Stuff of nightmares

October 3rd, 2010 by: cheyenne

This may be an old story to some but I haven’t officially told it here so those of you who do not know what on earth I am talking about, be glad of your opportunity to pass this one up. I kid not; I have traumatized no fewer than every single person who I’ve told about this. I guess it’s my way of dealing with the personal horror: spread it out evenly amongst everyone I know and perhaps I can get on with my life.

*** [LAST CHANCE]***

Okay. Here we go. Once upon a time Ronin had to use the potty. It was week two perhaps of her sudden potty-trained existence and so I hopped-to the moment I hear her say the word. We hustled on into the bathroom, and as I reached for the green turtle seat and lifted the lid ..

There. In the toilet bowl, sitting in the water, LOOKING up at us, was a monster black beady-eyed sewer rat. And it started thrashing around (presumably I scared it.. HA!). I shrieked and recoiled; Ronin was startled, to say the least–her face was even closer to the thing than my own when I lifted the lid. After a few seconds, I regained my senses and threw the lid closed before it could figure out how to jump.

“OKAY! Let’s go pee in the backyard!” I told Ronin, hustling her toward the back door. Ronin is always game for going in the backyard and happily peed on her favorite board.

Once back in the house, I was still shaking with adrenaline. The first thing I did was grab the camera to get a photo. (This is what you would have done, right?) Behold:

It’s big! Can you believe it?

To get that photo, I sloowwly lifted the lid with the lens of the camera until I had it in my view and quick took the picture, slamming the lid back down. Then I flushed the toilet a few times. I gave it another peek and it was just standing there straddling the hole in the bottom while the water rushed around all “Whatevs.” It was clearly not going to go back down the way it came. It began to thrash around again so I put Ronin’s stool on the lid, then one of Joshua’s heavy software books.

Once I was relatively sure it could not escape (not OUT of the toilet certainly), I sprung into action. I fired off a mildly hysterical email to Joshua. Then, I posted my photo to Facebook.

Ronin was very excited and kept nattering on about the rat in the potty: “What is the rat doing in the potty, mama? Is he PEEING?” Periodically, we would hear the rat bustling about, and then at one point, it started squeaking. (GAH!) “I think he is looking for his mama,” said Ronin.

Meanwhile I discussed possible courses of action with alert Facebook friends. Mostly, they just wrote to let me know how hysterical they found the situation, and offered their advice on how to get it out. More unfortunately, I had to pee, and the backyard wasn’t going to cut it. Luckily I had an errand to run so I took Ronin, and left the house.

I didn’t want Joshua to forget about our unwelcome guest, maybe mosey into the bathroom, mind elsewhere, flip up the lid.. Here’s what I left for him:

[ps – Note I still hadn’t cleaned out Ronin’s hairbrush. Our bathroom is a regular gallery of horrors.]

When I got home, Joshua was home, and the rat was taken care of. Joshua whipped the toilet lid up and popped a large Nancy’s yogurt container over the thing before it had a chance to react. Then he slid the lid under, duct taped it up, and then we drove it to a nice sun-dappled place in the forest where there was a bounty of glistening sewers for it to make a new home. No, not really. I hate to say it but that sewer rat came up the wrong damned pipe.

So, yeah. Rats coming up into your toilet through the sewer = NONFICTION. Sewers are almost never flooded with water and so they act as a bustling rat super-highway. Apparently, if you have less than five feet of vertical pipe leading up to your toilet, it’s possible for a rat to scale the pipe, then all he has to do is swim the little boop-a-dooer vapor-lock deely and PRESTO! Surprise for you!

I’ll wait while you climb down into your basement right now with your tape measure to just check up on that.


It’s been a month or so and Ronin still talks about the rat. “I’m going to flush down the poop and the pee for the rat to eat mama, okay?” Yeah, kid; you do that. I’m just happy that she wasn’t traumatized out of being potty-trained; she seems to not have been affected at all.

Not me though. I have a hard time peeing in the night. Actually, I flash the light on/off super fast to just get a glimpse of the bowl and be sure my eyes were not playing tricks on me. It practically gives me a seizure to do it but the thought that another rat could have found its way up our pipes again and I SAT ON IT makes my brain quiver.

And then I stumble back into my warm bed, calmed, secure. And with the sight of that empty clean toilet bowl permanently burned into my eyeballs.

7 Comments on “Stuff of nightmares”

  1. Antonia says:

    Delicious. Delightful. Sublime.

    I am particularly pleased that you gave him a spa bath before executing him. I hope we all go out with such luxuries.


  2. julie says:

    You are not alone.

  3. Peg Bowden says:

    There are some things that just stay with you forever. The shower scene in “Psycho”, a scorpion on the toilet seat in our guest house (reported by a guest!), and the rat in your toilet. You have a gift for making this obscene vision delightful—thanks for the memory….

  4. Brigitte says:

    I am very impressed with Ronin that she could handle the “situation” so easily! She sure seems a fearless child. Brigitte

  5. Jill says:

    We’ve had some run-ins with urban rats too. I’m not a big cat fan, but I’ve considered getting one JUST for rat protection. The dog does pretty well (killed two!). I’m trying to make my yard more hospitable to coyotes, owls, and snakes, but I’m not sure if that’s working. The dog kinda keeps those critters away.

  6. Tom says:

    Didja know there are rat flaps. It is the oposite of a cat flap in that it is supposed to keep beasties out and let the effluents escape too.

    Oh yeah, your blog is the best read i had in a loooong while.

  7. cheyenne says:

    Our new house has a good 10 feet worth of vertical pipe leading up to where the toilet is. It was one of the primary considerations in buying a house (for me, at least).

    Ronin still talks about how the poop flushes down for the rats.. There is also a sewage processing pond on the outskirts of town that we sometimes ride our bikes by and between the “poop pond,” the rat incident, and her vague awareness that there are pipes under the streets, Ronin’s concept of the sewer system is likely a fairly convoluted story.

Leave a Comment

Cheyenne Weil, Joshua Coxwell