Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Our very own Cookie Monster

Last night, I made cookies. I tried out the recipe for Oatmeal Sugar Cookies from the LemonPoppy cookbook "When Life Gives You Friends" (I won this set of cookbooks a couple of months back in a blog giveaway from my friend Ashley). The kids each gobbled one up last night before bed, and begged to have one included in their lunch today.

This morning as I was packing lunches, I was rather distracted. I ended up with an extra cookie sitting on the counter after closing up all the lunch boxes. I threw it in Olivia's lunch box, thinking it was for her. I then gave strict instructions that the cookies were NOT to be eaten for morning snack, rather AFTER they'd eaten their sandwich and fruit for lunch!

During Olivia's lunch break today, she popped her head in the library (where I work two days a week).

"Mom, there were two cookies in my lunchbox today at morning break. I went and looked in Grant's lunchbox, he didn't have one, so I put the extra in there."

I was amazed at her kindness and generosity.

On our way home from school today, Grant shared the following story:

"The strangest thing happened today . . ." (He used those exact words, I swear!)

"This morning at snack recess, I decided to eat my cookie. It was so yummy! But then, when it was lunch time, I opened up my lunchbox, and there was another cookie! I don't know how it got there, I think my lunchbox made it!"

Jack burst out crying "That is so not fair—I didn't get any cookies in MY lunchbox..."

Olivia and I looked at each other, realized what had happened, and burst out laughing.

I'm thinking a cookie-producing lunchbox is a million-dollar idea . . .

Monday, November 7, 2011

Things that go bump in the night

About a month ago, I was awoken in the night by the sound of footsteps above our room. Steve was out of town, and I literally thought someone was on top of our roof. I freaked out. I sat up in bed, and was trying to plot my escape. How could I possibly get to the kids on the other side of the house before the intruder found us? What could I use to defend myself? After a few minutes, the noise stopped. I lay awake, staring at the ceiling, for what seemed like an eternity before I was able to drift off into dreamland once again.

The next day, on the phone with Steve, I recounted the experience. “There’s no way you could hear someone on the roof” he told me. “The attic is above our room, and all that insulation would block out any sound up there.” “Plus, how and why would someone be on top of our roof? There’s easier ways to get into the house. It was probably a mouse in the attic.”

“No way” I told him. “This sounded way bigger than a mouse. It sounded like a person!”

Fast forward a few weeks. No more noise, no more mid-night awakenings. Then, weeks ago, in the middle of the night, I heard it again. This time, it was coming from the wall underneath one of our windows. I got out of bed and crept over to the window. I peered out, fearful of what might be trying to get into our second story room.

I tried to wake Steve. He rolled over and mumbled something about it being the middle of night and what did I want him to do?

The next night, as I was brushing my teeth, Steve heard the sound for the first time. He started sleuthing around, trying to figure out where it was coming from.

“Maybe it’s a bird stuck in the vent.” He threw on some sweats and headed outside to see if he could see anything. Nada. So back to bed he came.

“ Maybe we should call someone” he said.

In the meantime, I had heard tales of raccoons taking up residence in attics. I became convinced that we had a family of raccoons, happily procreating and raising their young in the warmth of our walls and attic.

The next day, I got on the phone with the local animal control. “I think we have raccoons in our attic” I told the lady on the other end.

“We don't remove wildlife from residences” she told me. But she gave me the number of a company that could help.

I called the number, explained what we were hearing, and scheduled a free inspection for the next day. Then I started thinking of what color I wanted to paint our bedroom after they patched up the holes they would have to cut to retrieve the raccoon babies nestled in our walls. I was convinced.

The guy arrived promptly at his scheduled time the next day. He brought in his ladder, climbed up into the attic access in our master closet, looked around for all of a minute and climbed back down.

“You’ve got a rat infestation. Looks like they’ve been living there for some time based on the droppings.”

I nearly passed out.

He told Steve to set traps and gave some advice as to what makes the best bait. He also showed Steve where they were likely coming in, and offered some suggestions for sealing up the access. Then he went on his merry way.

That night, I could hardly sleep. I kept waiting to hear music from the party that seemed to be taking place above us. Images from "Ratatouille" were circling in my mind, complete with talking rats stirring pots in the kitchen. The thought that we had rats living rent-free in our house was more than I could take.

In the week since, Steve has trapped a total of 6 rats in the attic. There may still be more. One more met its demise outside, plus Steve recovered a petrified rat skeleton from the crawl space underneath the house.

I’m trying to find the silver lining in this whole experience. The only “good” I’ve discovered is that I definitely made the right choice in picking my spouse. There is no way in h*** that I would be able to handle setting traps and removing dead carcasses. He’s done it without a single complaint. I love that man.

Next time I hear footsteps above my room, I'm going to hope and pray it's an intruder. And not the four-legged-with-whiskers variety.