The Thing that Lives on the Landing

As you lovely readers know, I have this fantastic new apartment, with my fancy sea view.  The place has just been refurbished, the furnishings are new, my landlords are fantastic and new friends.  I’m stupid lucky, right?

Well. Let me start with this:  my building is essentially 5 stories.  A basement, ground floor, and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd floors.  There is one apartment per floor (other than the basement, which until the other night, was a mystery to me.)  I live on the 3rd floor – or as I like to call it, the penthouse.  Heh.

I moved into my place shortly before it was done, and understandably, there was a pile of building scraps, tools, trash, etc., on my landing. A few nights after I moved in, Clover started to whine and paw at the inside of my front door.  Weird, but OK.  When we went out for the evening walk, she went crazy sniffing the trash, and digging her nose into the piles.

Which is when I realized there was a Thing Living on the Landing.

My lovely building.

There are street cats all over Istanbul, and I was really, really hoping that there was a kitten living in the pile.  Completely legitimate, right??  Well, three nights ago, around 11 pm, I opened my front door and saw It.  Not a cute kitten, but a rat.  Oh, God.  I told my landlords the next morning, and they immediately had the trash on my landing removed, which was great.  I then swept and mopped that landing with enough highly floral scented soap to repel anything that prefers sewers.  Or so I thought.

The next evening, I went out with a friend, and came home around 11ish.  As I was walking up the stairs, The Thing came scampering down, almost running over my foot.  Let me just say that it took a huge amount of energy not to emit a blood curdling scream.  I quickly opened my front door, and somehow Clover managed to get out.  And of course, charged down the stairs after It, right into the dark scary basement.

So, here I am in my dress and heels, trying very hard not to wake my neighbors, trying my best authoritative, get-your-ass-OUT-of-the-basement-and-AWAY-from-The-Thing, CLOVER! whisper.  Needless to say, that didn’t work.

So, yep, I go back upstairs, get her leash, the flashlight (that I’m very clever to have brought from home), put on my flip flops, and head down to the basement.  As basements go, it was dark, scary, at least one Thing-infested, and spidery-webby.  Did I mention it was really dark?

I finally retrieve Clover, and literally pull her up the stairs, and shove her outside so she won’t pee in the house over her excitement.  At this point, two of my neighbors come out to see what the commotion is about.  This was not my ideal scenario to meet the neighbors. I was picturing me bringing them apple pie, them bringing me baklava.  So, I’m my little black dress, but now streaked with dirt.  Clover is totally excited.  And I don’t know Turkish.

So, I’m half apologizing, half trying to say “THERE’S A FREAKING RAT LIVING IN THE BUILDING!!” I manage to say hayvan, which just means animal.  I’m wildly pantomiming the size of The Thing, and motioning that it has a long tail.  Of course I’m using my hands to show where a tail would be on me.  Frankly, they could have thought I was saying that I was an animal that farts alot.  Oh, God.

Anyway, I think they got it, and I think we somehow “discussed” the virtues of Thing traps vs. poisons.  And they were very gracious about the whole thing.  But didn’t seem to understand why I didn’t want to let Clover loose in the building to hunt.

I get it.  I live in an old city.  With old buildings.  “Things” happen.  And my landlords have promised to get a pest control company out, ASAP.  I do love them.

Again, I said I wanted adventure.  I didn’t exactly image this, but it’s all part of the grand package, right?  And I’m rolling with it.  Without screaming.



6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. annagrassini
    Jun 11, 2011 @ 10:09:51

    OMG! Brings memories of being in Rome. In 2002 my mom was sick and had spent a lot of time at the hospital. She was finally home and I was helping take care of her. One morning around 9 am I walk into the kitchen and I hear noises. There are lots of burglars in Rome –but I think “Oh no! Not this time…if you guys think you are going to come in and get away with it at 9am in the morning you have another thing coming.” I am in seriously combative mood and ready to assault anyone who has dared arrive in the kitchen of our fancy apartment in the middle of beautiful Rome. My hands are on my hips, I am ready to take on any human and do battle–and it is going to be a verbal battle and I am going to dress them down and they are going to see that there are better things to do than burglarize someone’s house in open daylight…
    And then I see it. A Norwegian Rat longer than a baseball bat when you consider the tail, and he is scampering out of my kitchen (luckily, away from me and towards the backyard). I run to the other side of the apartment and scream in Italian….”Mamma, mamma, come si dice exterminator?”
    Sad to tell you that it takes a year to get rid of that kind of infestation–and that apparently the Norwegian rats are aggressive and dominant…and incredibly smart. They send out their elders to test food: if the elder dies, they don’t touch similar bait. That means humans have to keep changing the bait (color, taste etc) until the entire family comes out and eats it. Glad to report that there are no rats in the apartment in Rome now…but it took a while!
    On a more general note–do people in Istanbul feed the stray cats? They do in Rome and it drives my mother crazy because those cats should be going after the rats, not being fed by humans…
    Oh, the joys of living in the world!
    Hang in there!
    Life is Amazing! Live well.
    Anna Grassini


  2. Anneliese
    Jun 11, 2011 @ 11:20:45

    Too bad you didn’t have a taser gun handy. I mean if it works on bats…


  3. Bill Shirley
    Jun 11, 2011 @ 11:45:12

    Depriving Clover of the Hunt. Bad owner.


  4. Julie
    Jun 12, 2011 @ 02:14:37

    Not sure if you ever saw the post of the 12 inch (dinner plate sized) spider we came home to one night. People here are just way more comfortable with “the outside being inside” – yikes! And we have a tree python living by our BBQ. Deep breaths. : ). I miss you and we may be in your neck of the woods for a holiday soon – I’ll keep you updated!!!! Miss you and I’m do excited for you!!


  5. Avril Light
    Jun 12, 2011 @ 14:19:00

    Hahaha! Hi Jess, remember, poor Thing is petrified of you AND Clover. I feel sorry for him/her and would gladly rescue him/her from you PREDATORS!!! ;^)))


  6. Mindy
    Jun 12, 2011 @ 16:40:21

    oh, the adventure! thanks for the laughs!


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