Things That Go Bump In The Night

One recent night, after an extremely long day, I retired to bed very, very early. So early that my husband did not join me. At some point during my (apparently very deep) slumber, I heard a loud crash in our bathroom. I startled, then interpreted the noise as my husband dropping something – probably the Sonicare toothbrush, in our sink.

I was irritated that he was proving incapable of preparing for bed without disturbing me when the crash happened again, only louder and more sustained. I began to be concerned that he was going to break my beautiful vessel sink that he had made for me. I also began to worry that perhaps he was having some sort of medical problem making him unable to hold onto whatever it was he kept dropping.

Then he sat up from the bed next to me, removed his C-PAP, and headed to the bathroom to investigate. At that point, I was rather embarrassed that I was too out of it to notice that a 230+ pound man was sleeping next to me. And that I had shown an apparent complete lack of concern by not making my own movement toward the bathroom. Then I worried about what could possibly have made that noise.

The suction-cup mirror in the shower, it turns out. It slipped a couple of its cups, which caused first his heavy wood-handled shaving brush to fall. Then it slipped the remaining cups and clattered to the shower floor. Mystery solved and I eventually fell back asleep.

The next night, I was awakened around 4 or 5 in the morning by the sound of something rattling on the floor near my head. I tried to ignore it but it persisted. I turned on my phone and checked the area around the bed. Nothing. Eventually the noise moved to his side of the bed. He turned on his phone and checked the area around the bed. Nothing.

But before long, we knew. It simply had to be a mouse. Playing with something hard. The little knocking sounds of something bumping the wooden floor were eventually joined by mousy squeaking sounds. We couldn’t quiet it. We couldn’t scare it away. I lay awake hoping it didn’t decide to traverse the bed.

Two nights passed with a mousetrap on the floor at the head of the bed. At some point during that second night, the knocking began again. This time at the center of the head of the bed. The mouse was under the bed. This was not an easy problem to solve because our bed is not on feet. It’s a platform with drawers. The only way to see under it is to remove the mattress and peer through the slats.

I tried, like the previous time, to ignore it. But it was impossible. My husband was away from home, so I slapped his side of the bed. The loud thunk would pause the mouse for a few minutes, granting me a bit of reprieve. But it also disturbed the dog in the boys’ room next door, who began to bark at me.

So I got up and scooted the bed off the slats. That also concerned the dog, who barked some more warnings through the wall. Soon the whole household would be awake. I found what the mouse had been playing with. Well, not playing, really. Attempting to eat.

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I threw away the cough drop and hoped that the mouse, wherever it had scurried off to hide, would move on when it could no longer find its treasure. I scooted the bed back onto the slats and attempted to return to sleep. Some time later, I was again awakened by the sound of a cough drop being knocked repeatedly on the floor under the bed. I slapped the bed. The dog barked. The mouse squeaked. I lay awake, defeated.

That morning, I got my eleven year old son to help me completely remove the mattress from the slats and prop it up against the wall. I pulled all of the drawers out of the bed platform. I found no cough drop. I have no clue what the mouse was playing with that last time. Maybe she took it with her.

Meanwhile, the dog trotted down the hall toward my room, spied the looming form of the bed against the wall, and knew it was time to perform her duty as protector of the household. She crouched down, raised the hair along her spine, and growled menacingly. Eventually barking with all the ferocity a dangerous inanimate object deserves, disregarding the reassurance of the object of her protection (me) that all was ok.

I moved the mouse trap closer to the center of the bed. I returned the mattress. I consoled the dog. I got the kids out the door for school. I headed to work, already exhausted. I hope the mouse finds my peanut butter in the trap while I’m away. I’d hate to have to cede *my* bedroom to the invader and sleep on the couch.

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Bee Nests, Dog Snores, and Busy Mice

My husband has been away for several days now. As a ridiculously light sleeper, I find his absence typically means more restful nights since there is not another body moving and breathing nearby.

On night number one, Hal entered my room after I had fallen asleep, announced that he was scared, and hurriedly climbed into bed. I listened for a possible explanation for his fear and settled on the rather loud wind blowing outside. I assured him that it wouldn’t bother him and held him tight for several minutes. Eventually, I gently told him it was time to return to bed.

NO!” His reply was so forceful that it surprised me. “There is a bee nest in my bed! I can’t go back in there!” He sounded panicked.

“Honey, there’s not a bee nest in your bed. You need to go back to your room to go to sleep.”

With a voice full of command, he insisted, “You go in there and look! There is a bee nest in my bed!”

“Ok. I’ll check your bed but you come with me.”

I carefully checked his bed and found only some broken rubber bands. When I said so, he gestured to another part of the bed and told me that he had been sleeping over there. I checked that part of the bed and confirmed that all that had been in his bed were the rubber bands. He then told me that he had one on his wrist that was not broken. It took me several tries to get my fingers under the too-tight rubber band on his wrist to break it lose.

A humorous aside: As I told this story to my husband on the phone the next day, the term “bee nest” came up repeatedly. Eventually, he interrupted me and asked, “Are you saying that he thought there was a penis in his bed? Hal has talked about the bee nest repeatedly and every time, I have to fight down the smile as I hear “penis”.

Back to my nights… Night number two found me lying awake, listening alternately to the dog snoring at the foot of the bed and Jane coughing across the hall. I eventually yelled at the dog to startle her awake but could not bring myself to disturb the sleeping girl.

You would think that I would be extremely tired moving into night number three and you would be right. If you think this would make me retire earlier, then you overestimate my good sense.

Around midnight, I lay in bed reading, knowing I should stop. Before I could act on that knowledge, I heard a rattling sound in the bathroom. I listened for a couple of minutes, trying to pretend I didn’t know what it was.

I’ll need to back up to that morning for you to understand the sound. I was sitting in the bathroom. Reading. (Give me a break… it’s a really good book!) Anyway, I was sitting there reading when something caught my eye. I looked up in time to see a small field mouse scurry under the door, across the floor, and behind a picture leaning against the shower, waiting to be hung on the wall.

When we installed the new shower, we had to install it on a raised platform to account for both the drain hole and the water pipes not being where they needed to be. The water pipes come out of the foundation and now angle across the floor under the shower. There are two notches cut in the platform supports for the pipes. One apparently had enough room for a mouse to pass through.

When I came home from church, I noticed a large nut sitting in front of that hole that I was fairly certain had not been there before. I strongly suspected that that nut was what was making the rattling noise at midnight. More specifically, it was likely the little mouse trying to move the nut under the platform.

I once had a rather traumatic experience of a mouse running across my head as I lay in my bed. With that memory, I knew I couldn’t sleep wondering about the mouse. As I switched on the light in the bathroom, I saw the nut rattle as the mouse disappeared under the platform.

With a sigh, I headed to the kitchen to prepare a mouse trap with some peanut butter. By the time I got back to the bathroom, the mouse had resumed its ridiculous attempts to pull the nut through the small hole. It darted back to safety and I carefully laid the trap nearby.

Back in bed, I thought about how loud a mouse trap is when it triggers and about how mice don’t always die immediately. I relived a moment nearly two decades earlier when I had listened to the squeak of a caught mouse and been unable to put it out of its misery. I also worried about the mouse ignoring the trap and coming into the bedroom. Sleep, I was sure, was not coming soon.

The rattling resumed shortly after I climbed back in bed. When it stopped, I got up and turned on the light. The nut, to my shock, was gone! I could believe that a squishy mouse could get through that hole but surely not that fat nut! Then I saw the trap. Licked clean of all its peanut butter.

This time, I used a toothpick to carefully push the peanut butter deep into the mechanism of the trap.

Eventually, I managed to drift off into a fitful sleep. I was dreaming about dealing with the mouse when a loud THWACK! woke me up. Confused, I lay awake wondering what had interrupted my slumber. It slowly dawned on me that the noise was most likely the trap. A quick check confirmed that I was right.

Finally, maybe I could sleep peacefully. As I lay there, waiting for sleep to return, the coughing started across the hall. And I was fairly sure I could hear faint snoring from the dog asleep on the couch. It was now well after 1:00. My alarm would go off in just over four and a half hours and I was nowhere near sleep. I was pretty sure the day would be a Mountain Dew day.

Mice and a Moth

My children are not the most responsible pet owners. This is not a problem with the dog, nor the cat before her, because we are reasonably responsible and can compensate. The situation is quite different when we either did not want the animal or were unaware of its existence.

About a week after the conclusion of her fourth grade year, Jane brought me a paper sack with a moth in it. Apparently the moth had been in its cocoon on the last day of TAG (talented and gifted) a couple of weeks earlier. How long it had been out of its cocoon yet trapped in a sack in her room, I have no idea.

This most recent summer, my son became the proud owner of two field mice. My husband and a colleague were firing the wood kiln when they saw a mouse. The other man caught it and put it in a bucket. Daryl was so entertained by it, that when another one appeared, it was caught and placed in the bucket as well.

I came home from work to be greeted by a young boy grinning from ear to ear and showing me his new “pets”. After confirming that the pets would reside in the bucket outside, I paid them no further heed.

A day or two later, I was sitting on a bench outside and I noticed a large brown jewelry box next to me. It was the velvet kind that hinges open on one end that a necklace freshly purchased from a jeweler would be in. As I reached toward it, my husband said, “that’s a double mouse coffin.”

“What did you just call it?”

“It’s a double mouse coffin. Daryl wanted to keep those two mice so we drilled holes in the lid of the bucket so they could breath. But he left the bucket in front of the porch and it rained and they drowned.”

“Oh. So why hasn’t the coffin been buried?”

This question got the mice buried by Daryl and his grandpa near a tree. When Daryl talked about making a tombstone, his grandpa suggested that they instead let the mice be “anonymouse”. Ba-dum-dum.