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December 21, 2011 / lynnettedobberpuhl

CHECK THE CRAWL SPACE

Tap, tap, tap, tap. Tap-tap, pause, shuffle, tap, tap. What the hell was making that sound above the bathroom ceiling? Way bigger than a mouse. Mutant raccoon? How would something that sounded that big get UP there? I stared at the ceiling, as though I would suddenly develop x-ray vision. Why would a varmint be tapping? What if it wasn’t a varmint? What if it was Tooms, from the X-files? That episode, while not the first one I saw, was definitely the one that sold me on the series. And now, thanks to my stupid vivid memory and imagination, I was afraid I was going to be his next victim. Except I wasn’t–of course not, FICTION, woman, you know the difference. Ha-ha. Right. Well, I couldn’t drive to St. Paul in my bathrobe. I was going to have to get dressed and ready for the day. Which was difficult while keeping my eyes glued to the ceiling exhaust fan. If I had seen a pair of eyes peek out at me, or a mutant paw reach through the grate, whatever it was wasn’t going to get a chance to kill me. I’d drop dead from terror first.

This wasn’t the first time fear has kicked me across the “over-reacting” threshold. The first time, decades ago, I was standing by the door in a preschool room I was working in and a little vole scampered across the floor by my feet, looking for a way out. The next thing we all knew, I was across the room, standing on a Little Tykes slide. None of us, the other teachers, the kids, even I, knew how I’d gotten there so fast. Either I was a blur, or I somehow opened a little wormhole in time/space. Neat trick, if I could figure out how to do it on purpose, but I was a little surprised that I had had such an extreme reaction. I used to work with mice and rats in a laboratory, and they weren’t my faves but I hadn’t been frightened of them. Of course, they hadn’t been zipping around by the cuff of my pant leg, either. The next episode from my diary of terror, I was in the basement and I heard very clearly the floor above me creak from the weight of footsteps. I froze, and the footsteps stopped. Husband and kids being at work and school, I had been alone in the house, I’d thought. After holding my breath and listening for a few minutes, hearing nothing more, I couldn’t bring myself to go up the steps. I dashed out the back and went to my friend’s house down the street. She was sitting with two of our neighbors and another woman I knew a little. After I tried to laugh off my situation, they all insisted on coming and searching my house to make sure no one was there. At that point I remembered the state of my house, and tried to stop them, figuring death by stranger would be preferable to them seeing the shocking mess in every dang room, but they would have none of it. Mortifying. I can’t even put words to it.  The most recent episode before today was another wormhole incident, when Mr. W and I were having a conversation in his workshop. The walls down there were unfinished, just plastic sheeting stretched over fiberglass insulation and studs. To my horror, I saw the plastic over the patio door BULGE out as a fist-sized black something scurried along the top of the door. Mr. W was all, “Hey, look at tha…” but I was twenty feet away, covering my mouth so the scream couldn’t get out of it and jumping up and down.

I don’t know when I got all squirrelly, but it is undeniable. I am a lunatic. But I had things to do. I couldn’t just sit around and wait for whatever was living in the crawl space to finish me off, so I rapped on the ceiling with one of the kid’s broken air soft rifles and the tapping subsided with only the hint of a shuffle. Then I rinsed the bedhead out of my hair as fast as I could, dressed and got the hell out of there. I notified my tweeps, and am telling you now, that if our bodies are found with our livers removed or with oddly large rodent toothmarks on our tibias, CHECK THE CRAWL SPACE. Well, not you personally, I love you and wouldn’t want anything to gnaw your head off, but get a professional. I wonder if Mulder and Scully still make house calls?

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5 Comments

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  1. Charmaine / Dec 21 2011 8:49 pm

    I think I have always been squirrelly when it comes to small furry rodents that are supposed to be outside.
    I have had cats in years past bring in live -albeit stunned – toys to play with in the bathroom. Mice and rats would be found dispatched in the bathroom or hallway. On occasion the “toys” would not be so stunned, and would run up the hall way to a bedroom – oh the terror – and almost always at 2 am.
    More recently, one cat brought in a very live rat and let it go. It ran into my bedroom and hide behind a cabinet. This left me no choice but to stand on the couch holding a broom. The cat was bored with the rat at that point. The rat had to be poked out of his hiding spot -not by me- and it did run out of the house – the cats were busy watching me jump up and down on the couch screaming like a little girl.
    I don’t ‘do’ rodents.

    • lynnettedobberpuhl / Dec 21 2011 8:57 pm

      That is FANTASTIC! I can so see you screaming and jumping! I wonder what the cats thought of the whole thing. Cat-tabulous fished the boys’ pet mice out of their tank and ate their heads, leaving their bloody decapitated carcasses on the hallway carpet for us to admire. Good times. Maybe better than him just setting them free to roam the house and perhaps marry and reproduce, but I am not sure.

  2. Kay Vallery Young / Dec 22 2011 4:17 am

    Girls! Girls! What is the matter with you? I don’t understand this behavior at all! When I was 12 years old, I remember climbing IN the window of the Fruitdale School in mid-summer to look at an encyclopedia. As I sat on a little kindergarten-sized chair, the mice came out to play. I was fascinated! One even ran across my foot and I thought “how cute”. I definitely dig mice–but don’t get me started on snakes!!! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!

    • lynnettedobberpuhl / Dec 22 2011 8:45 am

      Mom, mom. MOM! Your daughter and grandchildren (not to mention Mr. Wordtabulous, whose brilliant suggestion was to “get a ladder and poke my head up there and see what’s going on.” Right, and if I survive that, maybe I’ll stick my finger in the electric pencil sharpener,) were at risk of having their faces eaten off by vicious mutant possums and you are telling twee stories of frolicking mice? Oh and, Mom? Breaking into a school? Nice! Why didn’t you tell us more of those kinds of stories when we were growing up?

      • Kay Vallery Young / Dec 22 2011 1:57 pm

        I believe you can guess the answer to that one–you were creative in the mischief department without any help from me!

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