There are R.O.U.S.’s (rodents of unusual size… and strength) inhabiting my kitchen.
Halloween day was pretty uneventful and I wasn’t ready to let my favorite holiday pass without a decent scare, so I suggested we watch a horror movie. After Chris accidentally rented the porno version of Insidious (yikes), we finally found the right film and watched half of it until Britton had the sense to suggest we stop intentionally scaring ourselves and go to bed. Little did Chris and I know, the horror had just begun.
As I was laying in bed somewhere between sleep and consciousness, I heard a commotion in the kitchen. I tried convincing myself that it was Mo (who was in the bathroom with the door closed) and tensely laid in bed listening. Then I heard something heavy moving around our apartment–something that was definitely not Mo. I bravely crept out of bed and poked around until I found evidence of an invader. Beneath the kitchen cabinet I found metal shavings and poop with an accompanying hole. We weren’t dealing with just any rat–we were dealing with a ROUS–one that could chew through metal and in to our apartment for heaven’s sake!!!
I tried to wake up Chris, but he is a very heavy sleeper. If he weren’t, he would be chronically sleep deprived—I have a tendency to sleep talk and walk. As I was trying to reason with my groggy husband that there really was a rat, and no… I didn’t imagine it, and yes… I’m actually awake and not sleep talking, the culprit scurried behind the bed. All hell broke loose and the war was on.
We battled the rat for an hour. After finally chasing him out of our bedroom, we huffed and puffed to close our bedroom door (a slider that’s on a broken track and is REALLY hard to to open/close). With the rat confined to the living room, Chris tried to smash the rat with a frying pan, which he quickly traded for a chair when the rat scaled our 8 foot curtains. After Chris repeatedly bashed the chair against the window, the rat dropped and ran for the bedroom door.
Our moment had come. He was hopelessly scraping at the spot where our impossibly heavy bedroom door met the wall. Chris was ready to bring his frying pan guillotine down on the fleabag when it disappeared into our room. Inconceivable! We weren’t dealing with any rat. This one had super-rodent Chinese strength.
Chris and I spent considerable time trying to open the same door wide enough to allow ourselves in, giving the rat a considerable second advantage over us, but we eventually hunted him down and took him down. It was a bit like The Princes Bride when Chris repeatedly bludgeoned the ROUS with a random piece of wood (the previous owners left some strange stuff). He lacked the gallant heroism as The Dread Pirate Roberts since he was mumbling, “I’m going to die” the whole time. The grand finale would have involving scorching the rat in a flame spurt, but our apartment smelled bad enough from the rat, so instead we threw him out our 22nd story window. Then Chris dry heaved for 20 minutes while I sanitized.
Finally at three am, with our apartment in shambles, we dragged our bed back to place and tried to sleep. The rat had more effect on our dreams than any horror movie ever could. Chris kept lurching awake yelling, and I dreamt that rats disguised as rabbits were falling from the ceiling onto our bed. It was very disturbing stuff.
Poor Mo didn’t get much attention from either of us the next day. His scraping sounds and little furry body occasionally brushing against our feet got him accidentally kicked a couple of times. Chris kept threatening to throw him out the window too, but he didn’t get the chance since we had to leave for Beijing. We quarantined off the kitchen (which oddly has a door although it’s not big enough to even qualify as a closet) and hoped for the best.
We got back yesterday to discover that the rat infestation continues. The kitchen countertop is covered in tiny little paw prints that track across the cooktop and pan I left on the stove, and my butter has freakish teeth marks in it. The Chinese moon cakes, which I left as bait, are untouched (I guess we aren’t the only ones with the sense not to eat those things).
Now I remain fearful of my own kitchen. I wear special “contaminated” shoes upon entry and am in the process of carefully removing everything and bleaching it in the bathroom. Our landlord says it’s our problem, so I guess I’m going to bid my kitchen adieu and brace myself for 7 months of Chinese takeout and doing dishes in the bathroom sink. Sob.