Not Another Squirrel!

A few weeks ago I actually witnessed an unbelievable sight.  The entire family was outside.  The kids played in the driveway while my husband and I stood looking up at a tree that had just lost a huge limb during a storm.  We were both standing close to the tree studying another limb that looked dangerous and badly damaged.  A squirrel had been moving around in tree, just doing what squirrels do, and then it happened!  It looked like the furry little thing went to jump to a lower limb, but missed!?  We stood there with open mouths, and watched the squirrel plummet to the ground.  It was falling feet first, but did a mid-air flip. The squirrel hit the ground with a thud and went completely still.  “I think it just committed suicide!” I said to my husband.  He walked toward it and I yelled “Don’t touch it!  It is probably just messing with us!”  My husband got close, while I backed away.   He then said, “I think it’s dead. Maybe it was sick.  It is covered with ticks and they are swollen; it is actually pretty disgusting!”

My kids figured out that something unusual was happening.  Possibly due to the fact that I was running down the hill covering my head (just in case more squirrels decided to dive bomb us).  I was also screaming “Gross!  That was so weird!  Eww!  That is so nasty!”  My daughter asked what was going on, and I said that dad was looking at a dead squirrel.  I told her that it was sick, and covered with bugs, and not to go near it.  “Did it just die?  What happened to it?” she asked.   My husband tells her that it fell out of the tree.  My daughter looked horrified and asked “What was wrong with it?”  My husband then replies “Well honey, the squirrel may have had cataracts, a tree nut allergy, or it just might have been very, very sad!”  My daughter now looked even more horrified and confused.  I gave my husband “the look”, let out a big sigh, and shook my head.  I took the kids in the house and as I closed the door, I could hear my husband outside laughing and saying “Babe, can you believe that?  “I have never seen anything like that; it was seriously unbelievable!  That thing just did a high dive right out of that tree.  I give him a 10, except for the landing!”  I shut the door and said “OH, dear!”  My daughter asked what was wrong.  I said “Nothing honey. I just think that daddy has been out in the heat a little too long!”  She nodded as if she understood.

Here we are, two weeks later.  My husband walks in covered in sweat and looking quite sticky.  He had been outside for some time.  I had already given the kids a bath and gotten them in bed.  It had been the world’s longest day, and I finally had a chance to sit down.  I sat on the bed and grabbed my iPad because I needed to return an email.  My husband was standing over me, grumbling about our latest squirrel saga; they completely backed up the gutters along the entire side of our house causing a pretty serious problem.   These relentless squirrels had climbed up inside the gutters, gotten under the gutter guards, and built a huge nest.  The gutter guys had been at the house today and the estimate to fix the problem was well over $1,000.   My husband was not happy!  He looked at me and asked if I had seen the trap. 

Evidently, while my husband was making our early coffee run, he ran by our local hardware store and bought some humane animal traps.  He said that he just wanted to catch the furry little bandits, and take them somewhere else.  He says that he sat the cage, or trap, near the gutter that they always enter.  He went on to tell me that he then took tortilla chips, spread them with peanut butter, covered them with chocolate Cheerios, and then put them in the cage.   

After letting this information soak in, I tell him that this all sounds completely ridiculous and like a huge waste of his time.  “What are you going to do with the squirrel when you catch it?” I ask.  “I am going to drive it up to the pool and let it go” he tells me.  “Aren’t they like dogs?  Don’t they come back?  And you are not taking them in my car. I don’t want some tick and flea infested rodents running around in my car!” I say, after recently seeing that tick-covered squirrel spiral to his death.  I then say, “I’m sorry; I’m tired.  But I honestly don’t think you will catch one anyway.”   “Guess what?” he says, “I already did!”

My husband has an interesting sense of humor, so I was trying to figure out if he was just messing with me.  “Are you serious?” I asked.  “I am dead serious!” he said.  And as if the entire conversation had not already been weird, it now gets weirder!  He then says “You should come look at the size of this thing; It’s huge!  It’s so big that it bent the large cage!  It is one big bull!”   “A bull?  I said.  “Yeah, it’s a male – a bull!” he answers.   I said “You are from California; you were a swimmer, a surfer, and a sunner.  Now you do math all day.  How do you know what male squirrels are called?  And how do you know it was a male for that matter?”  A question I now seriously regret asking as my husband replied, “Because I picked up  the cage and was staring right at it!  You can see his boy parts, and you should see the size of his “nads”, they are huge!  I then said, “Nads?  What are you talking about?”  He answered, “His Cojones; they are Enormous.  He must have to drag them up the tree!  Seriously, come look!” 

I looked at my husband and said “Honey, I am a little concerned that the work stress is getting to you.  I think the 16 hour days are just too much.  You have known me long enough to know that I would rather be poked repeatedly with a fork, than to go look at that squirrel.  In fact, a unicorn will fly out of my tushy before I go look at that squirrel or his family jewels!”  He finally started laughing and said “Yeah, OK; I’m tired anyway.  I’m just going to let the thing go.  Besides, anything with nads like that deserves to be free.  But if it builds a nest in our gutters again, I’m going to teach it to skydive without a parachute – just like his friend.”  I replied with “Whatever you say honey!  And oh by the way, I don’t ever want to see, or hear about, animal reproductive parts again– especially the boy ones.  That is just more than I need to know!” 

After he left, I wondered if other people had lives like this.  Are we the weirdest family in the world?  Do other people have experiences or conversations like these?  At least this conversation taught me a valuable lesson – to only ask my husband questions that I REALLY want the answers to.  Also, I will never look at squirrels the same way again; they are cute no more!  I think we are going to have to move back to the city – Yuck!

Mommy Look!

So we were in Starbucks (as we were almost every Saturday morning) but this Saturday was special because, on this day, my 3 year old daughter saw someone that she had never seen before.  She finally got to lay eyes on a figure that she had only before seen in books and the movie Peter Pan.

So the story begins very early on a cloudy Saturday morning.  My kids and I were looking for a table while my husband took place in the abnormally long line.  My daughter and I sat against the wall, and I sat the baby’s car seat in the chair across from me.  All of the comfy seats were already taken, so we were sitting directly across from the case filled with treats and we were easily within earshot of the people in line.  We had a view of the entire store and, as my daughter sat watching her dad in line, I noticed a bright green flash at the store’s entrance.  It was a very unusual sight.  A few people wearing cycling clothes were standing in the corner chatting and they all stopped as she entered.

She was obviously a newbie to sport of cycling, but boy was she prepared for today’s ride.  She was wearing a color that is hard to describe, because it actually glowed.   It was like an alien spacecraft had exploded and this blinding material was all that was left.  The color was neon green (we will just call it green with black accents) and she was wearing a lot of it.  I mean she had on the neon green and black shirt, the neon green and black bike shorts, and the neon green and black jacket.  This lady had the neon green and black tennis shoes, the neon green and black fanny pack, and even the matching water bottle.  Her hair was red, short, and very curly; it was so short that it stood up wildly all over her head.   Her black bandana, with neon green accents, smashed down the very front, and made the hair around the top and sides of her head stick out even more.  As she walked toward her friends, the crowd literally parted as people took in the neon spectacle.  Her cycling friends were also dressed to ride, but they were dressed much simpler and did not cause you to choke on your bagel.  It is hard to explain because the others also had on unique outfits.  They wore shirts of various color (even neon) and many had logos.  There was just something so different about this outfit.  I am still not sure if it was just that the color was so strange, or that it seemed a size too small as it clung for dear life to her enormous knockers (which were so smashed down that they stretched from her armpits to her belly button).  She walked with a swagger that shook her water bottle and something that I am pretty sure was a compass.  I did not understand the compass; I mean is it really possible to get lost while wearing the fashion equivalent to a strobe light.  This woman was totally and completely covered with glowing green and black.  I found myself wondering if she had somehow found neon green toilet paper and stashed it in her fanny pack.  Although most of us tried to look away, you just had to look again.   It was like a tractor beam was pulling you back to bask in a confusing neon haze.

I sat and watched as everyone stared at her and I tried to figure out if I had just encountered the world’s most confident woman or most naive.  Should I applaud her or feel guilty for staring.  I was concerned that she may have fallen prey to some slicked-back-haired, smooth talking, cycling salesman.  Or maybe she had a cold and accidentally took the drowsy nighttime medicine on the day of her clothing purchase.  These were good possibilities, but still did not explain why she put on the outfit this morning.  I forgave her for the hair standing straight up on her head.  I mean who hasn’t fallen victim to a bad hairstylist (although there really should be a state board somewhere tracking this guy down and permanently removing his scissors).  I was smiling at her and trying very hard to look approving.  After all, you could tell that she had not exercised in a while and decided to try something new and make a change for the better – good for her!  I sat there and hoped the others would come to similar conclusions and would stop staring and mumbling under their breath.

The attention kept coming her way, and not just because of the super cyclist/super hero outfit, but because she was a loud talker.  She suddenly started yelling “I’m here and I’m ready to do this!” while pumping her glowing arms up high in the air.  This is the point when my three year old spotted her and started saying “Mommy look! Mommy look!”  I looked straight ahead of me at the men standing in line, who were also listening to my daughter.  They threw me a smirk, as they looked back at the loud talking, loud walking lady.   I tried to distract my daughter by pointing to her dad, who was way down at the other end, waiting for our coffees.  The lady now announces, to the entire store, that she has to use the restroom and heads our way.  As she gets right in front of our table (which happens to be right at the center of the unusually long and slow line), my daughter stands up.  She actually stood up on the bench, stuck out her arm, pointed her finger at the woman and yelled “Look mommy, a pirate!  Aaaaarrrrrhhhhh!”

I looked up and the entire Starbucks line was completely doubled over.  Tears were running down faces, hands were on stomachs and a few even clapped.  My face was completely red.  I was trying to keep my composure as I looked over at her friends and mouthed the words “Sorry!  Those crazy kids!”  The good news was that the lady already had her back to us at the time of the comment.  I was hoping that she had missed it completely.  My husband walks over with the coffees.  Some guy, who could not stop laughing, steps over to us and says, “That was awesome!”  My husband looks at me and asks what is going on.  I tell him and he asks, “Did she really say Aaaaarrrrhhhhh?”  A completely different man answered for me.  “Oh yeah” he said, as he wiped a tear off of his face.  My daughter then looks at my husband and says “Oh daddy, I’ve never met a pirate before!”  I was trying to decide if we should just leave, but we stayed and had our coffee and sandwiches. 

The lady seemed OK as she exited the restroom.  She still looked happy and excited, so I assumed that she somehow missed the whole thing.  I only looked at her again when she was outside the store.  I could now see that her hair, forced down by the bandana, actually was in the shape of a pirate hat, the water bottle on her hip was similar to a looking glass, and the compass goes without saying.  The outfit was so bizarre that my daughter decided it could only be worn by a very select few.  Lady neon actually did kind of look like a pirate!

It was a horribly embarrassing morning for me, but for my daughter, it was the best morning ever!  She spoke of this morning for months.  She told people about the morning that she met a pirate (a neon green pirate at Starbucks).  That is the great thing about kids; you just never know what exciting adventures lie ahead, even on what started out to be a gloomy, mundane Saturday morning.