For the last several days my remote control has refused to open the gate.
Battery, I thought. I couldn’t, for the life of me, remember when I’d last changed the battery. Eight dollars later, yes I brought two, with new battery inserted, I drove full tilt at the gates, hit the remote … and nothing happened. Took out the battery, rubbed it down, reinserted it, pressed. Nothing. (I should add that there is another way to trigger the gates, so I was not completely trapped – just inconvenienced.)
I googled everything in sight on the internet, watched videos (by men – always by men), who went into extraordinary detail on the movements and mechanisms of gates and garage doors. I re-keyed, re-synchronized, rebooted, readjusted and re-calibrated a dozen times. Lights would flash … and nothing would happen.
I hate the idea of calling someone and paying for something I feel I should be able to fix myself, but I finally bit the bullet and called the gate company. Have you changed the battery (yes), is the motor running (yes), is the gate opening (yes), have you sworn at the gate (yes, several times, and I may have volunteered that information, rather than been asked.)
When the technician arrived, he took the large black box off the motor. After a great deal of close up inspection, the guy suddenly jumps back, alarmed. I, being curious, lean in.
And there, right in the dark depths of the motor is a rat. Very cute, very fluffy. Very big.
We prodded him/her with a stick to move them away. But no, this rat was not happy about the possibility of having to move home. And why should he/she? The nest looked cozy, was warm and dry and well-lived in and, with the exception of the daily gate trundling open and close, probably quiet too. However, maybe the rat was not too happy with the trundling: the reason the remote was not working was because the rat had eaten the wiring!
I have to ask myself what nutritional value is there in wiring? Curious, I had to find out. Thank you, google. It comes down to a teeth issue. Apparently rats teeth continue to grow throughout their lives. They need to chew on anything to file the teeth down and wiring just happens to be their favorite, especially narrow metal wires. Now he/she is having to relocate elsewhere.
I did not want to fill the nest with poison, I love animals to much, so instead I filled it with mothballs. (Again, thank you google.) So Operation Mothball is underway and hopefully my Gatekeeper will get the hint. The last time I looked, the nest was empty, though I did hear ominous rustling in the bushes, which might have been an indignant rat plotting more wire chewing revenge.
The gate technician was amazed that I was not frightened of rats. He thought it might have been do with the fact that I was English and wondered if there were a lot of rats in England. I assured him that England has less rats than America, but I was reminded of the very first horror novel I ever read, and the reason I became a writer: James Herbert’s, The Rats. You can read the interview here. http://www.melanieruthrose.com/blog/unbound-worlds-filaments-of-fiction
And here are the actual photos of my Gatekeeper!