Monday, September 17, 2012

Squirrel Wars Part II: Bed, Bath, and Beyond

If you have not read Part I of my squirrel wars diary, you may want to click here before reading today's post.

Part II: Bed, Bath, and Beyond

I didn’t really give up the fight over the rights to the planter. The squirrels may have think they won, but what really happened is I found a better place to spend my time. I found the smaller porch off of my bedroom to be a much better place to escape neighbors (and children).  That porch had railings on all three sides, so if my dog wanted to sit with me, she could do so without me having to keep an eye on her.  She loved to wander, and if you remember, much of the yard was not fenced.
I found a glider at a yard sale for ten bucks. It was full of mold and dust because it had been sitting under trees for who knows how long.  I carried it home, we pressure washed it, and it became my new throne.  I use the word throne here with the word my because I soon learned that mine wasn’t the only throne on the side porch.

My Throne

On each side of the glider, I placed matching green plastic chairs, like they ones you get at Walmart, the nicer ones with a fancy back. When we lived in the little house, our back porch was not covered, so when it rained, the chairs got wet.  I liked these chairs because there were tiny holes in the center of the seats, for drainage. They dried quickly, no puddles to accidently sit on.
I liked to keep the side porch swept and occasionally I mopped it.  Yes, I mopped the porch.  One day, on my way to the glider, I noticed a puddle in the seat of one of the chairs. Funny, I don’t remember it raining. Even if it had rained, the wind would have had to be blowing pretty hard to get water on the chairs, it was a fairly wide porch. Plus, because there was a puddle, it would have been a very recent rain. That day, the sky was clear. I didn’t think much more about it, but a little while later, as I was sitting there admiring my kingdom and clean throne room, I noticed somewhat of a stain on the wood beneath the chair.  I got up to inspect it further. Moved the chair, got a rag, wiped it….the stain was YELLOW.  Huh? What the heck IS this? I cleaned it up and forgot about it.  Until the puddle showed up another day.  And then another. And then I stopped cleaning it…because I REFUSED to clean up the TOILET OF A SQUIRREL! Ew! When I realized what it was I was totally grossed out.  I did hose it down at times, but wiping it down made me feel angry and creepy all at the same time.  Plus, I just knew they were in the trees laughing their stupid little heads off.  We simply avoided sitting in that chair. 2 points squirrels.  I am moving very quickly towards hate at this point, but not quite there.

Squirrel "Throne"

Somewhere in the time frame between like and hate, I became fascinated with a new discovery I had made.  It was totally unrelated to my war with the neighbors.  It was simply an observation I allowed to get the best of me.
Have you ever been driving down the road and had a squirrel jump out I in front of you and you just KNOW you are going to hit it, but when you look into your rearview mirror, not only do you not see a dead squirrel, but he seems to have vanished into midair?  I had always wondered about that.  It is like they have some sort of magic disappearing trick. One day, riding behind a car, I had the pleasure of seeing what happens and witnessing the “magic” for myself.  I watched a squirrel dart out, but then, just barely landing in front of the car, he JUMPED about 10 feet!  Who knew a squirrel could jump so far?! Actually, I have learned since then 8 feet is about the norm, but with a running start, I’ll bet they can reach ten.  So that’s how they do it. That’s why they seem to disappear.
As I drove along, I began to realize that IF someone actually hit a squirrel, it could be considered a real talent.  The timing would have to be perfect, I was sure it took special skill. What a challenge! What if I could actually hit one of them? I am a lousy aim at darts or baseball or anything sports related, but surely with a car I could hit a squirrel.  Especially now that I knew their clever little secret.
Now before you get all upset, please remember that I really didn’t hate squirrels at this point, and really, they rarely get hit.  They know how to navigate the streets, and I was lousy aim anyway.  So it isn’t as if I was chasing them down (yet).  I simply would have been proud of myself had I actually hit one.
Weeks and months rolled along, they with their comfy bed and pretty toilet, me with my eyes glued to the wheel and ready for action.  I never hit one.  I swerved and tried a couple of times, but they were too fast, jumped too far. 
Then, one day as I was driving down a back road at 55 miles an hour, I spotted one!  He was just standing there, in the middle of the road.  I saw him from quite a distance away, so I didn’t get very excited.  I knew he’d be gone by the time I got closer so there was no sense in wasting gas accelerating.  He was in the middle of my lane, on his hind legs, facing the opposite direction. As I got closer and closer, I began to realize that this was no ordinary squirrel.  No, this was a DUMB squirrel. He never moved, he never turned back to look, he just stood there looking off into the distance in the middle of my lane.  I knew what was going to happen.  But I couldn’t even get excited about it. Really? After all this time, you are just going to STAND THERE? HELLO…Aren’t you paying attention?
It was the biggest disappointment. There was no thrill of the chase, no victory won, just a dead, dumb squirrel on the road and me feeling somehow cheated out of a really good adventure. Still, 1 point for Rox.

Oh, the story continues.  They were still not satisfied with what they had gained, and I am convinced that the news got back to my squirrel neighbors: “Rox hit cousin Dumbo with her van. Pass it on…” because it was at this point the hatred began…..

Part III: Invasion and Allies
(stay tuned)

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