A) Number One –
THE STORYLINE: My first customer ever was David Hong, the owner of a longtime fast food restaurant on Division St in Portland. I did an ant service for him inside and out. David also hired Pest Predator to do his first Storysold: Restaurant Style Roach Hunt. He didn’t find any, but Predator was able to do the full hunt we always wanted to do (and couldn’t) when our human was working The Old Industry Script for Ecolab.
B) The Kluge 1 and The Kluge 2 –
THE STORYLINE: Eric called me because a rat had chewed through a waterline behind his dishwasher. My exclusion adventure began right away, fixing hardware cloth to the wall behind the dishwasher (while the dishwasher repair guys worked on it) to keep the rats from getting in. While I worked Eric, a computer programming professor, shared a new word with me. He explained a “kluge” was a quick fix, patch, stopgap, hack, or makeshift solution to programming problems. I immediately picked up what he was putting down, asking if a kluge/hack was a good thing or bad. He said it depended if it worked. A few weeks later, I spend a day excluding his home. While I worked, creating hack solutions to prevent rats from entering a home that appeared to have been built like a quilt, one kluge at a time. I was proud of my efforts, especially the crawlspace door which I made from a piece of metal siding I found at the Restore. Two months later, Eric called to offer me another challenge. His father a delightful Norwegian named Thor lived in a house that was actually 2 houses kluged together. Through our discussions, Thor inspired me to develop an exclusion strategy I still use today. His basement wall had been broken intentionally to fit a heater in the crawlspace, which in turn was allowing rats and everything else in the wilderness into the crawl. Check out the photos below! The heavy mesh excluding the crawlspace can be removed easily by unscrewing a few screws and knobs!
C) Pest Predator’s First Full Complex Bedbug Hunt –
STORYLINE: Brenda became the defacto landlord of a property that had a lot of bedbugs. She hired Pest Predator, and we worked together to hunt bedbugs in a 6 unit building plus a neighboring townhouse. The highlight for Predator was hanging out with a fun-loving, drunk, mildly argumentative tenant who tried to kiss him. And learning about Samoa from Joe and his family living in the townhouse.
You can read this service story on our website: https://www.storybank.live/14-2/
D) The Owl Project:
THE STORYLINE: Summer hired Wilderness Guide to secure her home from mice. The best part of this service story was Summer. Good people for sure! It was also one of the first time Guide encountered a true exclusion challenge. She named it The Monster Gap. It took a few rounds of work to get right, but the mice and rats of SE Portland no longer can simply tunnel under her back patio and thrive in her crawlspace anytime they wish! Now they have to face the owls and other predators of The Urban Wilderness like real deal wild creatures!
You can read this service story on our website: https://www.storybank.live/20-2/
E) The One Day Residential Record –
THE STORYLINE: It’s a privilege to participate in the homemaking stories of my customers, and we felt especially lucky to play our parts in Grace and Joe’s heroic homemaking story. They had 2 properties side by side. One they lived in. The other they rented to tenants. Both were resting on concrete blocks. Both had rats, and an amazing number of entry holes. After Guide’s initial inspection, we had one of our classic moments where we promise to do something crazy…and then do it. In The End, we excluded 22 entry holes in one day. And then returned to exclude The Mystery Add On Crawlspace (and kill the rat that was living there) when we finally found a way to access it. We had many memorable moments here, but my favorite was when I told Joe that I’d just broke his One Day Record at a church in SE Portland. He didn’t miss a beat. “That doesn’t count,” Joe said emphatically. “It’s not residential!” So true! But he no longer holds The One Day Residential Record. July 2020, I excluded 24 entry holes in one day for our farm friends Brian and Mary of Wild Roots Farm. “Don’t feel bad Joe! It was a 100 year old farmhouse with a working root cellar! Super easy pickings compared to yours!”
This was also the last time we ever used orange foam. Sorry Grace!
You can read this service story on our website: https://www.storybank.live/27/
F) Our First 2 Live Action Novels –
THE STORYLINE: Have you ever wished you had the full story of your pest control services hanging in your crawlspace? Or, better yet, had someone to write the on-going story of your Homefront? Well we made this happen. Like for real. We have 2 live action novels now currently in production: The Unexcludible Homefront and The Little Home Away from Home. Take that Hunter S. Thompson! 100% pure Gonzo storytelling!
You can read these live action novels on our website: https://www.storybank.live/38-2/ and https://www.storybank.live/36/
G) The Long Ballad of Momma Roof Rat –
THE STORYLINE: Roof rats in SE Portland are no joke. They are, by far, more intelligent than the sewer/Norway rats. Nita’s hunt was memorable for many reasons. One was the proximity of the rats nest to her bed. Amazingly (but very normal), Nita didn’t know she had rats until her neighbors saw a rat making what turned out to be a second nest under her solar panels. Then there was the also amazing (but very normal) part of her service story where we stuck it out, for at least a month or more, until we finally caught Momma Roof Rat in a Volehalla box. Most of the time, Momma Roof Rat escapes with a few youths in tow, moves on to the next attic, and the rat catchers claim victory when their traps go silent. The other, more meaningful part of this story, was the moment when Nita asked our human to sit with her in the kitchen…and we ate fruit together. This seems like a small thing, but that’s kicking The Old Industry Script for sure. Industry Techs don’t have time to fraternize with their customers. Not in any meaningful way. No fruit eating scenes for them! Not only did Nita hang on patiently for The End of her infestation, she inspired us to break The Fourth Wall and kick The Script!
You can read this service story on our website: https://www.storybank.live/18-2/
H) Guide Gutter Talks the Fat Roof Rats of NE Portland –
THE STORYLINE: At first read, we thought Carmen was yet another human cursed with a unyielding sense of perfection, and or what Indie Crystal Miner Bob called “ciphilization.” That was what we thought until Guide engaged the roof rats who were, seriously, trying to make their home in Carmen’s home.
You can read this service story on our website: https://www.storybank.live/31/
I) Meeting The Neighbors –
THE STORYLINE: We don’t know why, but we’ve been a part of many mother/daughter stories that feature rats. For example, one combo included a woman in Oregon City who had rats who then recommended us to her sister in Beaverton who also had rats, who then recommended us to her daughter who also had rats. The worst of that multi-generational drama was the daughter who had digging rats who followed a big backyard tree into her crawlspace. But that was Beaverton. Not to play favorites, but our favorite Mother/Daughter service story was Pauline and Victoria in Gresham. In both cases, they believed wholeheartedly in the importance of engaging The Action, or the longterm story of their home fronts. It was refreshing. Guide only had to kill a few rats. She spend most of her time excluding 12 vents with heavy mesh around Pauline’s home, and trenching and excluding a shed in the back of Victoria’s home. Pauline is a writer and Victoria is a banker, two roles that no doubt spark our imaginations. I know it’s wrong, but I loved the fact that I got a panicked call from Pauline (when I was face down in the dark of a crawlspace) when The Proud Boys and Antifa were invading Gresham. I laughed off the immediacy of The Conflict like I do, but (when I emerged from the darkness after a 8 hour crawlspace clean out) I felt a feeling I’m not at all used to feeling. Pauline called me, because she cared about me (and Farmer Emily) because we were neighbors. And that’s super cool. We definitely need more neighbors like Pauline and Victoria to help us (stupid isolationists) to break down our obsessively manicured neighborly walls and make the effort!
J) What to do with Baby Root Rats (With No Hope of Survival)? –
THE STORYLINE: Imagine owning a beautiful home in SE Portland that satisfied all the Disney dreams of living in harmony with nature: loyal dogs, happy cats, and garden landscapes. But then, after a few months or so you realize that the lions don’t always chillax with the lambs, and you have to face the reality of dealing with oppositional defiant raccoons, clingy anxious mice, and megalomeniacal roof rats? In this service story, we were called to action because the homeowners smelled “ammonia” near their chimney/next to their bedroom. Guide tracked that smell to its source, and then emerged with a sack full of baby roof rats. Guide offered them to the chickens first. Then she offered them to the wilderness outside our humans’ home. In The End they died tragically of exposure. The only solace in this service story was the knowledge that rats and humans are similar. From our experience, we know rat parents would rather eat their babies (heads and all) than Take The Bait and try a potentially poisonous new food source. We get that. Like rat parents, human parents often sacrifice their children to support their food, drug, or ideological addictions. It’s just more horrifically obvious when Mommy or Danny Rat eats the brains of her kids to increase her own chances of survival.
I know it’s wrong, but I think about that every time I see a PROUD PARENT OF A US MARINE bumpersticker…
AND SO MUCH MORE!