Sunday, October 06, 2002

The War of the Rat

October 6, 2002

1st night: CRASH!! I am jolted out of my sleep by a loud noise coming from the kitchen area. Aaron continues to sleep soundly. My heart pounding, I wait to hear footsteps, thinking someone is in the apartment. I debate on waking my exhausted husband and decide to let him sleep. Silently, I pray for our computer and printer, that whoever is there will not take it. Then I pray for our own safety. After 30 minutes of hard listening, I decide that maybe one of the dishes fell and no one is there. Our floor is so poorly made no one could walk across it without loud creaking sounds. In the morning, Aaron wakes up early to get ready for work. I hear a loud “Ramona!” coming from the hall. Aaron stands near the kitchen door holding up our bread bag with a huge hole through both bags and a large chunk of bread missing. I poke my head in the kitchen and see dishes scattered on the floor, and a trail of white dust coming from behind the fridge. “I think we have a rat”, Aaron comments. I look at the size of the teeth marks in the bag and agree.

2nd night: “I’m going to try the water bucket method”. Aaron is gathering the needed supplies and filling our mop bucket with water. I look at him skeptically as he places a thin board on the edge of the table with a piece of bread and peanut butter on the end. “You see, the rat should walk out on the board to get the food, then fall into the bucket of water below it and drown,” he explains to me. I imagine a very wet and angry rat greeting us in the morning from our mop bucket, and tell Aaron he has the job of getting rid of it if his method works. 2 am and a splash is heard from the kitchen. Aaron and I race out to find the board in the bucket, but no rat.

3rd night: We are getting worried as our guest from Seattle is arriving tomorrow and her room is located next to the kitchen. After 3 hours of searching, we have finally found a heavy duty metal rat trap, strong enough to do some serious damage. It has large teeth on the edge and looks like it could take the head off any rodent. Aaron carefully bates the trap, attesting to its effectiveness when he catches his finger in it leaving several bloody wounds on his poor first knuckle. The next morning, bread and peanut butter are gone, but the trap is not sprung. Not only that, but our pet has now taken a bite out of every apple and tomato in our produce basket ruining the whole lot. From the size of the teeth marks this is one huge animal. I suggest rat poison, but Aaron is afraid of not finding the body until the smell leads us to it.

4th night: We apologize profusely to Andrea, a lovely girl who studied with Aaron at the University of Washington. “We have a critter living with us”, Aaron explains nervously. I had told him earlier that it would be a good cultural experience for our guest, and not to worry because Andrea is a world traveler. 4 am and we hear the trap spring. After several nights of little sleep Aaron doesn’t want to crawl out of our warm bed to investigate. Ten minutes later a horrendous noise begins as the rat goes through its death throes. We wait till no noise comes from the kitchen then Aaron bravely marches out to find out what we cought. He quickly returns to the bedroom, a look of disgust on his face. “It’s the biggest rat I have ever seen” He exclaims. Shivers run up my back as I think of what we have been living with the last few nights. With gloved hands, Aaron double bags the creature and we throw it into the nearby trash bin across the street. Our guest states she needed to use the restroom, but heard the rat and was too afraid to venture from her room till we had taken care of it.

What amused me most about our adventure was the reaction of my Russian coworkers. Their horror and disgust was greater than mine. The ambulance crew from my clinic was ready to drive over to our place and take care of our little problem the first day I talked about it. I had every advice from what kind of poison to use, to what kind of trap to buy. Someone even offered to loan me their cat, although I think the cat would have been terrified of what we caught. Whatever the case, it is dead and gone, and hopefully none of its relatives will follow.

Blessings to all of you! Sleep tight.