Waiting for My Real Life to Begin

The life and times of a girl named Swishy.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Animal house

I have had two days off in the whole month of April so far, which means I am behind on like EVERYTHING. One of these things was getting my oil changed. The light had come on about 1,000 miles ago and I’m like, next week. OK, next week. OK, the week after.

Things have finally settled down a little, and I was off today. I had a $7 off coupon at Valvoline that was going to expire at the end of the month, so I was like, OK, TODAY. Today I will get my oil changed. So I drive down the street to the Valvoline and settle in the waiting room with my book. It’s my little car’s first oil change, so I’m thinking this is going to be the easiest, breeziest trip to Valvoline ever. “It’ll be like 15 minutes,” the guy tells me. Noooo problem.

Well, no sooner do I wave at the little girl in the waiting room, sit down and open my book does the guy come back in. “I need you to come look at something,” he says. In my head, I’m like, you’ve GOT to be kidding me. I KNOW I don’t need a new air filter, I KNOW I don’t need a fuel cleanse, just change the oil and let’s go already. But I get up and walk over, and as he’s holding the door for me, he shakes his head and goes, “I’m taking a picture of this.” And I’m thinking, Okaaaaaay, Mr. Over the Top, I know the economy’s bad and you need to make money but I’m not an idiot! The air filter can’t possibly look THAT bad!

So we go outside and there are like three people gathered around my car and HOLY FREAK FREAK FREAK. There is a NEST under the hood of my car. A FREAKING NEST. A nest put together BY AN ANIMAL under the HOOD OF MY CAR.

No one wants to touch it, no one even wants to get near it, because, I mean, HELLO! It’s a NEST THE SIZE OF MY FREAKING ENGINE!!! There could be a whole family of raccoons in there!

“Do you live in the woods?” they ask.

“I live RIGHT DOWN THE STREET!” I tell them. “AND I park in a garage!”

“When was the last time you popped the hood?” they ask.

Uh, like, NEVER, I think, but then I remember—I helped a woman jump her car in the Walmart parking lot like six weeks ago. A MONTH AND A HALF. In the last month and a half, some LIVING CREATURE has snuck into my garage, into my car, and built itself a little McMansion.

“What do you think it is?” I ask.

The guy thinks about it. “I’d say a rat,” he said, “except it has to be something pretty big to carry this much stuff in there.”

Ewwww. They send me back into the waiting room to freak out in there instead, but a couple of minutes later they call me back. “See that?” they say, pointing under the hood. “It’s been chewing on your wires. This thing’s a fire hazard. You better get it to the dealer, like, ASAP.”

I’m like, OK, now you’ve REALLY got to be kidding me. MY BRAND-NEW CAR has been gnawed to pieces from the inside by some crazed animal and could now blow up into a BALL OF FLAMES as I drive down the street. “Can I wait until next week?” I said. “No way,” they replied. “ASAP. Like today. It could catch on fire any second.”


So I leave and immediately drive back home to Google directions to the closest dealer, the whole way calling everyone I know so I can COMPLETELY SPAZ OUT over the phone.

Me, to my mom: You will LOSE YOUR SHIT when you see this picture. I am not even kidding.
Mom (slightly more concerned about the “shit” than she is about the fact that her daughter is driving around in Yellowstone National Park turned moving death trap): Well, I don’t know about THAT.
Mom: (Pause.) You probably, like, chewed up its little babies when you started the car.
(This is the part where I shriek, a sound something like blaaaeeeechhhhhaaaaa, and throw the phone.)
Mom, after I retrieve the phone from under the seat: It’s funny, this thing you have with animals.
Me: OK, a) it’s not THAT funny and b) what are you talking about?
Mom: Remember the dead bird down the chimney?

One of the guys from work is near my house and meets me there to talk me off my ledge. We find a dealer sort of by work, and he follows me over there to make sure my car doesn’t go up in flames. (Or more appropriately, I guess, so he can be the one to deliver a first-person account to Eyewitness News when I die.)

In the meantime, another friend from work, one I called to ask about dealers, has called me back. I tell him what’s going on and then hang up. A few minutes later, I get this text from him:

“Did you check the backseat to make sure the rat or possum is not in your car right now? I would if I were you. It may jump out and gnaw on your neck.”

Ha freaking ha.

We get to the dealer. Unfortunately, my warranty does not cover “Mother Nature.” Bright side, they can fix it while I wait. Two hours and $192.39 later, my car is almost as good as new. Both places tell me that to keep the animal away, I should hang mothballs in stockings around the edge of my hood. 15 minutes and 30 mothballs later, I smell like a 95-year-old woman’s closet.

But that’s not the end of the day, ohhhhhh no. While I was paying for my car, I dropped my phone. I picked it up. I dropped it again. I picked it up, and the screen was black. I turned it off, and then on again. No screen. I try calling it. No screen. I try charging it. No screen. I bite the bullet and go to the Verizon store on the way home. Good news, the guy says, I can replace your phone for free. Bad news, you lose everything on there, including every last phone number.

I am going to go hide under my blankets now so nothing else breaks. For, like, a week.


At 10:34 PM, Blogger michelle said...

okay, that is just ridiculous! i will now be checking under my hood for intruders on a regular basis.

a friend of mine had a colony of ants make a home in her car ... they migrated there from her parking lot ... they had to basically take the car apart to get rid of them.

it gives me the willies just thinking about it.

At 10:38 PM, Blogger She said...

That's so fascinating in a freakity freaking kind of way! Wow.

Glad they were able to fix it for relatively cheap.

So, what was it? Rats?

At 10:51 PM, Blogger Mandy said...

Wow, that freaks me out! I am going to check under my hood tomorrow and make it a regular thing too. That is just crazy.

Sorry about your phone? I dread something like that happening to me.

At 10:52 PM, Blogger Swishy said...

They have NO IDEA. It is totally freaking me out!

At 11:05 PM, Blogger Eileen said...

HOLY SHIT. I park next to a woods and I've never seen anything like that, although once a bear shit right next to the car and then smeared it on the back door. I thought that was bad.

At 11:37 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

OMG!!! I hope you checked your car. You don't want some rat popping up next to you on your seat while you are driving to work one day. AAAAHHHH!! I would FREAK OUT!!!

At 7:37 AM, Blogger Mary Ann said...

Ok, couuld you take the pic to pest control and ask for a trap or something to put in your garage? I would totally freak out. This makes me think I should go check under my hood. Except I don't want to know. I'm just glad you found the nest before whatever it was laid eggs. Well rats don't lay eggs but you know what I mean. I'm freaking out for you!

At 8:00 AM, Blogger DeeMarie said...

My sister had car trouble and when she took it in, the entire engine was filled with cat food. Completely. And it wasn't from our cat's bag! The car was parked in a garage too. To this day we don't know what it was, but thankfully, once it was cleaned out, it never happened again. Good luck. Hope things turn around for you really soon!!

At 8:08 AM, Blogger oreneta said...

I am so sorry that all that happened, but the way you wrote it is so outrageously funny, I don't even know what to say. That is, without a doubt, the biggest nest I have ever seen in a car. Never mind that it is the only nest I have ever seen in the hood of a car, it is still freaking enormous!

Good thing about a blog, at least a whole lot of people know they have to give you their number again.

At 9:10 AM, Blogger Bina said...

OH. MY. GOD! I have never, EVER heard of nest in an engine! We did have a groundhog here that chewed up a ladys wire in her engine. The Operation's Manager brought his gun in, shot it the next day, the bullet bounded off the building and went through a guys window. Only in TN, right??

So, was there like animal poop in your vehicle or what??? No dead babies in there??? I want to know what the hell built that nest!

At 9:22 AM, Blogger kerri said...

oh yikes!
rats can be very big- ewwww.

At 11:00 AM, Blogger Angela Williams Duea said...


How does this stuff always happen to you?

Don't take any more days off. They're too expensive for you.

At 12:20 PM, Anonymous $tabone said...

you better check your trunk. and i mean your car trunk. hey o. but seriously, those animals in west virginia are little buggers!

At 2:34 PM, Blogger JenKneeBee said...

Oh. my. pukage. I can hardly look at that picture it makes me so squeemish. I'm glad you found it so you didn't blow up in a car fire though. That would have been much worse.

At 2:53 PM, Blogger flea said...

ohmyfreakinggawd!!! that is horrible! i've heard of squirels or mice doing this but a rat?? but never imagined a nest that BIG and I live in the country


how horrifying for you. I would so be setting traps in the car garage near your car

At 1:00 AM, Blogger shopgirl said...

Oh sister I feel your pain! Read my blog from a couple months ago: http://missdaisydog.blogspot.com/2009/01/omg-mouse-is-back.html

because I had the same problem with mice in my car!! (and, they were INDEED inside my car) Not just under the hood! UGGGHHH!! Hate, hate hate critters!!

Good luck with your situation - I hope they're gone!!

At 1:04 AM, Blogger shopgirl said...

OH - PS - if it is MICE (hopefully not a RAT) I heard and I tried it too - that peppermint oil will keep them away. Apparently they don't like the smell. (and it smells better than moth balls!)

Also - DON'T use d-con or anything like that in your car - you don't want them to DIE in your car - UGGHH - that smell would be the worst!!

I also had my car parked in a garage - and they still got in. Ugghh - this just brings back bad memories!!

At 1:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is one amazing nest! I have never seen a nest that big, never mind one under the hood of a car. You are truly a very - um - unique individual!

At 2:35 PM, Blogger Tanya said...

That is one ambitious animal. I wonder if the creature was building its home when you were parked at work? I think you should bring that point up to your co-workers and see how many of them go out to check under their hoods.

At 6:26 PM, Blogger MJ said...

Wow. I mean, Wow.

I grew up in the country and never saw anything like that, thank goodness.

It's a good idea to pop the hood at least once a week, I think, just to be on the safe side.

At 2:39 PM, Blogger Beth said...

my goodness Swishy!!! Is anything ever simple with you???? Noooooooo!!!! and that nest!!!! That's a freaking CONDO under your hood! Some rat had a nice crib, that's for sure!

dang woman......

At 9:21 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Yowsers! That is impressive. Did the dealer ever take it apart to figure out what was living under there?

And yeah... I was with your mom on the effects of turning on your engine. I heard too many sad stories about cats and engine blocks when I volunteered at an animal shelter.

BUT I thought Verizon had some cool thing where it backed up all your phone numbers and contacts and everything online? The myverizon.com thing? No? If not, I'm going to be peeved as that was sort of important to me!

At 8:56 AM, Blogger kk said...

OMG. Crazy!

And I can totally feel your pain.

Many years ago when I lived in Boston (in a city, where there aren't many trees at all...) My air conditioning was making a weird sound, and when it was on, little pieces of straw and grass would blow into the car. That should have been my first clue.

Upon taking it in, they found a mouse nest in my air system.

The best part? After taking it out, they asked me if I wanted the nest.

I mean, really?

At 9:50 AM, Blogger Karen said...

That thing is HUGE. It makes me sort of want to check under my hood right this second to make sure this is not a common occurance. (But I won't b/c I'm a baby.) So you still don't know what kind of animal did this?

Hopefully your next day off will be less adventurous!

At 11:16 AM, Blogger Kristabella said...

All I have to say is "this would only happen to you!"

I'm now thankful that I run out of windshield washer fluid like every other month, which means I have to open the hood regularly. Because I park on the street and we have rats the size of large dogs in Chicago. Which might be good, since that's harder for them to get up in there.

Wow. Just wow.

At 3:03 PM, Blogger Melek said...

omg, i laughed out loud at the possum in the back seat text...

what did the dealer say it was? did they find mutilated rat babies in your intake valve?

i got a nest of ants in the trunk of my car once. talk about getting the willies! uggh, i hate ants. but at least they're not likely to gnaw my face off.

At 3:04 PM, Blogger Melek said...

and btw, your life is so amazingly interesting. you're one of those friends i want bc then when we're all out having cocktails and the conversation wanes, i could just say 'Swishy, entertain us with your latest adventure' and you'd have hours of stories to tell.

At 6:31 PM, Blogger Froggy said...

Wow, you really should get the "My Verizon" online to backup your numbers so if anything happens again you would not loose your contacts at least.

Sorry to hear about your car!

At 12:33 AM, Blogger MaNiC MoMMy™ said...

OH MY GOD SWISHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HOLY SHIT! What was it? Did you ever find out?! And then you lost everyone's phone numbers?

HOLY SHIT, I am stunned at the nest in the car. You're like Snow White how all the little animals want to hang around you. Remember the snake in the pipe too!


At 10:47 PM, Blogger Midwest Gent said...

I have actually heard of a cat crawling up from underneath the car and somehow up by the hood. Made the person driving the car pull over when the engine just did not sound right. They opened the hood the cat - of course - flew right out.

Saying all that - WOW! Somehow though reading this from you does not make me 100% surprised.

At 4:20 PM, Blogger Andie said...

Girl, sometimes some of the craziest stuff happens to you.

that is wild! I've never heard of such a thing. I guess because it's cold up where you are?

we don't have that problem down here since it's so hot all of the time.

At 4:14 PM, Anonymous courtney said...

Oh. My. God. I think I would FREAK the hell out! That totally sucks.

At 3:34 PM, Blogger kristi said...

DAMN...talk about bad luck!


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