Note: This is the first post in my new "Coffee and Cats...and Other Life Things" category here on my blog... a new category for blog posts about funny life happenings, my favorite things, and just whatever happens to be on my mind!
THE THING THAT WENT CRACKLE IN THE NIGHT
The following is a dramatic retelling of a real-life story that happened Saturday night.
*dun dun dunnnnnnnn*
I hope it at least brings you a chuckle. Or a scream. You know, because if I tell you too much about how it ends, that'd be a spoiler.
Let's set the stage:
Saturday night, I was in bed, reading on my phone app before falling asleep. My husband was still downstairs watching a movie with our oldest daughter. The other three kids were all asleep. So I'm lying there, in the dark, and I hear... a noise.
It's coming from under my bed, or maybe on the floor right by it or just behind the head of the bed, but definitely in the general vicinity of the bed corner where my head is. So I go very still and listen. It's like... a plasticky rustling, and at first I think, "Oh, Haku must be messing with something on the floor." (Haku, for those of you who don't follow my newsletter, is my one-eyed cat.)
I listen some more, trying to figure out what exactly Haku is doing. He sometimes like to steal plastic straws from drinks the kids leave out and carry them around the house, so I assume he's chewing on a straw under the bed or something... but... it kinda sounds weird, even for that. And it's coming from a corner of the bed it would have been hard for Haku to get to, because we have the kids' old bunk bed frame disassembled and stored underneath our bed. So I turn on my phone flashlight and get out of bed. The noise is still happening, but intermittently... like something is chewing, chewing, stopping. Chewing, chewing, stopping. So I shine the light on the floor, expecting to find Haku chewing on an empty plastic water bottle, or a kid toy, or a straw or something. He's not there. So I kneel down and shine the light under the bed. ...He's not there, either. In fact, all I see is the bunk bed frame. There is an empty water bottle a kid must have dropped and knocked under the bed at some point. But water bottles don't make noise by themselves.
I kind of look around with the flashlight, thinking maybe Haku got up inside the box springs, because there is a torn part of the lining underneath from when we had a crazy cat before. And then I'm like... wait... what if I have a rat in my bed or something. (Yikes!) So I shine the light around more.
Every time my light sweeps over the corner where I heard the noise, it stops. If I angle the light away, it starts again. So now I'm getting concerned. And I tell myself, "Okay. There's one way to figure out if this is Haku or not. Let's go out of the bedroom" --yes, I sometimes talk to myself in a collective we-- "and see if Haku is anywhere else. Surely he won't be, and then we'll know it's him under the bed, and this will all be fine."
My 18-month-old is sleeping in a pack-n-play in my room, so I angle my phone light toward the floor and head out to the hallway. First thing I see: Haku. Curled up just outside my door. I only have one pet, mind you. ONE. And all kids are accounted for. So I slowly and calmly walk downstairs. My husband sees the phone flashlight coming and pauses the movie. "Everything okay?" Me: "I have... something troublesome." He's like, "What?"
But I'm just like, "I need to show you."
So he and my daughter follow me back upstairs. "There's a sound like chewing of plastic, but Haku is right there," I say, kneeling down and pointing my light back at the bed corner. "It was right here." We all kneel in the dark, phone flashlight pointed at the obvious NOTHING. It crinkles again. Now, there's a little shelf by my bed that holds my phone (charger plugged into wall behind it), a little container with pens and whatnot, and a teddy bear my daughter gave me a long time ago. The shelves are open-backed, I can see the wall and outlet through them. Right near where the sound is coming from. There's nothing there, but my husband is like, "Move some stuff and see what you can see." I'm there with my light like "Oh, okay, fine, I'll be the one attacked by the invisible rat but hey whatever," so I reach for the bear and slide it out of the way. As I'm moving it, something crinkles again, right nearby the bear, then stops. I shine my light... A caterpillar. On my phone charging cord. But right below the phone charging cord is an empty plastic wrapper that must've fallen behind the shelf at some point, and I can only guess the caterpillar was crawling up the plastic wrapper that whole time to get to the phone cord, making the noise. It's kind of a big caterpillar but not huge. And I'm like, "Okay, wow." (Sort of anticlimactic, but hey, at least I'm not getting attacked by a mattress rat.) Then my husband says, "A moth probably got in the house."
And I'm like, "Wait. So... you're suggesting a moth laid eggs in the house? There could be MORE?" Then I look at the caterpillar and I'm like, "It's really fat. If it grew from an egg, what was it even eating???" But I shove away the horrifying thought of a moth caterpillar colony in my bedroom, and decide to unplug my charger and carry the caterpillar outside.
It falls off when I grab the cord, so I scoop it up with a little piece of paper and it immediately curls up and plays dead. I take it downstairs ("I would've just flushed it," my husband comments) and set it free outside. Then my husband and daughter return to their movie and I return to bed...
And stare at the ceiling in the dark wondering if there's a whole colony of caterpillars in my box springs. The End Epilogue:
My husband did try to make me feel better by adding, "Maybe it climbed in a window through a little crack or something when you had them open a while back." I am clinging to that reality, even though it's been weeks since I opened these windows.