(okay, so there are absolutely no not-gross pictures when you google “pest control,” so here’s a random picture of NYC)
It all started when we got a bunch of charges on our property tax bill for extermination by the city last week.
Wait, didn’t we do that in October and fight the violation for it in January?? Why do we have a charge every single month since December?
I checked on the Dept of Finance’s website, which only had 311 listed as their contact number. 311 was actually super helpful. They asked a bunch of relevant questions and ended up giving me the number for the Dept of Pest Control and Billing.
I called and a guy who mumbled most of the time picked up. I tried to explain my situation calmly and had to keep reminding myself not to get too worked up about the fact that we had a few hundred extra dollars of charges. Not to mention a charge from a different department for some emergency repair of something that never happened (which the pest control dept couldn’t help me with of course and told me to call 311 to get the Dept of Housing Preservation and Demolition).
So I asked the guy what the charges were for and he said bait boxes.
To which I replied, what bait boxes?
To which he replied, we keep replenishing the bait boxes because they keep being emptied.
To which I replied, why would you keep putting more bait in the boxes and attracting rats to our house?
To which he replied, Leggett. Talk to Leggett. I will tell him to call you.
Uh, okay. How do you spell his name?
He spelled it.
And he’s going to call me?
Okay, thank you.
I hung up and called right back.
Hi, I said, I’m looking for Leggett. Is he available?
No, he’s in the field.
Then I went into my long rambly speech about the charges and the bait boxes and the exterminator we already had come and the violation we fought–
What’s your number ma’am? I will tell him to call you?
Oh good, thanks, does he also have an email address?
He left for a few minutes then read off Leggett’s email address.
I hung up and immediately opened A new browser. I called my contractor to see if there was a bait box (he didn’t see one) and then began to pen an email.
I received a phone call the next day from Mr. Leggett.
Hi, I heard you sent me an email, he said. I haven’t had a chance to read it but my office called and told me to call you.
Yes, thanks for calling me back. Then I went into my whole thing about us not seeing a bait box and why we needed one there in the first place.
I’m going to your house now, he said. But the reason I would have put a bait box there is because there was still evidence of rats coming in and out of the house.
But we had an exterminator come by twice, we cleaned out the place, and it’s an active construction zone.
Doesn’t matter, he said. I’m in front of your house now. Oh, I remember this house. I used to come here all the time. Didn’t it used to be covered in trash?
Haha, yeah. We just bought it last August.
Oh okay, nice. Great investment. So yeah, I see the bait box right here in the front and I actually put paper in the burrow. If the paper is disturbed, that means the rats are still coming in and out.
Yeah, I can come by again and show you when you’re here. This is my area so I’m here every day.
That would be awesome! Thank you!
So a few days after the snow melted, we set up a time to meet at the house with my contractor.
I met him there with a sprained knee and a cane.
Doing Zumba, I said when he asked.
Oh you didn’t have to come all the way out here!
No, I wanted to meet you and thank you.
First, he showed us the hole in the front yard. This paper I put in here last week hasn’t been disturbed, you see. That means you can cover it up with concrete now.
I have some concrete in the house now, my contractor said. I’ll do that today.
Thank you both.
Then my contractor gestured towards the house. I’ve also seen a few rats running around the backyard. Can you come and take a look?
Oh yeah, no problem, Mr. Leggett said. We take him through the first floor and down to the basement, the only way into the yard.
My contractor points to what I now recognize as burrows lining the wall where the laundromat and our backyard meet.
Mr. Leggett sniffs the air. You guys don’t smell that?
All of Bushwick used to smell like this. The South Bronx smells like this now. Bushwick still has a huge rat problem, huge, but it’s a lot better.
Well that’s good.
Yeah, I think I have a spare bait box in my van. Let me grab it. We will bait the area, then I’ll be back sometime next week to stuff the burrows with paper. If the paper is disturbed, we bait again, if not, you should seal it up.
I was now familiar with the routine.
Wow, thanks, you’re the best.
My daughter sprained her knee last week. She’s been trying to convince me she needs to miss a week of school because of it.
I laugh. It doesn’t sound like she convinced him.
My contractor and I walked Mr. Leggett out of the house. He said he would be by in about a week.
We waved him off.
Mr. Leggett is Mr. Legit as far as I’m concerned.