In a previous blog, I wrote to you about how we cleaned our basement one section at a time and now it is a beautiful wide-open space with lots of storage. When I wrote that blog, I wrote that I would tell you another time why we had to clean the basement.
It all started in the middle of the night several weeks ago. My husband was tired and went to bed early. Within an hour of our early retiring, our dog, Rosie, started to play. She would run up and down the hallway outside our bedroom and knock into the closed basement door while playing. It was so noisy that it awoke my husband. Because he was so sleepy, he was also short-tempered. He yelled at Rosie and commanded her to lay down. Rosie obeyed for a few minutes giving us just enough time fall back to sleep before she began to play again. After a few hours of this, my husband did what every person does after many trials, he got whiny. He rolled over to me and said, "OH, I don't know what to do!!!" So I patted him on his hip and said, "It's ok, honey. I'll take care of it." I slipped out of bed, not bothering to put on my glasses, and stepped into our hallway to corral our errant dog. What I was met with was something fuzzy, laying on the floor with a long tail. The tail had no fuzz or fur. It was skin. Since I wasn't wearing my glasses, all I saw was fuzz and a skin-tail. I turned on my heel, ran into our bedroom, lept onto the bed and shouted, "There is a RAT in the hall!"
Now, I have a history of being afraid of mice. Our cats bring mice to us quite often since we live very rurally, and I always have the same reaction, "Get that away from me!" I have no problem with bugs and spiders, but rodents and snakes are a HUGE problem. My husband knows of my history with rodents, so after I yelled that there was a rat in our hallway, he assumed it was a little mouse brought in by the cats. He sighed, loudly...quite loudly...a little over-dramatic if I must say so myself. Anyway, he sighed and said, "I'll take care of it."
He DID put on his glasses and stepped into the hallway. He immediately turned back into the bedroom and closed the door. Then he announced, "It's a 'possum." For the past few hours, our dog had been playing with an opossum outside our bedroom door!!! Well, my first thought was, "We have to move. We'll wake the boys, pack a few things and go live with my mother. I'm not living with a 'possum."
This was not my husband's first thought, however. He began to get dressed and put his shoes on his feet. He was going possum hunting. When he returned to our hallway, the opossum was no longer there. He returned to inform me of the possum's location and I informed him that if he did not find and erradicate the possum, he would NOT be returning to our bed! So again, there was a long, loud sigh and he returned to the hallway. He found the possum hiding behind our toilet. The possum was wet from where our dog was playing with it.
Todd slipped a pair of welding gloves that we keep near the fireplace onto his hands and returned to the bathroom to deal with this possum. He managed to slide the possum into my mop-bucket and hold it down with a plunger. Now, picture this, my husband is 6 foot-3 inches tall, weighing 300 pounds. He's a hunter and outdoorsman, so think rugged. He was wearing a pair of shorts, a t-shirt, and...welder's gloves. He walked out into our yard and thought, "Now what?" It was well-past midnight, so it was very dark outside. He was afraid that if he simply sat the bucket on the ground he would not know for sure that the opossum would be released from his prison. So he walked to the back of our yard and threw the bucket as far away as possible while running for our door!
And so, crisis averted, we returned to our bedroom and a shortened night of sleep. Why did that require us to clean the basement you ask? ...just wait.
A few days later we were having a murphy's law day. You know Murphy's Law: Everything that can go wrong WILL go wrong. Earlier in the day, my husband called his brother to wish him a happy birthday and got some distressing news. Then we were moving our boys into the bedroom on the second floor. I was boxing up toys that we no longer needed to give to good will. As I was carrying a box down the steps, my foot landed on a lacrosse stick. I fell down the stairs and my right foot landed at my head! As I was sliding down the steps, my husband tried to stop my fall by grabbing the box and, instead, pushed it into my face. I was seeing stars and my ankle was throbbing, so I was shuffled off to our bed. While laying with my foot elevated, Todd took a call from yet another family member to learn of more distressing family news. By early evening, we were reeling from the problems this day had presented. We decided that our best solution would be to go to bed early. We were only in bed a few minutes when I heard a noise at the basement steps. I got up, thinking it was one of our cats looking for a bed-time snack, and opened the cellar door. When I turned on the light, I saw an opossum nearly three-quarters up our steps. He looked at me, turned around and began descending the basement steps. Well, I'm a mother of two boys. I have dealt with many scary situations. I'm a confident woman who is fully in control of all her faculties...I began screaming, "Possum! Possum!" in a high pitch at the top of my lungs!
My boys, ages 10 and 9, and my husband rushed to my aid. Actually, I think that my boys found this all to be a great adventure. They donned clothes and protective gear. The welding gloves were again worn, as well as various hats and helmets, a lacrosse stick (the dreaded one that cause my fall earlier that day), a softball bat and the plunger that Mr. Possum had nibbled during his flight in my mop bucket in the back yard.
Todd and the boys searched the basement for quite some time and could not find the possum. They also could not find an escape or entrance route. This is where the impetous for cleaning the basement came. Over the next week, we moved every object in the basement. We swept the floor, threw away many-many garbage bags full of junk, and placed all remaining objects on shelves or in plastic containers. Our basement has never looked so clean and organized in the nine years in which we've lived here.
We never found the possum. We did figure out that the critter was climbing our steps to eat the cat's food. We have a kitty door in the door that goes from our hallway into the basement steps. Up until the possum incident we fed the cats by placing their pan of food at the top of the basement steps each evening. The cats would then go through the basement kitty door to eat. Their litter box is also located at the bottom of the basement steps, so they use the kitty-door quite often. The possum got into our hall to play with our dog, Rosie, but using the kitty door. Each evening the possum had supper after we fed our cats! When I discovered him climbing the steps, he was trying to get to his supper!
We have not seen Mr. Possum since that fateful evening, but our basement is still a wide-open cement playground! And all it took was one...maybe two...little possums!