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.