What to do with an Unwanted Guest

Since we’ve lived in Spain, we’ve had a bunch of visitors.  Mothers, Uncles, Aunts, and even Cousins.  All of them wanted.  All of them welcome.  Yesterday though, we had a guest that was thoroughly unwanted.  I’ll give you the name in Spanish, and I will bet you’ll be able to translate…rata.  Yes, a rat!You are not welcome!

I bet you’re saying to yourself, “Ugh!  Eeeesh!  Ewww!”  Yes, it was bad.  Let me run down the particulars.  Now if you’re a P E T A person, you should probably stop reading now, because the net of the story is that I was not overly ethical when it came to my treatment of the rat.

This all began the day before.  I got up from the couch, and went into the kitchen, and something caught my eye as it ran/flew out of the kitchen.  I barely registered it, so I wasn’t sure if it was a rat or a bird.  I chose to believe that it was a bird.  I’m not rat-o-phobic, but it was just easier on my psyche to think that a bird just alighted from my kitchen.  When it’s warm, we keep the front door open, in order to get a nice cross-breeze, so it was able to fly fly away.

I looked in our laundry room for any sign, and then poked my head outside and didn’t see anything, so that reinforced my “It Must Have Been A Bird” Theory.  I didn’t think about it much until the following morning, when once again, I got up from the couch, went into the kitchen, and there he was again.  Definitely a rat!  Beady eyes, long thick tail, the works.  Only this time, he went into the kitchen, and not outside.


We didn’t stop to take a photo, so grabbed this one off the internet to give you the heebie jeebies too.

I grabbed a broom, and yelled out to Heidi to close the doors.  I wanted to keep the critter cornered in the kitchen so that it wouldn’t go into the main part of our apartment.  She closed the interior doors, and I made sure the front door was wide open.  My idea was to stun it, and then try to kill it outside.  Rats can carry some nasty diseases, so it was not my intention to let the little guy live.  Sorry, but with all of the kids and pets around the area, I didn’t want to take a chance.

Now the rat was in the corner, where I couldn’t see, hiding behind the trash can.  So I kicked the garbage can to give him a bit of a squeeze, and he didn’t like that so much, so he came out from behind, and it was GAME ON!  Now I would like to say that I wielded my broom with all of the skill of a samurai warrior, but that beastie was fast.  I succeeded in knocking him around a bit, but no significant blow was landed.

He got past me, and ran into the hall, and he was almost outside when I scored a direct hit, but it was with the bristles of the broom, so it only changed his mind, and bounced into the laundry room door.  The door wasn’t closed tightly, so when I swung the broom, it popped open the door, and my little guest was now in the laundry room.  CRAP!  I gave Heidi a bit of grief about not closing the door all the way, and then figured out the next course of action.

Laundry room AFTER it's been cleaned

This is what our laundry room looks like now. It was much more cluttered before, with beach chairs and umbrellas.

Now that I’ve spent some time against my opponent, I can give a good description.  From nose to tail, he’s about a foot long.  Not the biggest rat I’ve ever seen, but he’s sizeable.  I figure that I will give him the option of leaving voluntarily, so I pour a bit of water on the floor outside the door, double-check the kitchen and bathroom doors are shut, and then close the door behind me as I walk into the family room.  The idea behind the water is that I’d be able to see his tracks to know if he had left or not.

After about 30 minutes, I was tired of waiting.  He obviously didn’t take the hint that he was an unwanted guest, and I didn’t see any tracks leading outside.  Crap!  I’ve got to remove all the stuff out of the room, and get him out of there.  If he’s alive, I want him out, and if he’s dead, I still want him out, so I grabbed another pole, and started poking around.

Side Note from Heidi: Alan asked me to help and I froze!  I hid on the other side of the closed door with feet up on the couch, just waiting for it all to be over.  I guess you know what animals I can’t deal with.

I should also explain that our laundry room is TINY.  It’s maybe 4 feet by 5 feet, and it has a lot of stuff in it.  It’s cramped in there, and I was not thrilled with the prospect of him jumping on/over/around me in such a confined space.  I am so not looking forward to pulling all this stuff out, so I start poking at things in order to try and scare him out.  Over and over, it was poke and listen.  Poke and listen.  I wasn’t hearing any movement at all.  Damn damn damn.

I’m thinking he went behind the washing machine (crap!), so I ask Heidi to get me a flashlight.  With the weakest flashlight that I’ve ever used in hand, I peek down the side…no rat.  I’m not about to look down the back, because I just know that he’s going to jump out at me, so I shove the washing machine closer to the wall hoping to hear a squeak.  Nothing.  At this point, I figure it’s time to start pulling everything out, with the tip of the broom pole to keep my distance, and I’m hoping that he’s passed out from fear in a corner.

Once again, I poke at the thing I want to move, and then move it.  I’m not hearing ANYTHING, so I’m wondering in the back of my mind if he somehow got by me and is already outside.  I have to make sure though, so I continue pulling stuff out.  I have everything out of the room except for some big beach umbrellas.  I’ve been really poking the umbrellas this whole time to no avail, so he just HAS to be behind the washing machine.  I edge it out a bit, and I hear something.  OK…he’s behind it.  Be strong, and get the stick ready.

Once again, I look behind the washer, and nothing.  I do see a sizeable port on the back of the washing machine, and I think, “Crap!  How do I explain to our landlord that we have a rat in the washing machine?”  As I’m thinking this, my little adversary climbs out from the umbrella peering at me from the fringed edge, and once again, I fly into action.  I’m flailing away at him, and he’s running around the sink and trying to get away from me when I score the blow that knocks him to the ground, and I follow up with another shot that sends him flipping/flopping on the ground.

Side Note from Heidi: The entire time I can see Alan’s silhouette through the glass interior door, along with a “stick” being raised and lowered.  With a little jumping around visible and loads of BANG, BAP, BANG noises and a bit of “*!@*#!” words, I wait patiently on the couch in the other room.

It’s over!  I am the victor.  My superior intelligence (don’t laugh) and brawn (I said don’t laugh) have proven more than a match for my rodent enemy.  Now I need to figure out how to get him out of the room.  I’m sure as hell not picking him up, so I wind up using the broken dustpan.  He’s a heavy sucker, and I put him in a box when I notice he’s still breathing.  Shoot!  I close the box, and put something heavy on it, and put the box in front of our apartment while I go to get a bag.

I didn’t get the bag, but when I picked up the box, and lifted the flap, he was no longer on his side.  The little sucker had recovered, and he was glaring at me with his beady eyes!  I dropped the box, and slammed the broom into it a bunch of times.  I heard the flopping again, and saw his tail jiggling around, and knew he was dead.  Whew!  With that I threw him, the broom, the box, and the dustpan in the garbage.

Now that the hard work was done, Heidi went into clean up mode.  I didn’t know that she likes rats even less than I do, and she felt bad for not helping me during the battle.  She cleaned up everything, and was a good sport about the whole thing.

Side Note from Heidi: Alan is my HERO!

Now let this be a lesson to all those who would visit us.  If you become an unwelcome guest, your days are numbered.

EPILOGUE:  They have been doing a bunch of road construction recently down the street from us, and we’re thinking that’s the reason we had a little visitor.  I’m also writing this post about an hour before bed, and I’m a bit freaked out.  Guess what I’m probably going to be dreaming about?

P.S.:  Given our audience, I know that some of you are going to comment and tell me that the term is musophobia or murophobia.  Yes, Juan, I’m talking about you.

17 thoughts on “What to do with an Unwanted Guest

  1. Not to gross you out, but we saw a large DEAD one outside the door of our apartment building the other day. I was very happy about the DEAD part, but I hoped it would be the last one we would see around here – dead or alive! However my great phobia is…….. giant cockroaches! Do you have any where you live? We have so many! I even wrote a post about how to kick THOSE unwanted guests out on my blog (Happy Giant Cockroach Hunting, if you’re in the mood for checking it out…….).

    • UG! I remember about 18 years ago I was walking on Martinique and stepped off the curb, in my little sandals right on to a dead rat. I will never forget that SQUISH feeling underfoot.

      So we have lived in our place for a year now and have had no pest problems at all, that is until 2 weeks ago when all of the unwanted arrived.

      About 2 weeks ago,
      1. I walked into the kitchen and there was one big MOMMA cockroach on the wall. I screamed, jumped out and Alan took care of things.
      2. The following week, we had our rat experience. Again, Alan took care of things.
      3. The next morning a bird flew in to our house via the terrace and he couldn’t get out. He kept flying into the sliding glass door. I had to help guide him with our broom, so he could just move over 2 feet to get out the door. (Yeah, score one for Heidi)
      4. Yesterday I found about 5 of the tiniest ants I have ever seen on our laundry room floor. I had some spray, took care of them and all windows doors and crevices and they have not returned.
      5. A geiko decided to come visit on the back terrace, just near the door.
      6. Just about daily a neighborhood dog roams into our house for a quick visit. This never bothered me before, but after the rat I am jumpy with anything that moves.

      I hope that covers every possibility, I don’t like all of these unwanted guests!

      Lesson learned: Don’t leave the windows and doors open all of the time.
      Reality: It is to hot not to, so we still have everything open for that breeze.

    • Funny you say that. As we were trying to find the “big guy”, we were trying to think of who we knew had a cat. We came up empty handed, most of our friends have dogs or other pets. Anyway, we can’t have pets in our rental, plus we need to be “mobile ready” too. Hope you are doing well Jan!

  2. If you are ever up here you’re more than welcome to “camp” with us-even better, if you visit when my mam and stepdad are away you can stay there-they live in the same house albeit it’s self-contained! Seriously, it would be great to meet up with you some day; I often feel like I have more in common with my “cyber” friends, than my in person pals-I think it’s because I have found the likes of you guys because of my interests/sense of humour; it sounds harsh but sometimes I don’t think I would be friends with a lot of people if it wasn’t because of my daughters’ interests etc. it’s not that they are bad or anything, but it’s a bit like if you work in a nine to five job, they are acquaintances not really friends, if you know what I mean?

    • Oh how I know what you mean Melanie. It is difficult when your interest and passion is travel. You can’t really do that with everyone. I know when we first started our adventure we felt like the odd man out. Now that we are “in it”, we have found so many like minded people. It is so refreshing and we feel that instant bond with them. We are actually meeting up with a family tomorrow, that is here in our town scoping things out to potentially move here. They contacted us via the blog, so that is what I really like! Thanks for the invite and we’d love to meet you sometime too. Maybe one day we will all meet up and just have a big party somewhere.

  3. Wow, you are a bit further North than I expected. Since we are house and pet sitting, we can’t go out for more than 5 hours or so. We will be in Haywards Heath, so a bit south of London. If you happen to be in the area the last week of October, just give us a ping. Otherwise, we will try to get back up there again.

  4. I’m all for being overwhelmed the Wagoner Way-God I’m starting to sound like Fatal Attraction; it’s ok though, I do this on other travel blogs far bigger than yours! 😉

    • Just don’t come over and boil any rabbits on us. You can stalk us all you want and help make us one of those “bigger” sites. 🙂 We like you Melanie! Hey we got a house sit south of London for the last week of October. Where are you located?

      • Hi Heidi,sorry, the kids stole the laptop last night-we’re in Sunderland in the northeast not far from Durham. Would’ve loved the chance to meet up…..hmmm London sounds good!

    • Do you miss me Melanie? Alan is funnier than I am. I have been focusing on a few other projects the past few weeks and kids starting school etc. I will be in “writing” mode again next week. Of course Alan will continue as well. We are finding we have so much to write about, but don’t want to overwhelm everyone.

  5. LOL! Dude, you had me on stitches!! You were soo manly!

    I especially liked the part where you were all trying to kill her (rats are female in Spanish, no?) but then once she got in the laundry room and you realized that it was going to be a pain to get rid of her, you immediately changed tack and decided to let her leave the apartment “voluntarily” … BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

    You could give David Sedaris a run for his money 😉

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