Things That Go Bump in the Night

For about the last month, I’ve had a sneaking suspicion that I’m not alone in my house. Besides my cat, I mean. I sit here in my new office at night when hubby is working evening shift and I hear things. Rustling noises. Movement overhead. Our attic is just a crawl space with no real access or purpose other than to house bats in the summer. But this sound was no bat.

I’d have thought I was hallucinating except that I heard it once with my cat in my lap and we both looked up. Okay, Samantha hears it, too. I’m not insane.

Speaking of Samantha, I remember one morning she refused to come when I called her (very unusual at breakfast time. She may turn her nose up at what I offer her, but she ALWAYS comes to see what it is first). Instead she sat in my office—pre-office junk room that it was at the time—and stared at a pile of junk-room junk. I couldn’t see anything and this was soon after her cancer surgery, so I suspected her meds were making her loopy.

But she did it again the other morning, only this time it was the closet door that she stared at. I opened the door and she went in and wouldn’t come out. She kept staring into one corner of it. But there was nothing there.

Ghosts. We have ghosts, I thought. I’ve heard that animals are sensitive to these things. My Sammie is watching ghosts.

Except that we built this house. No one has ever died here.

Or have they?

Yes, we’ve lost a few cats over the years. Are we being haunted by Alex and Ishmael and Fluffy?

Ah, the fertile imagination of a writer.

My husband’s explanation for the rustling sounds coming from the ceiling was squirrels. Flying squirrels to be precise.

Flying squirrels? I thought feline ghosts a more plausible justification, but I was ruling nothing out.

Then, the other day I reached into the cupboard above my stove for my can of instant French Vanilla Cappuccino only to find the lid covered in a powdery substance that looked like cornmeal. My husband had made cornbread the previous night and is prone to being a little cluttsy, so I figured he’d spilled some. When I brushed the stuff off the lid, I found several tiny holes in the corner of the lid. Had same cluttsy husband also dropped my can of instant cappuccino and broken the lid?

No, he had not. Whatever had been rustling up in the attic had crept down into my cupboard through a hole where the exhaust fan ductwork cuts through the ceiling and had taken a liking to my coffee. A quick inspection revealed that the coffee was the only thing it had tampered with so far.

My husband, the Great Hunter, went into vermin-control mode and promptly bought a half-dozen new mouse traps which he baited with peanut butter sprinkled with instant cappuccino powder. Hey, I bought myself a new can. I wanted nothing more to do with one that some critter had its grubby little fingers and teeth all over. I happily turned the old can over to the Great Hunter for his purposes.

Let me pause here to remind you that I live a life of conflict and contradictions. I am a yoga teacher who writes murder mysteries. I am also an animal-loving pacifist yoga teacher married to an NRA-card-carrying hunter. A Democrat married to an Independent-leaning-toward-Republican (although he’s begun to see the error of some of his ways in that regard). So I often have mixed emotions about catching small rodents in traps. I’d rather the cat does it. I can excuse that as the natural order of things. Of course, Samantha has never killed anything in her life. She caught a bird once, when she was still allowed outside. She brought it to me, its tail feathers in her mouth while it beat her in the face with its wings. “Meow,” she said around a mouthful of bird tush. Translation: “Help me, Mom! Now what do I do?” I relieved her of her catch and released it, unharmed. She watched it fly away and I swear I heard her sigh.

That was it for Sammie’s hunting career.

Last night as we watched TV, we heard it. It sounded like a small explosion in the cupboard above my stove.

Unable to avoid temptation, a very plump (and probably caffeine-buzzed) mouse had met his end in one of hubby’s new traps.

I felt sad. A little. And a little relieved, too. My new can of French Vanilla Cappuccino is safe. We have no ghosts. And no flying squirrels. All we had was a mouse.

Except that this morning, Samantha insists there’s something under the storage cabinet in the office. This time, I believe her. I guess we won’t be putting those traps away just yet.

Comments

Jodi said…
Hi Annette,

We got the no-kill traps at Rollier's. (Home Depot doesn't have them.) Caught a mouse two days in a row. Released them in a woods/field far away. Deermice don't have babies this time of year according to the internet, but they would have stored a supply of food somewhere. I hope they make it. Anyway, no more chocolate chip cupcakes and pears for those guys!

When I say "released" I mean leave the traps and come back later. We couldn't get them out of the traps for anything! Braced feet. No, no, I won't go!

Enjoyed your post.
LoieJ said…
http://tinyurl.com/yk5ejp
Yep, they go bump. Pic of four flying squirrels at our house.
Annette said…
Thanks for the link to the pics! You wondered where they hide out? Maybe in my attic!

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