We had a bit of excitement here this morning. We had the husband/wife team of Carlos and Suyapa working here, as they have been doing every Wednesday since December when I hurt my back and needed help with housework, and when our former gardener, Oscar, disappeared. Suyapa is a wonderful housekeeper, and her husband has proved to be a very hard-working yardman. They needed the income, so we kept Suyapa coming every week even after my back had healed up.
This morning, Suyapa was sweeping the concrete stairs and moved the small bag of trash that she had placed at the base of the steps. As she did so, she saw a rat!! Carlos was thinning out a bed of heliconia where the rat had been hiding, and the rat ran towards the stairs and ducked into a hole under the first step. Don jumped into action, ran into the house, grabbed the can of Mace (police grade, no less!), ran back out and sprayed into the hole. Unfortunately, both he and Carlos made the mistake of breathing and immediately began coughing. I ran to the kitchen door to see what was going on and caught a little whiff which caused me to cough. Don's hoping he sprayed enough of it to kill the rat. I hope so, too!
I did remind Don that he had sworn to not spray that again unless an actual intruder (human) was threatening us, after that unfortunate incident last year involving the howling cat and the pepper spray. He felt this was justified. For good measure, he tossed a handful of D-Con rat poison into the hole.
And, as if that isn't enough excitement, we still have a mouse in our house. It ate a hole in a corner of our screen door and got into the guest quarters/kitchen part of the house. We put out the tray of D-Con but cannot tell that he has eaten any. I haven't found any evidence that he has eaten anything in the kitchen either. Then Suyapa discovered lots of mouse poopoo behind the futon when she was sweeping. She suggested that I put the D-Con there and add some bits of cheese to the tray. She also told me how a mouse/rat had gotten into her house and had eaten the insulation in her stove. Her oven no longer works. Her mouse also had five babies in the walls of the oven. Suyapa took care of that by pouring boiling water on them and then got a cat who killed the mama mouse/rat.
I cannot tell you how wonderful it has been to have Suyapa working here one morning a week. I am so spoiled! She will clean anything I ask her to - windows, screens, cabinets, wood doors - all in addition to the regular dusting, sweeping, mopping, bathroom and kitchen cleaning. I don't ask her to clean all of these things each week, of course, usually just one extra thing. Whatever seems most in need. She will also clean things that she observes are in need of a cleaning - like the ceiling fans, without my asking. She generally works four hours; Carlos works eight. We pay them both more than the minimum wage here, which is about $15 for a day's labor. Can you imagine getting a maid in the United States to clean, even the most basic cleaning, for $15? I once had to have a cleaning lady in the U.S. and I think I paid her $50. for two hours work.
As an added bonus, Suyapa gets to practice her English and I learn more Spanish. She helps me communicate with Carlos who understand some English but doesn't speak it. It's been win/win for us.
Now I just need to be rodent-free.