Long day at work, couldn’t wait to get home. Long day means the “busy” and “excitement” did not exist that day. But then again, usually it’s just the “busy” that exists at work and “excitement” is rarely a part of my vocabulary anymore…especially the particular day this story takes place. None the less, my drive home was what I would call “Murder on Loop 1” (but I’ll leave that story for another blog) so I guess I could count that for excitement.
My drive home finally ended as I park my car in my driveway – anxious to get inside and relax and watch the news to see what might have transpired during the day. As I get out of the car I hear my dog, Dante, barking inside the house. Hmm. Interesting – he rarely barks let alone while he is in the house alone. Maybe he heard me get out of the car? He never barked before when I drove up but I guess there is always a first time. I walk up to my door which is a wooden and glass door. Suffice it to say I can see inside my house through the window of the front door. Dante, still barking and pacing, I begin to wonder if an intruder had entered my home. As I unlock the door and open it up, Dante doesn’t come running up to me as he usually does…he is in the living room jumping and trotting and breathing heavy and smiling his dog smile and making noises like he was crying and barking at the same time. Looking at me and then looking at the fireplace and then running to me barking. I had no idea what was going on. I just thought he was a bit off his rocker.
I begin my getting in my house after work routine and Dante follows me everywhere but he often leaves to go back in the living room and then comes trotting back to me smiling his dog smile and acting like he’s been running for the last 4 hours or something. Wow, what the heck is wrong with this dog, I think to myself. I had never seen him like this as the fireplace becomes his new place of interest. It was then I heard something, a very light sound but it was something. Dante hears it too and does his front feet prancing thing as he peers into the fireplace. I wonder to myself what the heck is he looking at. I peer into the fireplace, which had those fake logs but still soot from some of the real wood I often used in there too. I see nothing. The fake logs are big and all looks good. So – I stand up and I hear it AGAIN. I look at Dante and he is SO HAPPY I hear the same thing he does. Little do I know Dante knows what is making the sound.
I look again; see nothing again, so I go to get my flashlight I always leave on the top of the fridge. Maybe the flashlight will let me shine the light on whatever was giving Dante a heart attack. I get on my knees and I slowly open the metal screen to peer into the fireplace with my flashlight and Dante pants fast, near my face, looking in with me. I see nothing….I see nothing …I see…BAMM…2 EYES glaring at me from behind the logs. I fall back screaming as Dante doesn’t know what to do. “OH MY GOD DANTE, IT’S A SQUIRREL. IT’S A SQUIRREL!” He looks at me like he was saying “Yeah? Well I know!” I know he wants me to get it out so he can play with it and chase it and then squash it with all his might and then take out the squirrel’s heart and lick his chops as he eats it with squirrel blood dripping off his face.
But I don’t get it out for him. I grab the front metal screen and close it so fast there is no tomorrow. HOW the heck did it get in my fireplace? Jeesh. HOW long had it been there? HOW the heck am I going to get it out of there? WHY do I live by myself at times like this? WHAT am I going to do? WHY do I have to make these decisions? OMG it’s a damn squirrel in my house!
RODENT PATROL. That’s what came to my mind, I don’t know why, but yes it did. RODENT PATROL. They have GOT to be in the Yellow Pages. Yes – I thought of the YELLOW PAGES. I did NOT think of the internet. I do NOT know why but I actually ran out to my garage, where I keep the yellow pages because I never USE my YELLOW PAGES but apparently for RODENT PATROL I thought to use my YELLOW PAGES!
I quickly thumb through and find a Pest and Rodent Control company and I didn’t care the name of the place or the cost, I just called the number. I barely remember the call except that they did say they had a “squirrel removal specialist” that was really the best and he was available to come out. FINE BY ME! Get him out here! They said he would be there within 45 minutes because of the rush hour traffic and all. Unfortunately I could sympathize and just prayed he wasn’t coming from South Austin or my day that had quickly become “excitement” will last allot longer than I wanted.
Within 30 minutes a truck stops in front of my house and my “squirrel removal specialist” jumps out of his truck and walks quickly to my door. He looks so excited he could hardly stand it and says in the thickest Texan accent I have ever heard “Are you MS POWERS? I hear that you have a squirrel in your fireplace!?” I smile and say that I do, all the while thinking I didn’t know squirrel removal specialists were so short and wore cowboy hats. He looked as though he was chomping at the bit just to get to the squirrel and quickly reminded me of Dante. They both wanted this squirrel BAD and this was a good thing, a squirrel removal specialist with passion!
I let him inside the house and he walks towards the fireplace but stops before he gets there and begins to move my furniture like he was a furniture removal man instead of a squirrel removal specialist. What the heck was he doing? He looks at me as he is moving all of my living room furniture and says to me in his thick southern accent, “I’m moving this furniture out of the way so your little squirrel can run out of the house when I open up the screen!” Huh? I tried to suppress my first thought but I could not…”That’s not my squirrel, trust me it’s not my squirrel.” He looks at me and smiles and says “Why yes it is Mam, it’s in your house so it’s your squirrel.” I look at him and decide I’m not going to start a fight. “Okay – it’s my squirrel.” I did tell him though that I did open the screen once and the squirrel did not run out. He told me that he can get it to run out very easily and that’s why he was a squirrel removal specialist! He was salivating, he really was. “I’m going to make a clear path so the little critter can run straight through the living room right out your front door…so we need to keep the front door all the way open.” “And, as you see I’m putting all the furniture so it will run STRAIGHT out with nothing in its way.” Uhh …Yes I see…as I begin to think if they had only told me this over the phone I could have saved myself $115.00. I would have moved the damn furniture myself…excuse my language.
He tells me I might want to stand in the kitchen (I can see everything from my kitchen as it is open to the living room as it looks out over the living room) so I wouldn’t be in way of the squirrel when it leaves my house. Hey…no problem…I’ll go stand in the kitchen because, you know what, I HATE squirrels. The squirrel removal specialist just can’t wait to get to his obviously favorite rodent. I let Dante out back and he reluctantly prances out with his tongue hanging out, I’m sure having a slight sense that this strange talking and looking man is going to take his feast away. As I stand in the kitchen I see everything happening and I watch with awe. As he opens up the metal fireplace screen, the squirrel removal specialist begins talking to the squirrel like it is his special friend. “Hey buddy buddy buddy buddy! Come on out here buddy, come out of the fireplace.” The squirrel specialist peers in the fireplace and says ‘Hey, there’s my buddy, I see my buddy…come on out buddy!” His buddy doesn’t come out. Maybe Buddy the squirrel doesn’t understand English?
By this point I was speechless. Not only was I speechless I was very close to laughing and all of the sudden thinking I wish all of this was on tape so I can sell it on EBAY or something. You just really had to be there. BUT THEN…the squirrel removal specialist stands up and says to me “Mam…your squirrel ain’t comin’ out!” I look at him and smile a half smile and say “I know!” My specialist then looks at me and it looks as though a light bulb goes off in his brain…”I’ll be right back…” and he goes RUNNING out the open front door and I go running through the kitchen to look out the front room window to see what he is doing and he is getting something out of his truck. What is it…what is he getting…a gun or something I think? But no, it’s not a gun, it’s a SHOVEL. Yes, a SHOVEL. The last time I saw a shovel was when I was removing snow from my driveway when I was a senior in high school in Colorado for goodness sake.
My squirrel removal specialist (yes he’s mine now because he’s in my house) comes in to the house and sees me and says “Get back in the kitchen Mam!” I obey him as he goes quickly to the fireplace with the shovel. I stare again, in awe at him, as he sticks the shovel in the fireplace and removes one of the heavy fake logs (yes, they are heavy) and says to me, “See Mam…I need to remove these logs so our little buddy can run out….these logs are in his way!” I just look at him wide-eyed and nod my head. Of course, why didn’t I think of that! I continue to watch and think that I am so glad the sofa and other furniture are blocking the way to the kitchen and I just can’t wait to see the squirrel leave my house! The clear pathway to the open front door is perfect, my squirrel removal specialist with his cowboy hat still on, said. Jeesh, maybe I couldn’t have done this myself I think. It seems logical, because I would run out the front door too, if I had been stuck in a fireplace for hours!
After my squirrel removal specialist lifts another big log he yells at “Buddy” to “Get out, go away, go away. Run out the front door Buddy, run out the front door.” And then my squirrel RUNS out of the fireplace and straight to the…no…not the door…but to the kitchen…jumps onto and over the sofa and then jumps on a dining room chair and INTO the KITCHEN where I AM! I jump up on the counter so fast there is no tomorrow and the squirrel runs right by my feet as I am jumping up onto the kitchen counter and I watch the squirrel as he runs into my front room. All the while my squirrel removal specialist is screaming “Buddy, you went the wrong way buddy…you went the wrong way!” I then, without even thinking, jump off the counter after the damn squirrel and my adrenalin is running so much I run out the open front door as I see the squirrel jumping up on my desk chair, then on to my book shelves and then jumps on to the wall and looses traction because it’s just a wall and then falls down on to the bookshelf and then hits the floor.
My squirrel removal specialist is still in my living room holding his shovel as I look around as I’m running out the door. He is still screaming at Buddy and I am just running with “Buddy” nowhere to be found. I stand out by my car as I hear my squirrel removal specialist screaming “GO BUDDY GO BUDDY” and then before you know it, as I’m standing by my car I see my squirrel, Buddy, run RIGHT BY ME FEET AGAIN FOR GODS SAKE…into the street and across the road, never to be seen again. I then turn my head and see my squirrel removal specialist screaming at him with his huge shovel in his hand, shaking the shovel high up in the air.
The squirrel removal specialist then stops as Buddy the squirrel escapes across the street and looks at me proudly and says “See Mam, I told you I’d get that squirrel out of your house!”