Of Rats and Jen (Inactive)

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

Lola’s Big Adventure; and, Rust Spreads

Filed under: Knitting,Rats! — folkcat at 6:00 pm on Wednesday, October 24, 2007

We had some excitement with Lola over the weekend. To help the Rattie Sisters get the attention they need, when Gryphon is home on the weekends he tries to spend some one-on-one Daddy time with them. Usually he does this by bringing one of the cages in on the bed with him while he relaxes and reads or watches TV.

This Sunday, he had brought Lola in for a session. Meanwhile, I was at my computer in the living room, logged into Second Life, doing a little shopping for cool clothes. Suddenly, Gryphon was standing at my shoulder, announcing that he’d fallen asleep with Lola’s cage open, and didn’t know where she was now.

Holy crap. Lola isn’t like Sable, who could “free range” safely because she didn’t really, well, free range. Sable always stays carefully within a perimeter that doesn’t take her too far from home. If this had been Sable out while Gryphon fell asleep, he’d likely have woken up to find her curled up on his chest.

But no, it was Lola, and Lola knows no boundaries, nor any fear. Gryphon wasn’t sure how long he’d been asleep, either, so who knew where she’d gotten to?

I logged out of Second Life, and we began the search. Our apartment is tiny, but stuffed to the gills with boxes and stacks of our belongings and craft supplies. She could be anywhere. We wandered all over, calling her name, shaking a bag of treats, listening carefully.


I suddenly had a flash memory. Earlier that afternoon, as I sat at the computer, I’d felt something brush my right foot. I looked down right away, but saw nothing, and dismissed it as probably my pants hem moving as I shifted my leg. But what if it had been Lola? We looked all around under my desk, but couldn’t find any evidence that she was there.

Gryphon was heartsick, I was panicked. Surely we’d have heard something if she was all right? We finally decided we had to stop actively looking, and tried to just relax, hoping that as things quieted down she’d come out on her own. We put her cage, open, on the living room floor, with a couple of treats next to it on the carpet.

We sat talking in the living room, trying to think about things like what to do for dinner. Eventually, we heard a noise in the corner of the room. Behind my desk. The very desk I’d been sitting at when something brushed my foot.

I sat on the floor in front of my desk, and stared into the corner. A cable moved. Aha!

The left end of my desk has a built-in bookcase, but we don’t use it, because the only place to put the desk was in a corner. Lola was tucked away in that bookcase, which probably felt like a spacious, empty Rattie condo. And she was nibbling at a network cable.

We pulled away a piece of furniture that would let us get back there. I crawled under the desk, and offered a treat. Lola came out the back, and I grabbed her and stuffed her in her cage.

Gryphon then took over, extracting the network cable Lola had attacked. There were nibbled out sections over a length of about two feet, and several went clean through some of the wires. Luckily, in an IT-happy household like ours, spare cables are plentiful, and he was able to plant a new one immediately.*

So, Lola got a major taste of freedom, we had a good scare, and all’s now well with the Rattie world. Oh, yes – even with Sable. She’s been feeling more outgoing and energetic lately, and while she still demands time curled up on my hand, it’s not as persistent and longlasting. She’s also eating on her own more readily, and not so much needing me to offer her the food from my fingers.

In spite of all the Rattie drama, I’ve actually managed to squeeze in some knitting time on the Rusty Entrelac Bag. I reached a point yesterday where I ran out of the lighter red yarn, and had to stop. Today, Gryphon and I went to the LYS and picked up what should be all the yarn I need to complete the bag.

Rusty Entrelac Bag, Tier 4

That’s a skein of the lighter red (already rolled and being worked with), one of the darker (because I know what I have left won’t be enough), and one of Manos del Uruguay in black, for the base of the bag. The black will represent the unrusted iron, and will also make the colors in the rest of the bag thoroughly pop, don’t you think?

I should be able to continue work on the Rusty Entrelac Bag now until it’s all knit, including the i-cord handles. Then, I just have to get around to felting three bags in the washing machine. Or figure out the next whatever to knit for Christmas!

*Special note about Rattie chewing safety: Rats actually have a mechanism in their throats that prevents them from swallowing non-edible items that they chew. Otherwise, they’d have a real problem chewing through thick wooden beams as they’re sometimes known to do! Lola came to no harm from her chewing – the only casualty was the network cable. And even then, only that section she chewed on – Gryphon owns the parts and tools for cutting out the bad piece and putting new ends on.

It’s also no particular surprise that Lola chose a network cable to chew on – studies have shown that computer network cables emit frequencies that rats find particularly attractive. This has been a real problem even in some very modern buildings when rats have happened to get under the floors in the IT centers.


Comment by Carol

October 24, 2007 @ 9:18 pm

Ooo! Glad Lola was found safe and sound! At first I thought maybe the reason you rinternet was spotty was because Lola had chewed throught he wire. Not so, huh?

Comment by Elspeth

October 25, 2007 @ 9:19 pm

What a story! And I liked the history of rats and network cables too. You learn something new every day! Gorgeous bag as well!

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