Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Things Are Getting Squirrel-ly

I've got a new alarm clock. It's in the form of a squirrel that visits our attic every morning at 7:15 a.m.

If you've never been to our apartment, then let me give you a brief layout. We live in a row of conjoined rental townhouses. We don't actually have a singular attic, but a joint space that spans the entire row of townhouses. According to Steven, it's a dismal & horrid place. He said there are so many holes in the roof that it's not even dark in the attic because so much sunlight is allowed in. Of course, when he describes this, I picture a serene Baptist church punctured by beams of sunlight coming through massive stain glass windows. I don't think it's quite that lovely. On the contrary. When Steven merely lifts his upper torso into the forbidden zone, he's masked in a hat, goggles, gloves, and clothes that he does not care for. He looks like one of those guys at the end of E.T.

So through these roof holes we obtain some new friends from time to time. A few months ago, we had a rat. I know it's a rat because I actually saw him one day. I came downstairs and walked into the kitchen to make my coffee. I was still rubbing the sleepy out of my eyes when we saw each other. We actually saw each other. He was sitting on my kitchen counter. He looked at me. I looked at him. And then we both panicked. I screamed, and he hauled ass across the counter. Of course, the sight of him in motion took my scream to a higher octave and that was enough to wake Brooklyn (and believe me, that's saying something. Normally, she doesn't get up until the coffee's ready). I don't like rats. Or mice. I never wanted a hamster. But I must say, this was a very handsome rat. He did not look like a hoodlum rat. Oh no, this rat knew people. He was white with black splotches, and had a gorgeous coat of disgusting, puke-out-my guts rat fur. I would not be surprised if this rat had an agent, and would potentially be in some absurd family comedy starring Eddie Murphy or Brendan Fraser. But for the time being, he was on my counter....hauling ass. He hauled is little furry butt right into the top of my oven. I've since been baffled by his choice in escape routes. It would not seem wise to use any sort of major kitchen appliance as a getaway vehicle. But I've never been able to escape anything, so what do I know?

Of course, Steven was out-of-town and unable to handle this little rodent problem. And Brooklyn was completely unwilling. So that left me to deal with it. At first, I tried to be civil with the rat. I thought, WWWDD? (What Would Walt Disney Do?) If there was only some way I could exploit this thing for millions of dollars. Maybe this was not a disgusting rat eating breadcrumbs off my kitchen counter, but a mouse with a dream. Maybe he was planning on cooking me breakfast or tidying my house. Soon, I realized this was highly unlikely. I had no eggs or pancake mix, and he would not be able to push the vacuum cleaner with those tiny little paws. I decided that he had to be murdered.

I planned on being humane by purchasing "no kill" traps and sonic sound things, but that crap didn't work. I didn't have the heart (or stomach) for sticky traps. I could not get old-fashioned snap traps to work without hurting myself in the process. And...I'm about to confess day....I stole a cat. I borrowed the cat really. And she was already in my yard, so technically she was trespassing. But it was pointless. Turns out, I catnapped the laziest damn animal next to Brooklyn on a rainy day. She was a napper, not a mouse hunter.

So I moved on to poison. It worked for the girls in 9 to 5, the evil queen in Snow White, and it worked for me too. Rat problem solved. But now we've got a new problem -- Mr. Squirrel. How do I know it's a squirrel? Context clues. He sounds very acrobatic and busy. He's much more motivated than a rat. Plus, he's very punctual. He keeps a set schedule every single day. At 7:15 a.m., he starts to scratch and gnaw in the attic and he actually moves in a set path throughout the ceiling. By 9 a.m., he's done. This is his schedule, every single day! Now, everybody knows that rats don't have enough pocket space to carry a watch, much less a map and compass. But squirrels do -- why do you think they have those bushy tails? It's not for balance, it's cargo space.

Yeah, I know. It could be something else. But I'm not Discovery Earth, I don't have a film crew capturing the goings-on of my attic. There could be another rat up there, or a wayward penguin. Maybe a drunk and confused Rip Torn, looking for his house. Hell, it could be that cat that I kidnapped, suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. I really don't know what's up there, and I don't care. This stupid freaking thing has been waking me up every morning for 4 days now and it must die. With any luck, after a few days and a few handfuls of poison, it'll be nothing more than a dead lump of furry regrets.

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