The Night of the Opossum, Part II
When we last left off, Doug was taking photographic evidence of the intruders while Rachel curled into the fetal position as far from the rodent as possible.
As the critter control guy (CCG) heroically carried the opossum out of the house, the upstairs neighbor shrieked, "That's that rat I saw before!"
The CCG calmly said, "It's a possum," to which the neighbor hysterically shouted, "It's a RAT!" only to be calmly but sternly corrected again, "No. It's a possum."
Thankfully, the neighbor followed the CCG outside and returned to her apartment upstairs. In the meantime, Doug was speaking with the CCG outside about how the varmint could have entered the apartment in the first place. The CCG said his best guess was through the drop ceilings, but they'd send someone out the following day to examine more thoroughly.
Rachel refused to sleep in their bed until they could wash the bedding, just in case the opossum had dared to set foot/paw on it. So they quickly located a nearby hotel and threw together some overnight items. Of course, Rachel wouldn't go in the bedroom, so she instructed Doug as to which clothes were in which drawers so he could grab her stuff as well. They arrived at their hotel at 1:15am and quickly fell into a deep slumber.
The next morning, Tuesday, Doug headed to work, where he emailed their landlord pictures of the opossum and described the whole situation. The landlord finally called him back and agreed to pay for the hotel fee and said he would also call and have someone come to the apartment to set some traps and investigate. Unfortunately, the soonest the company could get there was Wednesday morning. Doug and Rachel didn't feel like staying at a hotel again, but Rachel still wouldn't go in the bedroom, so that night they got out their air mattress and stayed in the living room, where there were no drop ceilings.
On Wednesday, Rachel made herself scarce all day while Doug met the critter control company to assess the damage. That evening, Rachel asked Doug about what they were able to determine.
"Um, I'm not sure you really want to know," Doug replied hesitantly.
"Please just tell me."
"Well... they assume that the opossum entered through the basement, because there are entry holes everywhere under the deck and around the foundation. So the opossum probably climbed the stairs up from the basement and got in under the space under the door," (Our readers should know that their basement "door" was more like a sliding closet door, and the bottom of the door did not reach the floor, leaving about a foot-wide gap/entryway.) Doug began. "Plus, he found animal droppings all over the place in the basement. And... he lifted up some of the tiles of the drop ceiling... and there is rodent poop everywhere up there too."
"WE ARE GETTING OUT OF HERE." Rachel immediately headed for the computer and began Googling apartments for rent in Plymouth, MI.
Now, while this may seem a drastic move, our readers must consider that this was just the final straw for our protagonists. If you recall, Doug and Rachel had known for quite some time that animals were scurrying about within their walls, and they had contacted their landlord (in October 2008!!) to make sure he was well aware of his illegal tenants. Doug even told their landlord that if said critters ever got into the house, it would be a big problem. Unfortunately, the landlord never did anything about it, so the problem did indeed escalate.
For the sake of brevity, Doug and Rachel were fed up with their living arrangements (in addition to opossums, remember their lack of heat? The hot water going out, the dust mites, and the fact that the landlord went on business trips to Asia every other week and could never be reached...); they began looking for a new place to live while Doug and the landlord worked together to find an appropriate end date for the lease. Throughout the duration of their time in that apartment, the traps set up by the critter control company caught: 2 opossums, 2 raccoons, 2 squirrels and 1 groundhog. On August 25th, 2009, Doug and Rachel moved into their new apartment, sans opossums. And they lived happily ever after... but not without a few haunting reminders.
My piano bag, which was in the basement
... The other reminder was a petrified possum poop in an open box that was under our bed. That is not a lie.