Sunday, May 23, 2010


I have been traumatized by squirrels. Anyone in my family who has had the pleasure of having one of the attic bedrooms at one point or another, will probably tell you the same. We grew up in a turn of the century (the last one, not this one) in the city across the street from a park. And we had squirrels. Not the cute ones you see running across country roads. Not the little ones you might see scurrying up a tree in the woods. NO! These were City Squirrels. We're talking big, honking, fat, raccoon-sized squirrels. And they lived in the vast rafters of our attic. The part of it that surrounded my bedroom on 2 walls plus the ceiling.

They did not sleep. They did not rest. They ran about rolling and tumbling with one another. Yelling and screeching at which ever one of them got in the way. Yes, they. For there were several. They moved furniture (so it seemed to the 10 year old me lying awake wondering if they were ever going to leave me alone). And, they scraped and scratched on the wall right at the headboard of my bed. All night. Scrape, scrape, scrape. I always thought they would pop right through the thin lath and plaster wall that separated us.

Seriously. I thought they would. How could they not? They scraped and scratched at the same spot day in day out (when they weren't doing the other things they did, of course). And they were huge. HUGE!!!

My parents tried everything they could think of to get them to move away - moth balls (that just smelled up my room); they put battery powered radios to scare them away (they just changed the station and started clogging); they blocked up all the holes from the outside in (that just made them scrape more furiously); and they even called a trapper once (who said that he did not possess traps big enough to catch them). So, we were left with them. And I was scarred.

Now, I am stuck with a severe rodent phobia which isn't limited to just the fat city squirrels of my childhood nightmares. It extends itself into my garden when i accidentally step on those little grass balls of baby voles and they start screeching (EEE EEEE EEEEEEEE - mama mama! this big foot just stepped on me!!! and mama comes running straight at me!! Yikes! ... Ahem, sorry.) It extends to the mice we have in our house (did I just tell you we have mice?). It extends even to the cute little bunnies who sometimes stupidly nest in our backyard.

But I am all grown up now with a house of my own. And there is no lath and plaster on my walls. And I don't have an attic room. But!! I do have a nest of squirrels in my rafter-y attic space above my library. I have tried to ignore them, and am generally successful at it. Until, that is, they try to get out of their hiding place from the underside (the part closest to me) of my porch through an opening we have there (too hard to explain, just some random opening we have in our underside of our roof underneath the skylight). The escape always seems to be trying to happen as I am standing on the porch hanging clothes on the clothesline there. Squirrel - "eeeee". Translation - "can you move, I really want to come down from here." Me - "Uuuuuhhhh.... Please go away. Please just let me finish hanging my laundry. Please." Squirrel - "EEEEEEE!" Translation - "Girl, get out my way! I want to come down. And if you don't move, I'll come down anyway!" Me - "Alright!! Just go away long enough for me to walk under you."


Well, last evening, while I was doing dishes, I heard a ton of commotion on my back porch from my dogs. They were growling and running to and fro as if they were tying to get some small animal. But what could that be? What stupid small animal would be on my porch with 2 big huge dogs?! Then I heard the dreaded "eeeeee", so I went running. You see, I could tell it was a rodent. And despite my severe rodent phobia, I am also a lover of animals. I could not let my dogs kill something in that fashion. After lots of shouting and scuffling, we realized that it was a baby squirrel.

There were no visible wounds, but he seemed in bad shape. Laying there twitching - eyes open. We thought about putting it out of it's misery. But neither one of us could do it. So we waited and watched. After a while it stopped twitching. When we went out to look at it, it looked like it was just having a peaceful rest right there on our porch. My husband, not me, I would never get that close, poked at it and it stretched like a little baby waking from his nap. Cute! I thought so. I actually thought so. He might end up being ok after all!!

Carefully, my husband, not me, I would never get that close, put him on a little rag and carried him up a ladder and set him in that hole in the roof he must have fallen out of, far enough away from the edge that he would not roll off. We are hoping mama squirrel will find him, take him home, fix him up, scold him about falling into such dangers, and then move out of our house with her whole entire family.

We'll check tomorrow to see if he's gone. I hope he's ok. Even though he is a squirrel.

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