I was changing in the gym locker room the other day, when I overheard some woman blathering on about her vacation to her beach house and how her perfect holiday was ruined because they heard some critter in the wall. And they couldn’t possibly think of setting one foot in the house… with some vile creature lurking in their blessed abode….

And I thought to myself: snob. Vacation-home owning princess. Chicken.

Scared off by a little skittering in the wall. Please. Get over yourself.

But the next day I traipsed up to our attic to straighten up and spied a long-deceased, severely decomposed rat.

The largest rat I’d ever seen in my life.

Immediately, I retreated and ordered Martin to do his husbandly duties — get that thing out of the house instantly! Even though the mangled vermin was long dead — likely a victim of the February’s pest control call — I couldn’t bring myself to venture back into the attic. The image of the super-sized rat was burned into my mind.

Apparently it had the same effect on Martin who immediately called pest control for a follow up visit. And he was downright giddy when he phoned today to say that the pest control guy inspected our petrified rat carcass and announced that it wasn’t a rat. It was a squirrel.

What a relief! Just a cute, fuzzy, acorn-stashing squirrel that lost its way.

Some say that squirrels are nothing but rats with bushy tails. But I disagree. Rats are dirty, sinister, disease ridden vermin. Squirrels are cute and fuzzy! So what if it’s all about the tail?

The second nugget of news: not only is the house rodent-free but Martin’s office — the original “Mouse House” — is not infested either. The source of recent scratching and scrabbling that we heard is none other than the barn cats, commuting through a roof breezeway that connects the hay loft to the milk parlor.

So for those keeping track in 2010, it’s Martin and Jo: 1. Nature: 0.