Ravenous intruders wreak havoc, traumatize family

Ravenous intruders wreak havoc, traumatize family
They quietly broke into the house on a late afternoon, when the windows were wide open, letting in warm autumn air.

Brian, who was in the throes of being Mr. Mom, was tidying up the house before I arrived home from work.

"The one thing I can't stand is a messy house," I instructed Brian not long after he took over his new post. "I like things in order; it gives me a feeling of peace and satisfaction when the dishes are done, the floors are swept, the beds are made, the laundry is folded." I stopped there, even though I could make the list go on and on.

That fateful day, as Brian was hauling a basketful of clean towels from the laundry room through the kitchen, he suddenly stopped. Something caught his attention out of the corner of his eye; something was out of place.

Why is there a hole in my screen? Is that a squirrel sitting on my countertop eating bread from my bread basket? Maybe all the housework was getting to him. Perhaps he should take a break and watch some soap operas, which is what people thought he did all day anyway.

Knowing he was in trouble, war was declared and sides quickly began to form. It was Brian, our son Nicholas, and our springier spaniel, Michael, against the squirrel invader.

Brian grabbed his weapon of choice, the kitchen broom, and chased the squirrel into the front living room – no, not one squirrel, but now two squirrels – into the living room. Nicholas followed and quickly closed the door behind.

When we added this room onto the front of our house a few years back, it was designed as a quiet fireside room with no television. At the time, the builder asked me, "Paula, why do you want an interior door on this room?" My answer at the time was peace and quiet. Little did I know the reason would be to corral squirrels.

Well, you can imagine what a scene my living room, filled with a bounty of breakables and dainty ditties, had become. Brian with broom in hand, Michael going bananas chasing back and forth across the room, a squirrel running over the furniture, another squirrel on top of the grandfather clock, Nicholas, now turned sentry at the front door holding it open for the squirrels.

These were not just your run-of-the-mill squirrels; these were squirrels from hell. They were not just squirrels from hell; they were flying squirrels from hell.

Upon reaching the top of the grandfather clock, they flew through the air, landing on the fireplace mantel, upsetting my prized Bavarian china teacup, shattering it.

On their second pass around room, those two rats with furry tails climbed and clawed their way up one side of the windows and down the other using my curtains to gain footing.

With Brian still swinging his broom behind the squirrels, my living room had become a veritable racetrack. By the time they escaped out the front door, the squirrels had wreaked havoc.

We no longer keep bread in a basket in the kitchen window. I no longer think squirrels are cute.

A resident of Southeast South Dakota for more than 30 years, Paula Damon is a popular columnist, keynote speaker, and freelance writer. Her columns have won first-place national and state awards in The National Federation of Press Women competitions. Most recently, Damon's writing took second place statewide in the South Dakota Press Women 2007 Competition. For more information, e-mail pauladamon@iw.net.

� 2007 Paula Damon

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