Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Close encounters of the squirrel kind

I should have known something was up as soon as I walked in the door after work yesterday.  Maddie greeted me, but not as enthusiastically as usual.  She came over to say hi and then walked back to the treadmill by the front window.  She came back to me when she saw the leash, though, and dutifully headed to the front door for her bathroom break.  I only had a few minutes before my friend came to pick me up to head to our big night in Kansas City: dinner and the Pearl Jam concert.  I've been dreaming of that concert for 6 weeks since I was promised the ticket and for 18 years since I first fell for Eddie Vedder.  I feared the disappointment I would see in Maddie's eyes when I refused to take her for a walk, but this dog was not interested in being outside.  She quickly did her business and made a beeline to the door.  Now I knew something was amiss because even on nasty days that dog wants to linger outside and yesterday was a lovely afternoon.

She darted right back to that treadmill before I could even get the leash off.  There was something underneath it that she had to get to.  In vain, she tried to stretch her poor little paws an extra foot so they could reach whatever was there.  She madly tried to dig a hole right through the thing.  She was so frantic, I knew whatever was under there had to be better than the orange squeaky ball.  I've had mice in the house before, but surely a mouse would have just run into a wall.  Then I remembered the thing that had clearly gotten stuck in my chimney over the weekend.  The screen cap over my chimney must have come loose again and some small animal found its way in there.  I had hoped it was a bird that could just fly its way out.  The chimney is no longer attached to a fireplace but houses the duct work for my heating and air systems.  It empties down into the very creepy cellar I never go near.  Had whatever gotten trapped in that chimney found its way out through the cellar and then found its way into my library?  With much trepidation, I got down on the floor, laid on my stomach, and looked under the treadmill.  All I saw was eyes.  Eyes way too big to belong to a mouse.

I'm not ashamed to admit my first thought was, "Damn.  What a time not to have a man."  Yes, I know that's horrible and weak and shameful, but the wild animal in the house scenario is one I would happily turn over to the man to handle.  At least I'm honest about it.  On a more practical level, that man had a key to my house and treated it, and the dog, as his own, so could have taken over the squirrel-catching while I went about my long-established plans.  Because my second thought was, "No frickin' way am I missing Pearl Jam!" But as I assessed my options in addressing the crazed, wannabe hunter dog and the potentially rabid animal she desperately wanted to make her prey, most of them involved me missing Pearl Jam.

Animal control seemed the most logical option, but also the option most likely to ruin my plans.  Leaving the dog alone in the house with the squirrel and dealing with the situation later briefly flitted into my mind, but was obviously not an actual option.  So since Plan A (rely on man) was not available, I went with this as Plan B: plucky friend and her brave boyfriend, owners of a cat who regularly bring still-breathing animals in from the great outdoors.

Plucky friend and her brave boyfriend were over within minutes.  After much discussion, serious disruption of furniture and belongings in two rooms, and some flawed attempts to shoo it out the door, we finally managed to get the darn thing to scurry into a big box which we then carried outside.  (I knew keeping all those boxes even though I have no intention of moving anytime soon would pay off!)  As soon as it realized it was free from the box and the big scary beast (Maddie), the darn thing promptly scurried to the edge of the house where it desperately tried to find a way back in.  Gah! 

Coincidentally (or not), a friend also had a run-in with squirrels yesterday as she discovered that a family of squirrels have taken up residence in her attic.  They chose to openly and brazenly announce their claim to lawful residence on the very same day of my close encounter of the squirrel kind.  I suppose it could truly be an innocent coincidence, signifying nothing.  But the attack of "The Birds" surely started with just one or two residents of the soon-to-be-terrorized town noticing some aggressive bird behavior.  I can't help but wonder if we are facing a "Pinky and the Brain" style attempt to take over the world by bigger rodents.  Ok, so the squirrel in my house didn't seem as smart as Pinky, but maybe that was just an act to lull me and my crack squirrel-catching team into a false sense of security.  Or maybe it's just an isolated attempt to take over northeast Kansas.

At least on this night, the squirrels failed to take over my house.  The squirrel was evicted, I was only 10 minutes late to dinner, and I did not miss one second of Pearl Jam.

1 comment:

Lisa Johnson said...

Oh goodness. The squirrels are organizing! ; )

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