The nightly ritual of shutting down the house is well ingrained. I moved through the rooms, checking doors and windows, shutting off lights and set up the coffee machine. My last stop before bed was the bathroom. My bath is a huge, skylighted, claw-footed-tub sanctuary. It is filled with my most intimate photos from childhood and beyond. The light blazed on and sitting on my shower curtain rod was a gray squirrel. I screamed. It screamed. It leapt to the floor. I slammed the door. There was no way I was prepared to deal with a live animal in my bathroom at that hour. I crawled into bed and hoped for the best. The door was closed, the light off and hopefully it would have somehow managed to find a way out by morning.
Strange dreams populated the night, an eery kaleidoscope of visions that all involved wildlife and sharp teeth. At 3am, just as I realized my hand was on the doorknob, I woke up enough to shuffle down the hall to the half-bath off the kitchen. Better safe than rouse the sleeping critter.
My plan in the morning was to open a window, grab a broom and shoo the little scamp out. Obviously, my head wasn’t connecting to my heart. I feared cardiac arrest as I slammed and swept the room from the doorway, yelling obscenities at the top of my lungs. The squirrel darted with amazing speed, launching itself from the towels to the top of the curtain rod and back to the linens hanging on the wall. At one point, screaming like a banshee I entered the room. He or she was once again cornered in the shower stall and I could hear it screaming back at me, “Look lady, this is getting us no where!!” I lunged around the corner and stabbed at the shower stall, bristles flying. Then there was silence.
“Good. Much easier to relocate if she/he is stunned or dead.” I peeked around the curtain and the thing was hanging from my shower scrubby. “IIII EEE!!” and we were off again. This critter was not getting the message that there was an open window through which it should exit. I retreated to reconsider my plan.
I searched for Skeedles the cat. If I threw her in and closed the door, perhaps she could finish the critter off and I could remove it. That would no doubt involve blood and guts, something I don’t relish. It could also impose injury on the cat. I called Wilson and prevailed upon him to come armed with a trap, gloves, whatever it would take to remove the beast. He appeared with a towel.
Wilson entered the room and I heard him talking quietly and gently. “Come on little fellow, lets just get you back outside. Calm down now and just let me help you out.” He opened the door with the gray ball of fluff wrapped securely in the towel. I pointed to the open window and he tossed the squirrel out saying “Have a nice day, now!”
It took me several hours to calm my nerves and clean up the mess. All day I struggled to explain the concept of “inside toys vs. outside toys” to the dog and cat. Alice insisted her bones were tastier on the living room carpet. The fluffy “inside toys” were scattered around the backyard. Skeedles lurked and looked attentive as I described in great detail the difference between Indoor vs outdoor critters.
With jangled nerves I set to cleaning up the room. There were broom-bristles everywhere and odd spots of squirrel poop. I finished up disinfecting the shower and came around the corner to the living room only to spy this:
Thanks for the gift Skeedles. Now, let’s talk about your dead/outside toys…