Wednesday was a bit of a rough day. My three-year old is starting to drop naps, and Wednesday was one of the days she did. She and my son had their usual battle over who would go in whose side of the van when we picked him up from school. The battle was revisited when we got out of the car. There was an all-out fight over a pair of socks that occurred right when I was putting the baby down to bed. There was some other major infraction that I now can’t recall – probably I chose the wrong fork for dinner or something equally unforgiveable. Anyway, by 6:30 I once again thanked my lucky stars that my kids cannot yet tell time and got them upstairs for an early bed.
We have two cats. When we got upstairs for bed, one of the cats was sitting in the corner of the kids’ room, between the bookcase and the dresser, just staring. “Besa, why are you so weird!” I said to the cat, and scooted her out of the corner. We laughed. The kids got on their pajamas, picked out their books and I patted myself on the back for getting them in their rooms and ten minutes away from sleep by 6:45.
I had just started reading the first book when we heard a strange sound. A sort of clicky-scratchy noise. “Huh, that’s strange,” I commented, and wondered aloud if we had a minor earthquake – it sounded sort of like the handles of the dresser knocking against the drawers. Not my best idea to wonder this aloud in front of a kid who is afraid of earthquakes. Mom fail. Two minutes were spent calming down said child and explaining that even if it were an earthquake, it was over and we were fine.
Okay. Still only 6:50. We’re doing okay. Back to reading. One page later and “scritchy-scritchy-scritch.” This time we all got up and investigated. It was definitely coming from over by the dresser. Right near where our cat was staring at the wall in fact. I wondered if maybe she had somehow gotten into the drawers. I pulled them all out. Looked inside. Nothing. Huh.
6:55. Back to bedtime, back to reading. We read a few more pages and “scritchy-scritchy-SCAMPER SCAMPER SCAMPER.”
One time we checked out a children’s book from the library by John Irving called “A Sound Like Someone Trying Not to Make a Sound.” This didn’t sound like that. It sounded like a Sound Like A Rodent Who Didn’t Give a Crap if It Made a Sound Because It Was Stuck in Our Frickin’ Wall.
Now, I lived in New York City for five years, so I’m not that freaked out by mice. I still remember when I realized I had mice in the apartment – it wasn’t too hard to figure it out since a pan of brownies had been scratched to pieces and there was poop all over the counter. (Vegans, stop reading now. No, I didn’t eat it, but just stop reading.) I got those glue traps. I remember when I actually got one trapped I had to call my dad, sobbing about what New York was doing to me. By the end of my stay in that apartment, I had become immune to it, although thinking back I do wonder what New York had done to me that I got immune to it. Seven years later, my immunity had worn off, and the thought of a little mouse stuck in the wall made me sad. What a terrible way to die. (Okay vegans, we’re good. You can come back.)
All right, an early bedtime is no longer on the table. I made my son go down and get my husband. (My husband later told me my son said “Daddy! Mommy needs you upstairs. The dresser is making noise.” I guess that’s why he was so confused when he came up.) We looked for obvious holes. Nothing. So I finished putting the kids to bed – now 30 minutes past their bedtime instead of 15 minutes early – turned on their fan and the humidifier to drown out dying mouse noises, and left the room.
Then, my friends, I did something I should never do. I googled “scratching in wall.” Which left me convinced that (1) we did not have a mouse back there, we had a rat; (2) actually, we didn’t have a rat, we had thousands of rats, squirrels and possums breeding like maniacs in the wall between my bed and the kids bunk; (3) these rodents would spread at least one of 30+ diseases to every member of our household; and (4) at least one would die and release noxious fumes that would require us to burn down the house to rid ourselves of decaying creature smell. Gross gross gross gross gross.
It was too late to call an exterminator that night, but at 8:01 a.m. yesterday morning I worked down the list of every exterminator that uses eco/green extermination practices. The earliest appointment I could get isn’t until tomorrow. Apparently they don’t understand that this is AN EMERGENCY DAMN IT! HAVE YOU NOT GOOGLED THIS?
In the meantime, I have been cursing my two cats. I mean, I’m not sure what I expect. They are afraid of plastic. But shouldn’t there be some sort of instinct to prevent these unwanted intruders on their territory? Or is the space between the walls fair game? I have also been cleaning out closets and cabinets like a maniac on some deranged scavenger hunt for rodent poop. (Apparently 2012 was a big year for me to buy canned goods. I had a good dozen cans of expired food slowly breeding some good cases of botulism.)
No poop was found, so I’m hopeful that whatever it is has not yet ventured outside the walls. I also didn’t hear it last night, so maybe it either died or found its way out. If the smell and/or rodent disease doesn’t kill me and everyone I love, I will let you know.
May this never happen to any of you. But if it has, let me know in the comments so I don’t feel like such a loser?