"What rats?" I asked them, in all innocence. I told them they were cute little kittens, but it still made them nervous.
And then others griped that the legs of their chairs were poking through the termite-eaten floors, the smell of a natural-gas leak (I've been meaning to put some duct tape over that rusty pipe in the basement) was making everyone whoozy, and when the lights flickered and went out — after a cascade of sparks from the fuse box in the hallway — well, the evening was pretty much shot. They didn't even stay for dessert — a nice platter of Circus Peanuts, served with toothpicks.
Here's a photo taken by my insurance company (click on it if you really want a better view), when those bastards canceled my homeowner's policy and tried to declare the Lauderdale Mansion "a public nuisance." Hmmm, maybe they've got a point. You know, a fresh coat of paint ought to do wonders for the old place. But the vase of flowers on the little table at the right is a nice start, though.