One night, a few days ago, I woke up in the middle of the night to hear a sound I can only describe as something eating its way through a huge bag of potato chips somewhere in my room. I sat up in bed, the sound kept going, I hit the husband to wake him up, and stage whispered "There's something eating something in our room!"
And then the sound stopped.
A little context is probably in order. I have a history of VERY vivid dreams. Since I've been married, I also have a history of night terrors, seeing things that are not there but being totally sure they are, even though I'm not fully awake. So the husband, after hearing nothing, simple encouraged me to go back to sleep because I was imagining things. And even though I was SURE I wasn't, I've been wrong before. AND, I've been horribly sleep deprived of late, including on that night, so it was totally possible I was hallucinating. By the next morning, I was pretty sure I had dreamed the whole thing.
Until a few nights later, when I was up, actually and fully awake, and I heard the sound again. This time I did not wake up the husband but kept listening, trying to pinpoint the source, and stayed awake LONG after the noise stopped because I am terrified of the kind of creatures I now suspected were living in my bedroom. The next day, I made the husband help me clean out every nook and cranny in our room, looking for a hidden food stash or **gulp** a nest, but we found nothing, nothing chewed or shredded and eaten. Curiouser and curiouser.
Then, a day or two later, I was chatting on the phone with my MIL and I happened to look up...and saw a pile of insulation in the heating vent. AHA! That's exactly what I said, actually, AHA, and I proceeded to tell her the story of the mysterious noises and I started to get an idea of what must have been happening and I was about to state my conclusions when I happened to look behind me. And there, sitting on the bed, staring at me with a horrified look on his face, was J, who had been playing quietly with his dinosaurs, until his mom started talking animatedly about the thing living in his ceiling!!! So immediately I said, with great gusto, "And that is how I know we have a squirrel living in our roof!"
And the myth of the "squirrel" was born. We made up a story about a squirrel looking for warmth, missing his mommy, accidentally trapped in our ceiling. We called the man to come catch the squirrel and send him back to his house outside. While we were waiting for the man, J told the story of the squirrel again and again, to anyone who would listen and many who wouldn't, eventually putting himself in the place of the one who heard the noises and figured out it was a squirrel. And when the man came, the man who said, helpfully, "I mean, I like rats, but there's a time and a place for them" even after I had repeatedly and loudly mentioned the squirrel who was missing his mommy, my talking confused J enough that he stuck with the squirrel story.
And then we sent the husband up in the attic to "check on the squirrel," and he came down with some "trash" that he carried in an empty diaper box. The husband at last pronounced us squirrel free, and we celebrated the squirrel's return to his family.
Now all we have to do is send someone up to repair the damage our squirrel did to our heating system, helpfully during the coldest month of the year. Gimme an R, gimme an A, gimme a T. What does that spell?? Squirrel!
All of the boys, calmly eating chicken quesadillas, New Year's Eve, 2010 BS (Before Squirrel)