Rats: Learning what you’re capable of when things don’t work out as planned

There’s no place like YOUR home.

I stood on the arm of my sofa, fingers spread wide, pressed against the cool glass of the window as I spied the deck outside and the garden below it. They were lazy. The audacity of those rats, a nibble here, followed by a turn of their narrow conical head to nibble there at some other unknow delicacy, the most hurried part of their bodies was their franticly nibbling mouths. My nose twitched and I felt itchy.

I clutched the phone so hard that I could feel the fissures from the fractured glass of my iPhone threaten to slice the delicate skin of the palm of my hand. My heart pounded, my face was flushed, my words jettisoning from a primal source deep within me, like a fighter pilot ejecting from a burning plane. Maybe fire would rid me of those rat?

“When can you get here? Not until Tuesday? But today is Friday, where will I live? How will I get out of here? I won’t even live with a mouse in my house – you can’t possibly be asking me to live in such close proximity to rats – there must be half a dozen out there. I think they are reproducing as we speak. I have to go. I’ve got to find someone else that can help me solve this problem before they breach the fortress and scale my sofa mountain”.

If you think I am being dramatic, I am not. Rats are quite capable of climbing, and they are not “outdoor” creatures that are just as afraid of you, as you are of them. They seek warmth and water when they are reproducing. Six litters a year, 10 – 12 baby rats per birthing session. Sexual maturation by 9 weeks. Stop it. I am not a math mathematician but even I know that their exponential growth would make a CEO envious. They don’t really even have to try. Disgusting.

All you gals out there – get ready to be gritty. If you are going to be a home owner, this is just one of the many things you are going to be forced to contend with – well maybe not rats, but many things that you are forced to deal with will leaving you saying “rats, I wish I had known that before I signed on the dotted line”. Some things are better left unknown. It might prevent you from doing what’s in your best interest, and buying real estate, even if you are forced to contend with a rat – so gross – is a really good idea.

Marvin came and educated me about those rodents, their reproductive lives, and how to keep them from showing up as uninvited guests in your home. They had not burrowed, or nested, which is a very good thing, but they had sent out a signal, through their urine, to all the other rats in the ‘hood that they had found a very favorable place, due to the garbage the neighbor had left on the porch. Don’t leave garbage on your porch. It invites trouble. While you may not have rats roaming around your property, you probably don’t want to have a run in with a bear or a racoon. They seem so cuddly in cartoons, but they are vicious.

Rats aside, home ownership is a decision you are not likely to regret. There is nothing more freeing than being presented with a problem and realizing that you can figure it out. Everything is figure-out-able, and we can do the most remarkable things when we are perched atop a sofa arm on the brink of panic.

Yes, you, even you can, and you will. I promise, but it doesn’t hurt to have a Marvin of your own on speed dial.

Try Not to Take it Personally

10 Years Ago.

I was scrolling through Redfin as I am want to do, when I came across the listing for the very first property I owned. I sold it just over 10 years ago. Since then I have bought and sold five other properties and was a nominal investor on a sixth. That nominal investment netted more than my first property, and while it holds a special place in my heart as the first stand-alone house that I participated in renovating, I’ll never forget my first love – that launched me on this journey.

The knife twist in my gut I experienced when I locked eyes on my little condo, stripped of the personality that I had so carefully cloaked it in, was visceral. Gone went the intricately painted moldings, shrouded in stark white. Gone went my mineral ice pale grey walls. Covered in khaki. Just like the pants, they show absolutely no imagination.

It’s not the first time a home that I renovated and sold had been entirely redone to reflect the new owners aesthetic. In each of those instances my homes were sold to men, and my taste leans, ok perhaps “lean” isn’t the right word for it, swims is more appropriate, in the feminine pool. I won’t apologize for that. When I set off on this buying and selling journey I was in it to make money, but that wasn’t the only reason. I wanted to express my personal taste. I wanted to explore it, and test its limits, and make mistakes and become. It’s hard to become anything if you are too careful.

Along the way I spent money, made money, traveled a lot and learned so very much. I hope to impart some of those lessons to other women through the book I am writing. Building agency requires resilience and a little bit of grit, but I am made of tough stuff and so are most of the women that I know, so I will try not to take it personally. Paint away I say, a piece of me still lives on at 2 Harvard Place, Apt. 3, Charlestown, MA, and after all, you paid ME to paint it. I’m ok with that.