So, before I tell my Nathan story, I’d like to mention that Joshua Harris himself must’ve found my comment about the youth group boys wanting me to burn “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” in the Christmas survey. I don’t know how or why, but this is what I have to say about it.
1. Are you happy now, youth group boys?!!!!
2. Sorry for my youth group, Mr. Harris.
3. My husband was my first date and my first kiss. Not dating turned out great for me, because I ended up waiting for the most excellent man I’ve ever met. So, thank you for “I Kissed Dating Goodbye”. It inspired me.
4. But I date now.
Okay, that’s out of the way. Nathan story:
Nathan and I lived in the loft of a barn one summer. We had gone to stay with Nate’s family and work on his dad’s land, and the best place for us was in this loft. I rigged up a closet out of old sheets and plywood, hung dried flowers from the ceiling, and laid out some wood and cinder blocks for our blow-up mattress to lay across without actually touching the floor. The reason I didn’t want the mattress to sit directly on the floor will perhaps best be addressed by the outcome of the rest of the story. After my story is finished, you will think that I did not set the bed off the floor high enough.
One side story before I get into it, though: I have a gigantic fear of heights. Having to do with a bad childhood experience involving cliff faces and the Grand Canyon. Thanks, mom. Anyway, the only way to get into the loft was this ladder and if, for some reason, a freak gust of wind should somehow blow you off the ladder, you would fall 10 feet before being impaled on boat trailer hitch. I tried to climb the ladder, I really did. I just didn’t succeed to the top. So, Nathan tried very hard to set up a wheelie-harness system to get me to the top of the loft. HA HA! Oh my gosh, I laugh so hard to think about it… Me set up with a logging harness around my waist and a rope that went through a ghetto wheelie system connected to the ceiling. Then Nathan would hold the other end of the rope and pathetically try to hoist me up to the top while his slippery sandals made his legs bow and slide along the floor under my weight… BWA HA HA! What were we thinking? Was I going to call out to him every time I wanted to go up and he come running to hoist me up? Or, the most obvious question that remains…how was this possibly safer than me just climbing the stupid ladder? He was so sweet, he spent hours setting it up, only to attempt it for 10 minutes. Then we just moved a cabinet over and it made a step that I could take to get to the top without getting scared. That only took 5 minutes. After he did that, he spoke to himself, saying, “Don’t think harder, Nathan…Think smarter.” He looked at me. “My dad used to tell me that.” Smirked.
Anyway, we were falling asleep one night on our little blow-up mattress when we heard a squeak of a mouse. This was definitely not the first time we had heard those squeaks. But they were always downstairs. I mean, we were in a barn. So we ignored it. But we heard it a couple more times.
I rolled over to Nate, “Nate…um, that kind of sounded like the squeak was NOT downstairs.”
All-knowingly and tired sounding, “Lauren, I heard it, too. I don’t think they can get up here.”
That’s when a board fell over in the corner followed by a long squeak.
I pulled the covers over my head. The sheets were apparently going to protect me from a humongous, black plague-infected barn rat. Nate leapt up, put on his boots and grabbed the flashlight and beebee gun beside the bed (We shot at cans from bed, sometimes. I don’t know. It was good practice.). I have this funny image in my head of Nate standing with that beebee gun in his underwear, with huge work boots on, and this wide eyed look on his face as he spotted the enormity of the rat in our loft.
The rat was still between some boards so I couldn’t see what was going on. This made the commentary from Nathan all the more interesting followed by the soundtrack from the rat itself:
“It’s HUGE! I’ve never seen a rat that big! Um, it has a bushy tail and it’s definitely bigger than a squirrel. Oh, that’s gross.”
He shot at it. Squeak and scratching noises that proved to me the rat was indeed sizeable.
“My beebee didn’t even affect it! WHOA!”
He shot 4 more times. 7 times. Squeak short. Major scratching around now. Squeak long.
“This thing is incredible! It’s like…invinceable. Ah!”
10 shots. Raspy breathing from rat. Scratch. Squeak.
“Ew. I think I got it in the eye. Oh wait, no, it’s still going.”
5 more times. Silence from the rat.
“Um, Lauren? I can’t really see. Will you come hold the flashlight?”
“HECK NO!”
“It’s not moving. I’m pretty sure it’s dead.”
“It’s dead? ARE YOU SURE?”
“Pretty sure. Wait… Yeah. It is.”
So I carefully got up and took the flashlight. As soon as the light hit the rat, it raised up on it front legs and opened it mouth and HISSED at us!!! First of all, it was the size of a small cat. Secondly, it had fangs with blood dripping off of them when it hissed. You can probably imagine our reactions. We fuh-reaked out.
Nate shot at it while yelling disgustedly a few more times. Then it was really dead. We celebrated our victory.
“Did you see that??!!! It was like straight out of a horror movie!! It was great! I LOVE OREGON!!” Nate feverishly cried out in victory.
I love that man. He was pretty funny.
Also, I went home that summer with a mysterious clump of hair that stuck out from the side of my head. I had to hide it with my other hair for 2 months. Coincidence? I think not. I think the dead rat’s friends had sweet revenge by crawling across my face and chewing off my hair. I prefer not to think about that now…

woodrat.gif
The bushy tailed woodrat, common to the Northwest U.S. Gets up to 17 inches long. I wasn’t joking when I said it was the size of a small cat.

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