I know this blog is mostly about our boy wonder, Nate the Great, but there are occasional moments of our lives that seem worthy of sharing, too. We have recently found ourselves in a particular situation that is affecting everyone in our household–from my husband, Chad, right down to our cat, Pete. And this situation, unfortunately, is one very familiar to us. Friends, we are at war.
I’m going to backtrack for a minute here, and please forgive me if I’ve shared this story before. (But if I did, it was ages ago and you all have probably forgotten.) Picture it: December 25, 2011. It was a frosty Christmas morning and Santa had come and gone. As we do each year, Chad and I greet Santa and have him drop off gifts that we assemble so that the jolly man can go on his merry way and spread mirth throughout the world. Somewhere around midnight, after a lot of cursing, Chad and I went to bed having assembled a much-desired basketball hoop and other toys that had lots of packaging and construction needs.
At three a.m., we were awoken. Not with the gleeful giggles of a child who had snuck downstairs to peek at the tree. Not with the snuggly purrs of our (now dearly departed) cat, Archy. No, dear friends. We were awoken by the home alarm. Already exhausted from creating Christmas freakin’ cheer, Chad entered the code to turn off the alarm and failed to hit the all-crucial “Cancel” button. After heading downstairs to ensure all was well (it was), Chad crawled back into bed. Suddenly, our bedroom was filled with red and blue flashing lights. There was a knock at the door, followed by a loud bellow: “Police.”
The noise of the alarm and the holler didn’t wake Nate, but the flashing lights did. So now it’s Christmas morning, with police at our doorstep, and our toddler is wide awake. Chad’s struggling to get dressed and I’m trying to figure out how to get Nate not to see Christmas at three in the morning because that’s just wrong. We greeted the friendly officers, who explained the alarm was never cancelled so it was their duty to respond and they gave us a warning (we get one warning per year before being fined) because of the false alarm and wished us a Merry Christmas.
In the days following, the alarm continued to get tripped, always at night. We knew it wasn’t a burglar or anything of the sort, but we couldn’t figure it out. Until we went to do laundry and found this.
That’s right. The shirt that Nate had worn only weeks prior to meet the scary Santa had been eaten by something…or someone. Apparently Nate spilled food on there (what 2.5 year old kid isn’t covered in food) and a creature took it to be a free snack. In my basement. At night while setting off my home alarm. And so we did what we thought was a logical thing to do: we hired an exterminator.
The critter, whatever it was, was smarter than the exterminator. Multiple traps were set up and s/he avoided every single one. So Chad smartly put a dusting of flour on the basement floor to get prints so we could ID the culprit.
The prints, unfortunately, were inconclusive. Facebook diagnosis identified these as either a rat, a raccoon, or a baby monkey. None were ever sighted and, eventually, whatever it was, moved back outside.
Fast forward nearly three years later to last week. Pete becomes a hero. He’s lived with us for about two years now and he finally caught a mouse. Proud, he brought it to our bedroom and, thankfully, Chad got rid of the evidence before Pete presented it to me on my pillow. The temperature outside has started to drop and we live in a rather rural area. The presence of one mouse, while unsettling to me, was not cause for alarm.
Two nights later, in the dead of night, you guessed it–the home alarm goes off. Chad, being an extremely sound sleeper, needed me to holler his name and shake him numerous times before he heard the alarm. (Nate? Slept through the whole thing. And, mind you, this alarm is so loud that people a block away can hear it.) Chad did his husbandly duty: he woke up, turned off the alarm after looking for the zone where it was triggered, hit cancel (we learned our lesson), and checked it out. Nothing there. No big deal. Go back to bed.
Simultaneous to all of this, Nate hit a wonderful new milestone: he’s willing to wear pajamas! As the blog photos attest, I’ve lived with diapered and, now, underooed Nate for a very, very long time. With chilly mornings, he started asking for clothes, which meant I got to go shopping for super cute toddler pajamas. (And he looks so stinking cute!) I got him several pairs, one with penguins that drive construction trucks that says “I Dig Staying Up,” a Christmas pair that says “I Ate Santa’s Cookies,” and a wintery pair covered in dinosaurs who are chilly and need to wear scarves.
So after a mouse sighting and a “there’s nothing to worry about go back to sleep” home alarm incident, imagine my dismay when I took Nate’s super cute pajamas out of the dryer and found this:
Something or someone ate Nate’s dinosaurs with scarves pajama pants. I know for a fact that this section of Nate’s pants had a smooshed cupcake on it. Chad went down to do further investigation; whatever it is also ate one of Chad’s socks. Surely Chad stepped in some delectable toddler crumb and the beast in the basement gobbled it up with the footwear.
And last night? Last night was the worst. There were scratching noises behind the stove. Large, giant scratching sounds that I could hear all the way in our bedroom. I sent Chad and Pete downstairs numerous times to look into the matter. After pulling out the stove, Chad saw the critter, a mouse (which he says was wee but, by the sounds of those scratches, I think it’s about the size of dinosaur), and Pete did nothing more than say, “Hi.”
All this to say, friends: we are at war. Tomorrow at two, the exterminator arrives. We bought a Dyson slim (which is seriously an awesome thing) and are sucking up every stinking crumb that Nate (and Pete with his kibbles) leaves behind. Pete is on notice: he needs to protect (yet not present and provide for) his family. And I am ready to move to a critter-free hotel. With room service. And fluffy pillows. And laundry service where nothing eats my son’s cute pajama pants. I get that the cold makes the critters want to seek warmth…but why must the warmth be that of my home? If I see the beast, you’ll hear me scream….and here’s hoping we continue to remember to hit “cancel” on the alarm….