Dead rats and kimchi

December 4, 2007

One of the unpleasant realities of being a homeowner is the fact that occasionally a rat decides to die in your house–usually somewhere in the floorboards that only a rat could get to. Well, we have one. A dead rat somewhere under the house, rotting in slomo. My nose is pretty good, so I’ve pinpointed his location to an area in the house, but then it just gets gross, and one area is just as bad as the other. In my mind I become Wiley Coyote and blow the whole area up with a hole in the two floors above it, but I come to my senses. I haven’t found him but will continue to do so. Where is that smellometer when you need one? Wish me luck.


In the odiferous memories department, I’ll never forget this one smell: kimchi. Back when Susan and Wes were living with us (both Korean-Americans and engaged), Susan’s mother gave us a stash of kimchi–a container, double wrapped. In case you don’t know, kimchi is one of the most pungent aromas there is. It is all permeating. We stored it in a refrigerator in our basement. And regardless of that fact, together with the double wrapped container, the next day I came home from work to find a house reeking of kimchi. It had taken over the entire house. I expelled it into the backyard but the damage had been done and the house smelled like kimchi for a week.

Same as when Adam and Julia brought over Korean barbeque and cooked it for hours. Our house smelled like sweet burned soy kimchi smoke for two months. Sheesh.

This past weekend, I decided to clean out a useful looking mystery bottle made of plastic with a red something in it that had some mold on it so I threw it out and put it in the dishwasher. Mistake. It had kimchi in it. Now my dishwasher smells like kimchi, even after four cleanings.

Moral of story: smells happen; and, beware of kimchi in your house, unless you know what you are doing.

[Photo: “Brushes Green” by Roger Bourland]

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Pattyoboe December 5, 2007 at 9:44 pm

When our older son was a student at UCLA he was, as a freshman, stuck in a very small dorm room with two other roommates. He had mentioned that the room smelled bad, but I had NO idea until I drove down at the end of the year to pack him up and bring him back up here. I suspect that one of his roommates (who was from Korea and I believe missed being home, poor guy) had kimchi in the room. I had never smelled anything like it. He lived with that smell for the full year. Amazing!

Smells … powerful things, yes?

aworks December 5, 2007 at 10:05 pm

Rats and smells. How can I resist commenting?

We had rats for awhile. Various tell tale signs until I saw a rat climbing the blinds in our laundry room. Ok, called the rat guy. He put down sticky traps and then one day, we came home to find our dog stuck in one. The saddest sight and we felt really bad. Eventually, we found the opening, got it sealed and all was well (especially for Sparky).

Then we started noticing a smell underneath the house. Uh oh. For better or worse, it proved to be the sewer line. Turns out ours was 60 years old, with an expected lifespan of 40 years. $$$. But no dead rats!

No kimchi anecodotes though…

Good rat luck!

PK December 6, 2007 at 10:05 am

Dead Rats and Kimchi, I remember that single, when it came out in the late 60s. The band, Bream (Do You Smell Fish? their first album) were normally known for long blues based jams, so that the curious story song was always an anomaly in the band’s oeuvre. Thanks for reminding me, I seem to remember that the song stank up the charts for a very short time (to keep the memory, on topic).

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