is its expensive to make (electricity), doesn't leave a residual, can't re-use it, and it can creat some bi-products that can lead to cancer (although you can do some pre-treatment to eliminate them, plus if all the nor-cal &enviro-crazy people would just let the by-pass channel be built around the delta, it would help too).

CC- Which homeless guy? All the guys I meet quote the Bible and thank Jesus. They must be on your of the freeway.

Posted by: the Pirate at December 27, 2004 07:54 AM


At least you get people with an agenda...

Posted by: Christopher Cross at December 27, 2004 10:26 AM

Ozone is interesting stuff. Kind of like chlorine in that it depends upon how much you have, whether it is a good thing or a bad thing. In small quantities it breaks down odors without any negative health effects. In large quantities it becomes a lung and eye irritating pollutant.

The unit I have, made by Eco Pure, produces just enough ozone to do the job without exceeding safe levels, similar to how a chlorine residual in drinking water is just enough to keep the pathogens at bay. This unit also produces ions, which knock dust and dander particles out of the air pretty effectively.

Posted by: Desert Cat at December 27, 2004 05:53 PM

The fun thin about ozone is once you bubble it through water, it (by virtue of volatility) turns into O2 gas. Which is its downside because it leaves no residual in the water system to combat any contamination in the system. Of course the bromates that are bi-products are trouble some and requlated in the 80ug/L range I believe.
Of course chlorine has the same problem with THMs (trihalomethanes) and is regulated at about the same rane as bromates.
Of course disinfection bi-products vary based on where you get your water from.
Some fun stuff they have been using more frequently are chlormaines (combiantions of Chlorine & ammonia), its not a great disinfectant, but very good at staying as a residual, without the 'chlorine taste'.

As far as air purifers, I been pretty happy with the Living Air.

Posted by: the Pirate at December 27, 2004 07:16 PM

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