A Squirrel Pox

Fans of the radio show This American Life might understand me when I say we recently survived a week-long Squirrel Cop episode. If you haven’t heard it, I highly recommend you spend 14 minutes streaming Squirrel Cop. It is comedy gold. If you don’t want to take those 14 minutes, I’ll sum up the story for you: There was a fiasco.

Act One

Our own squirrel pox began on a lovely long weekend. The Swedelock’s parents came for a visit. They brought with them a bed for our guest room (no more air mattress!), gallons of liquor for our cabinet (booze is pricey in the Mitten State), and one giant organic free-range chicken (don’t let the delicious chicken in the photo distract you from the martini).

chicken

The weather suddenly toasty, we threw open the few windows we could. (Our storms are screwed in by our landlord from the outside, and were still installed.) With the new bed displacing a few items, things were a little out of order. But we were a house filled with spring air, and chicken stock, and leftover pineapple upside down cake.

Two mornings after the grandparents left, I went to the basement / laundry to discover what I could only describe as the hazing ritual of a rat. Claw marks. Dirt. Tiny poop. Vaguely pinkish pee. Something about having to clean up this area for everyone (we share the space with three nice med students in the duplex) sent me over the homemaker edge. I e-mailed Landlord, and had a bleach-filled morning.

Meanwhile, we’d lost our sweat shirt weather overnight. My neighbors were concerned we were going to die of heat stroke if we didn’t wear some shorts pronto. To soothe my annoyance about a wasted morning, I brought down our summer clothes from the attic. I would DO something that day, by golly! But. The toddler was in a mood. I assumed he was picking up on my mood, but man was he was a needy, whiny mess. Operation Switch-The-Wardrobe didn’t work so well. During nap time I contemplated beer, but instead opted to complain on Facebook about the rat party.

While sitting on my butt, soothing my soul with social media, I heard from the indoor back porch, “Oh. My. God. Oh. MGod. Holy [expletive I wasn’t expecting from a sweet med student from Michigan.] Oh.”

I thought she discovered a pile of rat poop somewhere. But nope. She discovered the squirrel. Bounding up our back steps. Toward my open back door. Landlord had already stopped by on his lunch break because of my maybe-rat e-mail. This time he got a call.

I’ll fast forward through the landlord-tenant details and get to the part where he came back to the house, and told me the removal of the squirrel would be my responsibility. Because there was a screen-less (he had the screens in storage) window open, which is perhaps how the squirrel got in. I am proud to say this resulted in my saying, “I am so angry right now that I have to stop talking. I am leaving.”

Why am I proud of this response? I have Irish blood, and a quick tongue. We were all lucky I rode my huffmobile back into the house.

About 45 seconds later, a Swedelock’s coworker had offered to drop off a squirrel trap that evening, I had a drink in my hand (thanks, neighbors!), and I had the smug satisfaction of being a nice family filled with problem-solvers and problem-solving friends.

After all the hullabaloo? The workin’ man got home, headed downstairs, and happened upon the squirrel. Using a mix of The Force and Whispering Powers, he successfully ushered the rodent outside.

We put the fussy toddler to bed, and settled into the couch. What a day!

And then the toddler started puking.

Stay with us for Act 2

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