Lessons From a Wood Rat

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ratOver the past few weeks at my house we have been battling a wood rat. Wood rats are a bit bigger than city rats and are found in more rural areas. We have an old house — circa. 1860. The kitchen cabinets were installed next to the studs. No walls, just mounted flush up on the studs. You would think they are old cabinets but they’re not. They’re newer!  Cheap cabinets and poorly installed according to my partner!  He says nothing in the house was done right.  If you could cut a corner, it was cut.  There’s the first lesson!  Never buy a house from a contractor.

But that’s not really the lesson I am writing about today!

Here’s the story.  We have wood rats that get under the kitchen, work their way up in the walls and then you can hear them moving around.  They sound HUGE!

When we first discovered that we were battling them, we found things had been knocked off the refrigerator.  You know how you might store something on the top of the fridge.  Well I had a couple of boxes of cereal up there.  It was strange.  When I came down, they were on the floor.  We discovered behind both the refrigerator and the stove HUGE holes chewed into the baseboard.  These are the holes that we used to see on the cartoons: Tom and Jerry. Remember those holes.  Well, we covered them with sheet metal all the way across the back of both appliances.  They were NOT coming through!

But then I started seeing saw dust on the counter.  I discovered a new hole at the back of the counter coming up behind the counter, between the wall and the counter.  That got filled in with steel wool.  Then I heard something in the corner cabinet.  Could they be right in the cabinet.   A bag of pasta had wholes chewed in it and there was pasta all over.  Yes, they are in the cabinet.  More sheet metal filled in the gap along the top of the cabinet.  And I still heard them.  We couldn’t see any where that they could get in.  AND then, I moved a bag that had “fallen” over and there it was a NEW hole chewed right through the cabinet.  More sheet metal — soon our cabinets will be fully made of sheet metal.

We thought we had them.  You might be thinking — isn’t there a trap.  Yes, there is a trap…. and so far nothing in the trap.  Last night a new hole appeared at the top of the base molding.  I don’t think that’s totally closed yet.

All of this got me thinking about the perseverance of the wood rat.  We have been trying to shut them down for quite a while.  We keep throwing up new road blocks and they keep finding a new strategy for getting access to our kitchen.  In business, I would call this persistence and commitment.  They are not deterred by our actions. They are totally committed to their goal — access to our kitchen!  They work diligently.  They continue no matter what we try. They avoid the real life threatening traps.

What are the lessons:

  • Persistence -continues to get them toward their goal and pays off.
  • Commitment — is total and complete.
  • Hard Work – – keeps their goal moving forward no matter how many blocks are thrown up.
  • Strategic — they are willing to change their strategy to meet the new demands of their environment.

I don’t know about you, but in a way, I think they’re inspiring.

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