Sunday, April 22, 2007

I did my best . . .

On Friday night, I set my travel alarm clock for 7:30 the next morning (I prefer to leave my regular clock-radio set for the week). My brother and family were in Williamsburg, VA, and I was scheduled to meet them at 10:00 Saturday morning at Busch Gardens. I recall briefly waking at around 7 on Saturday morning and thinking I had another 30 minutes to sleep, so I rolled over and dozed off. Sometime later I work with a start, thinking I must have overslept. I peered over to the travel alarm and saw a blank display; its battery had run out. In a panic I sat up and looked across the room to the display on the cable box and saw that it was exactly 7:30. I got up and started my day, which mostly involves feeding the cat.

After making sure Toast was fed, I sat down at the computer to check on email and a few other sites before it was time to get showered and dressed and on the road. Perhaps twenty or twenty-five minutes later, I was sitting here at the computer when I heard a strange sound. At first I thought it was Toast coughing up a hairball, but I noticed it went on longer than the horking process. As I walked out of the office to investigate, I heard more of a splashing sound, coming from the main bathroom, specifically from the toilet. I then figured it was some kind of not pleasant sewage problem, exactly what I didn't need at that moment.

I walked into the bathroom and lifted the lid of the toilet to see what was going on, and was shocked and amazed to discover . . . one very wet squirrel. Its little claws could get no purchase on the porcelain, thank god, or I imagine I'd have had a problem with a squirrel running about inside, and my day pretty much would have been ruined.

I put the lid down and wondered just double you tee eff I could do about this. I had to leave in half an hour to get to Williamsburg to see my brother and family! I couldn't just leave the squirrel in there to drown. Besides, if I did so I'd only have to deal with that later anyway. I spotted the wire mesh wastebasket, which seemed like a good trap, but how to get him in there, and then keep him there? The squirrel had frozen when I first lifted the toilet lid but every couple of minutes, I would hear him scrambling and splashing. I have to imagine he was rather exhausted and frightened.

I went to the front hall closet and found some old winter gloves and put them on. I then stepped back into the bathroom. I still had no real plan, although I did have the presence of mind to close the bathroom door behind me, in case it whatever I did all went pear-shaped. I grabbed the wastebasket, placed it right by the bowl, and placed a towel nearby. I lifted the lid again and looked down at my visitor. He looked back at me, but stayed fairly immobile. It finally dawned on me that maybe the best way to grab a squirrel was by the tail. I reached down and did so and lifted him quickly out of the water. He screeched as I dropped him into the wastebasket; I quickly placed the towel across the top and held it tightly in place.

It wasn't particularly easy to open the bathroom door while holding a basket full of wet squirrel, but I managed to do so. I'd previously opened the door from the kitchen out to the side deck, so it was no problem getting out there. I placed the basket on the deck and tipped it onto its side, then pulled the towel back. I'd imagined the squirrel would dart off in a flash, but instead he squeaked a bit more and then slowly walked off. I closed the door and went back inside to get showered and dressed and head off to the theme park.




Unfortunately, I am sad to have to report that little Rocky the squirrel didn't make it. I thought once he'd walked off yesterday morning that he'd dry off and be OK. However, I found his body next to a piece of deck furniture as I was working outside this afternoon.

I dug a small grave for him near the back corner of my property where I'm trying to improve the landscaping, and planted some marigolds on top.

Sorry, little Rocky dude. I did my best for you . . .

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