Friends here have a rental house on acreage. Their tenant, new to Hawaii, keeps calling them to complain: the doors stick (humidity), the roof leaks (it rains all the time there), there’s a rat in the laundry room. My friend says, “Get a trap. When it’s dead, I prefer to pick it up by the tail with tongs. You can fling it down the hill or put it in the trash, your call. Just be prepared that the tail might come off.”
The tenant says, “Ewwww!” and my friend’s husband says, “Perhaps we are not the landlords for you.” But what he’s really thinking is, “Perhaps Hawaii is not for you…”
Last week our cat, Lili, was circling a bag on the kitchen floor. I picked it up and underneath was the biggest centipede I’ve ever seen. I was thankful she didn’t get stung. The next night, Lili was staring at the floor where I was going back-and-forth clearing the table, and I almost stepped on the second centipede. Mike said, “I told you they always travel in pairs!” We keep a pair of kitchen tongs handy to catch them, then flush them down the toilet.
Last summer there was a terrible mice invasion in Kula and Kihei. Our friends with acreage caught over 3,000 mice. They gave up on traps and the husband cleverly designed a barrel with water in it and a tight-rope system above, where the mice fell in and drowned. He should probably patent it. And now the mice are starting in again!
People don’t realize how wild it is here. When they move to Hawaii they are picturing sandy beaches and mai-tais. So they think the first run-in is a fluke. After that, they believe they can somehow be exempt from swarming termites, centipedes, rats, mice and ants. By the way, the ants have set up housekeeping in the cracks in our wood floors where the termites broke through:
And Mike catches rats in his shop with regularity.
Another friend clicks her tongue and sends her two dogs on a “hunt” for centipedes through the house every evening. She was stung this past winter and her foot swelled with poison that no amount of antibiotics touched for weeks.
Sure enough, the tenant above who said, “Ewww,” about the rat, is now talking about moving back to the mainland.
It takes a certain kind of person to live where the wild things are…
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