Pardon the lack of postage, I was ill... and then busy. It rained for an entire week towards the end of October. I spent two days of that week laying on the couch nursing my first head cold in over a year. The cold hit quickly, but left after a two day double-barrel shot of ZiCam and Goldenseal, not to mention copious amounts of R's home-made chicken soup, water and ZERO daytime television - that crap will make you much, much sicker and Tivo'd episodes of the Colbert Report seem to make me better.
In any case, the rain came down for four days straight. Before work on Thursday morning I went out back to dispose of the garbage that I'd amassed laying about for 48 hours. I put my trash in one of the four cans in the back and noticed that the lid on the can closest to the back gate was ajar.
"Crap," I thought, "that can is going to have 2 feet of water in it. I'm going to dump it out and it will get my shoes wet and I'll have to change my shoes."
I opened the lid and peered down to find the two feet of water I'd expected as well as a small furry surprise. Taking its own life by jumping into the can full of water, a rat lay swirling counter-clockwise in a fetal position. I felt terrible. I don't like rats, but two near-drowning experiences in my life have given me a strong opinion that it is an undesirable method of kicking the bucket.... or, in this case, the garbage can.
Despite my role as condo president, I assured myself that this drowned rodent was "not my problem" and placed the lid back on the can (not ajar, mind you, I didn't want it filling up with even more water... or another depressed rat using it as a means to its end).
Typically, the trash is picked up on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I figured that, it being Thursday, the rat would be gone before the weekend. Alas, I checked on Saturday and funeral services had yet to be held. Other than the rat and his watery grave the can was empty, so maybe the garbage men hadn't emptied it because they didn't look all the way down. Perhaps a layer of garbage on top would entice them. I started putting garbage into the rat-can instead of any of the others. On Saturday it smelled pretty bad and the trash bag made a disturbing "sploosh" as it landed in the water. On Sunday, the smell was markedly worse. By Monday morning, I had to hold my breath as a ran to and from the can, the smell lingered in the air for two minutes after I'd replaced the lid.
On Tuesday morning, I saw that all of the cans had shifted position. Problem solved! I thought. No dice. Covering my mouth and peering into the can I saw no more garbage, half the water and an even more decayed rat. At this point, the smell is so bad, I won't even put garbage in the can. What to do?!? Having heard the story when I first discovered it, a fellow tenant asked me yesterday in the hall if "my friend was still in the can." At what point did I take ownership of the little guy? "Finders keepers"? I think not.