“Whoa, did you see that?” I whooped at my husband as we sat on the family room sofa watching TV.
“Something just scooted under the media cabinet!” I quickly lifted my bare feet up off the floor and tucked them under me on the sofa so whatever it was wouldn’t come back out and attack my defenseless toes.
“What something?” He wondered.
“I don’t know. But it was big and furry and FAST! Get down there and see what it is,” I ordered pointing to the floor in front of the cabinet. We had our roles. I was in charge of the pointing. Investigating mysterious, fast moving, furry things was clearly his domain.
He was just about to get off the sofa when I screamed again.
“Ack! I just saw another one. Whatever it is, there are two of them!”
The two of us cringed on the sofa, and then the door to the family room opened and the kids came into the room. I was about to tell them about the two furry things under the cabinet when I saw a third one join the other two.
“Kids, get over here,” I yelled. “We have an infestation of some kind of small animal and they are all under the media cabinet!” The kids dove onto the sofa and all four of us huddled for protection until my husband had the realization that I might be imagining the whole thing.
“This is ridiculous,” he said, getting off the couch. “It’s probably a couple of mice or something. I’ll chase them out with a broom.”
As my husband left the room to find his mystery furry thing weapon of choice, I wondered what kind of hairy beasts were running loose in the house. Was it mice? Squirrels? Did our long lost hamsters suddenly come back after being missing for eight years? And how come the dog wasn’t barking? Didn’t he know it was his job to keep the outside animals from coming in? I looked at the dog asleep on the family room floor and decided whatever it was under the cabinet had probably slipped the dog a sedative in his kibble so he wouldn’t detect them. Squirrels were known for that.
My husband finally returned with the broom and opened the back door so he could chase out whatever emerged from under the cabinet. Then he knelt down on the floor and made a large sweeping gesture with the broom under the media cabinet. The kids and I leaned way back on the sofa waiting for the animals to bolt out, but surprisingly, nothing happened.
“There’s nothing there,” he announced.
“There WAS something there,” I insisted. “I think this is beyond our expertise. You should probably call animal control.”
My husband withdrew the broom and peered under the cabinet for good measure. Then he looked at the broom. It was covered in balls of dog fur.
“We don’t have an infestation of mice,” he said, removing the fur balls from the broom. “We have an infestation of dust bunnies.”
“Dust bunnies?” I repeated.
“How do you get rid of dust bunnies, Mom?” asked my daughter.
“You vacuum the floor,” replied my husband.
“No,” I said, shaking my head. “You vacuum the dog.”
This is a repeated Lost in Suburbia column, which has appeared in GateHouse Media newspapers since 2008. As Tracy Beckerman’s main column is shifting focus - her kids are grown and she has moved back to the city - we are rerunning her earlier work for readers who may have missed these the first time around. You can follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LostinSuburbiaFanPage/ and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/tracybeckerman.