Monday, May 21, 2007

A new (unwanted!) house-guest

The other day I was up with the kids in the morning and thought I heard a funny sound somewhere in the house. There was so much going on, though, that I didn't really think about it. Later I heard it again, but thought maybe it was my bread machine. No... could it be the fan in my room with something caught in it perhaps? No... Oh, Ethan's awake now. Maybe he's been making weird noises.

As I passed the laundry room, I heard distinct animal noises and realized this was not Ethan, or my fan, or the bread machine, but a creature.

I have to admit: I was a little afraid. I could tell it wasn't just a mouse. And it sounded like it was loose in the room. It wasn't squeezing under the door so I figured it must be bigger than that. I made the mistake of asking the kids to listen, too (to make sure I wasn't just losing my mind), and they joined me in my anxiety. Except that I was scared of an animal making a mess of my room or perhaps being rabid or unpleasant like a skunk. My kids were saying things like, "Maybe it's a leopard!" I assured them it was nothing of the kind.

While I got on the phone, trying to find someone to help me, Naomi and Josiah went in their room and shut their door. I called my mother-in-law, my apartment manager, the health department, my landlord, and finally, because I hadn't reached anyone else helpful, the sheriff's office to speak with animal control.

In between calls, I heard happy sounds from the kids' room and realized that they were making a game of this! I tried to go in there to talk to them and couldn't open the door. They had barricaded it with their little rocking-chair, other little chairs and doll strollers. Naomi said that Josiah had the duty of "Watching the Door." They were still sure this creature was none other than a crocodile or a lion.

A few hours after I'd first heard the sounds, my landlord finally came over and went into the laundry room to check it out. By now, the kids were visiting Mimi and I was alone with Ethan. The landlord never did hear the animal sounds, but after looking behind things and in boxes and not seeing anything, he concluded there had been a bird in our dryer vent. He turned on the dryer, admitted that the grating on the outside of our dryer vent doesn't stay shut, and told me not to worry.

It's been a week now, and we still hear our bird everyday, throughout the day. We told our landlord that this is a continuing problem, but he just said, "Keep running your dryer -- it will go away." It's not working. We think this bird has actually built a nest in our tubing. And anyway, it's so warm now that I'm trying not to use the dryer, and am hanging up my clothes outside to dry. So while my clothes are on the clothesline, I run my dryer for 10 minutes at a time to try to shoo this unwanted house-guest out of our house.

We're used to the sounds now. But even tonight, Naomi got out of bed and said she was afraid the mommy bird was bringing food to the baby birds and that the food was BUGS. She was sure there would be bugs getting into our house now because of this bird. I'll let you know if we ever have baby birds flying around our laundry room once they've battered their way through the small hole in our tubing. Hopefully we'll be gone by then...

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