‘No good deed goes unpunished….’ Oscar Wilde
This is a saying that often pops out of my mouth amidst laughter, because it seems that some of the most hay wire gone wrong things that ever occur in my world, begin with a seemingly good deed.
That is how Thursday night began for us. For two nights in a row, when my husband and I settled into bed for the night, shortly after turning the lights out, we began to hear a scratching sound coming from the wall near our bed. After moving furniture, going through drawers etc., we were able to surmise that we had some living creature stuck inside our bedroom wall. That first night we were hopeful that whatever it was, perhaps it would find its way out via whatever way it had gotten in. When we turned out the lights on night two, within minutes the telltale scratching began. I had asked my Dad (who is infinitely wise about these sorts of things) what he thought it could be and he assured me that it must be a bird that had somehow flown in one of our ceiling vents. My husband agreed with my Dad. I took their word for it and the sympathy faucet for this bird started dripping in my mind….
So Thursday was night three- and once again, just as the lights went out, the scratching began. It was much louder and desperate sounding though, and this really bothered both my husband and I.
In hindsight, I can see, that my first mistake was to buy into my dad and husband’s philosophy that this was a cute little bird flopping around in our wall. My second mistake was to allow that sympathy faucet to cause me to verbalize my thoughts out loud to my softhearted husband. As soon as I muttered the word ‘suffering’ out loud it had to take less than a Nano second for us to jointly make the leap from rational adults who really just needed to cover our heads with a pillow and go to sleep, to honorary PETA members who could not let a creature suffer and die in our wall without at least trying to do ‘something.’
As we followed the slippery slope of compassion into the wee hours of the night, that ‘Something’ quickly turned into a gaping hole in the wall of our brand new home. We were all set up to capture the bird (a white winged dove in my twisted mind) and release it blissfully into the night sky. However that is not how it went….
Once the hole was made, things got eerily quiet. We were being ultra gentle…. Didn’t want to traumatize our bird of peace any more than we had to… Due to logistics, we were not able to simply look down into the hole to see what was there…and the wall was not small, so the winged creature could have been huddled anywhere within an expanse of space below the hole. In trying to figure out where exactly our feathered friend was, my husband grabbed my phone and held it above the opening and flashed a picture so that we could begin to get a sense of where the bird awaiting its rescue was. As I said a moment ago, the wall is kind of big, so I don’t think either of us really expected that first photography attempt to deliver any hard evidence of anything…. so when he pulled the phone back and it contained a studio quality image of a mouse staring demurely into the camera it hit us like a Mack truck.
We roared with laughter- that kind of laughter that is so intense that you quit making any noise at all for a few seconds as all traces of air leave your body…. Maybe it was the lack of oxygen from our laugh attack, or maybe it was delirium because this quest had taken WAY TOO LONG…but we digressed into a flurry of really stupid Stewart Little jokes. We ended our silliness with a conversation about finding a little red car for Stewart to cruise around the house in once we busted him out of our wall proper.
Well this creature who we first personified as Stewart Little soon became much more sinister. Despite our best (and in hind sight clearly ridiculous efforts) to contain Stewart and release him into the wild like good PETA members, of course you know he escaped into our house. This caused a mild marital spat because from my viewpoint, it was ultimately my husband who got aced out by Stewart. While he stood watch in front of the big hole in our new wall, poised for battle with a broom, flashlight, duct tape, and a cardboard box, Stewart cruised right on by him undetected. Honestly, he may as well have been driving the little red convertible we had so carelessly joked about… ( I know you are thinking ‘why duct tape?’ …don’t even ask, remember we were oxygen deprived from laughter at this point…)
Stewart made a beeline for our rather large bedroom closet. At that point we both threw our PETA membership cards aside and declared war. My hubby went and got our cat from the garage and he and the cat disappeared into the closet together. As you might guess, it was very late by this time, and since Bri and the cat had things covered, and because I am a peri-menopausal woman who was awake in the middle of the night, I did what all women my age will understand…. I went to the kitchen and had a snack 😉
While I was enjoying my lukewarm piece of lasagna, I could hear banging and muffled words coming from our closet area. I was hopeful that Stewart’s lifeless body was dangling out of the jaws of our usually arrogant and useless cat. As I sat waiting for a victory cry, instead my husband came stalking out of the closet berating our cat and heaved it into the garage. He continued his hateful diatribe toward the cat and hastily informed me that Stewart had now disappeared into MY shoe rack. Well of course the little bas**rd had, I thought to myself. Fueled by my recent carbo load, I was ready for battle.
But to my dismay, I quickly realized that our post move mousetraps were still buried somewhere deep in the bottom of a cardboard box. So in the wee hours of the night, one of us was going to have to run to Wal Mart for provisions. (Turns out, Stewart was a deer mouse, carriers of the famed Hanta Virus, so we weren’t really interested in allowing him to bunk in our house one moment longer than necessary.) After the cat had failed us, we had duct taped the bottom of the closet door to prevent escape, so there was no access to clothes…. And between the two of us, I in my pink plaid pajamas was the less likely to be arrested for indecent exposure, so I headed off to Wal-Mart for supplies.
When I returned and we removed the duct tape from the bottom of the door to place a mousetrap inside the closet… the duct tape pulled the paint from the bottom of the door. This was the final straw…. one mousetrap turned into four. That little sucker was not coming outta there alive….
When we finally collapsed into bed our bellies actually hurt from the fits of giggles we had been plagued with for hours. There was a hole in the wall, sheetrock and debris scattered everywhere, a botched closet door, and by morning Stewart was dangling lifeless off the edge of a mousetrap. And all of this began with the intention to release a white winged dove into the night….
PETA members, (note: we burned our honorary membership cards before the ink could even dry on them)…. please know, Stewart did not die in vain. His portrait has been shared liberally among our family and friends, and the endorphins that have been released at the telling of our ridiculous tale have most certainly allowed a ‘runner’s high’ level of mood enhancement to at least a few of us out in the world…. And when all is said and done, that is not such a bad legacy to leave behind…