Monday, June 15, 2009

Unwelcome Guest?

I have a fear of rodents. I dont think that they are cute or fuzzy. I love animals, but I have to admit that I think keeping a rat or a mouse as a pet freaks me out. When I was a kid, I occasionally remember my
mom putting out the neckbreaker traps. I rarely remember seeing a mouse although I didnt have the fear I grew to have. I just didnt like the whole idea. But, we had cats. Mice- not really a problem.

One summer night, when I was maybe 12, I was laying in bed. It was hot and we didnt have a/c. (Sounds like how every good, southern story starts.) I was laying in bed, looking across the room at my open window, where the moonlight poured in and a fan blew in the cooler night air. As I was watching, I saw the unthinkable. Something. It was big and had a long tail. It walked on my hope chest, sitting in front of the window, and the moonlight made it visible in the darkness. It was big. It wasn't a mouse. I didn't know what it was and I screamed like I was being murdered. My parents were in my bedroom in an instant. The light was long and I was trying to tearfully explain that there was SOMETHING in my room. There was nothing on the hope chest but I just KNEW that I had seen SOMETHING. SOMETHING BIG.

My mom dropped to her knees and looked under my bed, while my dad went towards the window and looked under the hope chest. He looked back at me and said, "I think you scared it more than it scared you. It's under here. Shivering. Probably deaf." I wasnt happier to know that I had seen something and was freaked. My mom took me into their bedroom, where she was matching socks on the bed. I climbed up on their big king size bed and tried to not think about the THING in my room. Moments later, after being unable to figure out how to get it out, my dad came in an got his 38, the same pistol that I learned how to shoot with on my great-grandparent's farm. He went back into my room and, after telling us to hold our ears, a piercing "bang" broke the silence of the night. Within a half hour, I was back in my room. My dad had cleaned the baseboard with alcohol (he probably had no clue where the cleaning supplies were) and took care of the body of IT. There was always an indentation in that baseboard where the bullet lodged. Dad gave me the shell casing. My hero. Who took care of the boogything.

I kept that bullet casing for years. I remember having it in my jewelry box when I went to college. But somewhere along the line, I let it go. I dont know what happened to it, but I no longer have it. In high school, it sat on my bookcase. An enduring sign that my dad could take care of whatever was there that was scary. Was it a rat? A possum? I have no idea. It wasnt a mouse. It really was big. Dad always called it a rat but where the heck do you get a rat in our neighborhood? I'd never seen one before and never saw one after.

Fast forward. I dont like rodents. They can live outside all they want- but not with me. When we moved to Montgomery County, we lived in farm-ish areas. Field mice are common here and most of our friends in farmhouses like ours talk about seeing at least one during a winter. When we set them, we set humane traps and Peter releases them in the next town over (I dont want them to come back). Mind you, Peter does this. Not me. I dont even want to see them, I dont care how "cute" Peter swears they are.

We moved to this house in September 2007. I love this house. No issues. Until February. Until I am home on bedrest with Sophia, after Nicholas was born. Of course. It was one of the first nights that Peter decided he would leave me for an hour or two, since I would be going to sleep, to go to work. And what happens? I see a freaking mouse. And not only do I see it, but it decides to play mind games with me. It hides behind the couch and keeps peaking out, to which I promptly scream and it hides again. Peter was halfway to work when I called him and told him he had to come home. NOW. He came back, of course, and, thank you fate, couldnt find the mouse. I swore it was there. He said that we had no traps, so he'd go to the all night supermarket and get some. I must have cried like a baby, telling him that I just KNEW the mouse would come back when he left. It didnt but he set the trap and, by the morning, had caught our little uninvited guest. The next night, he caught a second unwanted visitor. Then, nothing. Not last winter. Nada.

Friday night, I woke up and swore that I heard a rustling sound. So, being me, I woke Peter up. He tells me there is no sound. Then I hear a tapping noise. I wake him back up. He tells me it's the house settling and to go back to bed. I dozed in between, but was 100% sure that I had heard something. The next morning, Peter was so tired from being woken several times in the heart of his deep sleep that he slept until 9:30am (great thing that it was Saturday, although he missed church and leading the rosary, which he wasnt thrilled about.) He looked around and swore that he couldnt find anything to imply a mouse and that I was probably paranoid and to not worry. All day, no noise. We go to bed around 10pm. Mind you, we have to get up to make the 7:30am Mass because Peter has home visits for Communion.

Midnight. I hear the rustling of the garbage bag. Rustle... Rustle.. Rustle... I nudge Peter until he wakes up. "Do you hear that?" I whisper. Finally, he acknowledges it. The rustling gets louder and then a THUNK, as though something has fallen into my garbage can. Light flips on and Peter is right there! Nothing. NOTHING! How could there be nothing??? Peter removes the garbage bag, just in case, even though he sees nothing, and takes it to the garbage. He sets 2 mouse traps. I swear, once the light goes out, that I hear something flicking the mousetrap doors (they are humane boxes). He hears something, too, and, an hour after his first excursion, gets up and checks. Nothing. At this point, I am getting quite ticked off. I know that there is SOMETHING. Where the heck is it??? Am I crazy?

Laying in bed, Peter tells me that he thinks that I am either hearing something that is outside (our bed is pressed up against the 2 living room windows, which face our patio that sees lots of squirrels and chipmunks and groundhogs, who try to eat my flowers!) or that I am hearing something in the basement (directly beneath us). I tell him that I think he's nuts and try to convince him that we HEARD rustling!!!! He swears that it could have been a number of things- outside the house. We fall asleep. We go to church and he does his visits. Afterwards, sweetie that he is, he loaded the wheelchair and took me to BestBuy (to look at laptops, so that he could order my birthday gift, a little late but that's because I hadnt approved the size of the machine which he wanted to do at BestBuy) then he wheeled me into Michaels so that I could pick up some scrapbook stickers and some things for our Respect Life group's Father's Day sale at church (we are doing kisses for dads, chocolate kisses wrapped in tulle). It was nice to get out and feel the sun on my face, but at the same time, not have to worry about walking around. We had lunch out, too, which was nice. I felt bad about him wheeling me around, but he joked that it was a stroller for grown-ups and made noises as he sped up or slowed down. (Have I mentioned how much I love this man???) We took a nap when we came home, no doubt because of our night time shenanigans. Last night, before bed, what does he say? "I dont care what you think you hear, dont wake me up." He does have work... I can understand this... He sat a trap in the basement. And what happens??? Still empty traps in the living room and no noises last night. (Of course, the basement trap is empty too.)

I must be crazy... Or worse, Peter is right and it's something outside. Yep... I'm crazy. Completely nuts.


Reba said...

is it possible it's an outdoor furry friend in the gutter outside the window? we have a bird's nest outside our bedroom window and we hear their rustlings and noises all the time.

May said...

I have a bird that sit on the top of the chimney and coos, and the noise comes down the chimney into my living room. Drives. Me. NUTS.

djordan said...

This made me laugh...hope you find the culprit!

Anonymous said...

The day my family was moving into our "new" house, my mom found a bat on the hutch of my desk in my soon to be room, and our new-just-met-him wonderful neighbor came over and handled it. My parents didn't tell me about it for a decade! And I like bats!

In any case, I also agree that birds are likely, and more pleasant to think about, too!! There was an oriole outside the window of my office building that would perch on the ledge and tap on the glass now and then. So cool!

I think I might start a scrapbook soon, but I'm so bad at finishing things! Oif.

Paula said...

I share your dislike of rodents. I swore to Mike that I could hear something in the attic before we had the roof fixed; he thought I was crazy - turns out I wasn't.

I do a lot of cooking in my class since I teach in our town's life skills program. We found evidence of mice activity on the back of our food shelf the other day - if we'd seen the actual mouse, they would have heard me across the school.