March 13th, 2011 12:02 EST
The Day of the Squirrel
I returned home from the grocery store and was surprised that my 80-pound German Shepherd, Miss Muffie, did not greet me at the door in her usual, frantic fashion. I called out to her. But she did not come. Growls and scratching sounds emanated from the kitchen. Cautiously, I made my way back, and there I saw it -- a big, brown, fuzzy squirrel jumping up and down in a state of panic on the sill of my garden window, and the dog in front of the window blocking the rodent`s path to escape.
Okay, I told myself in a calm voice. It`s just a squirrel-- only a possibly rabid rodent, which by the way looks like it weighs 40 pounds. But you can handle this. But do you know what? I couldn`t handle it. I did not know how to handle squirrels. I had to kill a few roaches in my college dorm in New York City years ago, and I still have nightmares about it. For a squirrel, I would need therapy.
I ran quickly outside to the patio and grabbed a rake -- I don`t have a clue why. I just knew I wanted it. I propped open the patio door and banged on its window to direct the squirrel to the way out, but it wouldn`t budge. I ran and opened the front door hoping the squirrel would see that as a route to freedom too.
This was obviously a very stupid squirrel. It didn`t go anywhere near any of the doors. It scampered off through my dining room, into my living room knocking everything over in its path. Of course, my dog followed in hot pursuit, and I, with my rake in hand, chased the dog. We ran up the stairs; we ran down the stairs. Finally, the furry monster ran into our spare bedroom -- more commonly known as the Barbie room. I grabbed the dog before she ran into the room, and I pulled her out briskly. The squirrel crouched in the corner and shook with fear. Personally, I think it was overwhelmed by the hot pink paint, the Barbie border and the 1000 or so naked dolls strewn around the room. If I was that small, I know this room would frighten the hell out of me. Amazingly, I came to my senses and slammed the door shut trapping the rodent inside. Then I made plans.
I called my husband at work to calmly tell him of the situation. I thought I was doing pretty well. His voice mail came on and what I planned to say was,
We have a squirrel in the house, what do you think is the correct procedure? What came out was,
Where the hell are you? Why aren`t you ever at your damn desk? Get home! There`s a huge rodent in the Barbie room and it`s chewing the heads off all the dolls!"
With that done, I hung up. I then tried his cell number. Voice mail again. So, I left another well-thought out message. In the meantime, I called exterminator after exterminator. Very few handle squirrels. Finally, one nice guy answered the phone, and I said,
"Help me. I have a squirrel trapped in my bedroom, please come now."
The man must have sensed the panic in my voice. He took my address and told me he`d be there as soon as possible -- in about an hour and a half.
I don`t think I need to mention that it was a long ninety minutes. When the exterminator did arrive, I met him at the door-- still carrying my rake, of course. We crept up into the hallway and prepared to fling open the door. We assumed Starsky and Hutch positions. I thought we should call for back up, but he assured me he could handle the perpetrator himself. He went in and shut the door behind him. I heard furniture move, and I thought that the rabid rodent is eating him. But within a minute he came out and announced he didn`t find the squirrel. Instead, he showed me a stuffed mermaid doll and said,
"This is probably what you saw."
"I don`t think so," I chuckled politely while tightening the grip on my rake. Come see the damage to my three-week old, garden bay window."
He apologized. And then he went back into the room, and there he found the squirrel. I heard the window open, and the exterminator said the squirrel finally escaped. Then he handed me a bill for $175. Yep, $175. It might be just me, but I think for that kind of money, he could have least feigned a life-and-death struggle with the rodent.