My 365

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Wild Kingdom

Who would've thought that there is a jungle in the middle of Sugar Hill, GA.  In fact, a jungle in my back yard and now it's creeping indoors.  It's no surprise to me.  I've been here before.  Mom's cat, Dusty, is quite the avid hunter, but unlike other, normal cats, she doesn't kill her prey, she brings it into the house, alive and very well.  Why?  Why can't she be like other cats and just leave her gift on the doorstep so it can be disposed of properly?  No.  This cat has to bring it inside as a play toy.  Only for some reason she seems to lose interest after it crosses the threshold and now it's my problem.  We've had birds, squirrels and more often...chipmunks.  None of these critters are maneaters by any means, but they may as well be as far as I'm concerned.  It's a woodland creature that belongs outside...NOT in my house.  Normally I can catch them fairly quickly because I know as soon as she's brought it inside.  However there are instances when she will bring the unwitting creature in the house at night when we are none the wiser.  This is the case today.  Dusty brought a little chippie inside while no one was looking.  Coincidentally I think it's the same chipmunk from the other day that Dusty brought inside and scared him so bad he dropped the load of birdseed he was storing in his cheeks all over the kitchen floor.  He was released back into the wild, but apparently wasn't smart enough to run away.  So as I was heading down the stairs to put the kids down for a nap, I see a small dark figure race across the stairway.  Oh, great.  So I'm going to break it down for you in days, yes, days.

Chipapalooza Day 1

I hurried down the stairs instructing the kids to stay upstairs so they wouldn't risk coming in contact with the creature, which of course didn't happen.  I chased it for a few minutes with no luck and realized that chasing it wasn't going to work.  Especially with Gracie flipping out and arming herself at the top of the stairs with a box top.  Gabe, however, was on the floor with me looking under things and just wanted to climb into the trap I just set.  So I finally get the kids to lay down after A LOT of coercing.  I then sit and wait because the trap I've set requires the animal to weigh so much in order to trip the trap door and I know the little chipmunk won't weigh enough, so I will have to trip the trap myself.  So minutes pass by and no chipmunk.  Then I hear something like a faint scratching sound.  I stop and listen and sure enough there is a scratching sound coming from the other side of Gabe's's in his room!  I opened the door and found it in his closet, I chased it out and it ran under his bed.  So I ran over with my stick and tried to chase it out from under the bed.  Gabe is a little sleeping angel in his bed, unaware of the battle raging around him.  I'm trying to be as quiet as possible and had to stifle a yelp when the chipmunk runs out from under the bed between my feet and out the door.  I shut the door behind me and searched for a few more minutes but found nothing...he's good, he's really good.  I called Mom and she suggested I put Curly (Mom's poodle) on the trail, because she is normally an excellent tracker.  I pluck Curly out of her bed and carry her downstairs and set her right on top of the fresh trail.  She stands there, then looks up at me as if to say "you interrupted my nap for this?", and then bounds right back up the stairs.  Thanks, Curly, you were a huge help.  So I try to go about my day but now I've developed the shifty eyes of cat burglar and am constantly looking at the floor waiting for something to jump out at my feet.  Every noise is freaking me out.  The dishwasher made me jump a foot out of my chair.  I'm waiting for Dad to get home, because he's the critter catcher.  At this point I'm really missing Mike, because he would have been like a bloodhound on the fox trail and would have come up with some ingenius plan to capture him.  So Dad gets home and sets to work.  At first he didn't see anything but after a while he caught sight and the chase was on.  He called me down to help him and of course, my little shadow Gabe wanted to follow.  I tried to get Gabe back upstairs, because I didn't want him in the line of fire, but he started screaming and that got Gracie started screaming.  So there were two kids screaming upstairs, traumatized, while Dad and I are literally tearing my house apart chasing this little devil back and forth, getting so close and then missing.  Couches are overturned, pillows thrown everywhere and boxes stacked waist high at every exit trying to close him in.  He ran between my feet several times and I screamed like a girl, I hate to admit.  We are getting tired and I start debating whether or not to just give up, name the chipmunk Scrappy and declare it a member of the family.  Since Scrappy has effectively escaped and hidden...again, we give up for the night and I went to the store to buy glue boards to capture him.  I set up the glue boards in various locations and tried to relax enough to go to sleep, wondering the whole time if Scrappy is scurrying around below me.

P.S.  While all this other nonsense is going on, I hear yet another critter, probably a possum, in the ceiling downstairs.  So Dad sets the trap up and I caught it.  Now I have to listen to the possum banging around in the trap in the ceiling all night until Dad can get it down in the morning.  It was a long, long night.

Chipapalooza Day 2

I wake up to immediatley check the traps.  The kids are still asleep, which is unheard of with my children, but after the traumatic events of the night before and the delayed bedtime resulting, I wasn't too surprised.  All the traps were empty, but one trap had moved and upon further inspection had several tufts of brown fur on it.  Ouch.  He managed to get out of the sticky trap.  I get the kids upstairs and eating their breakfast and go back down to check the traps again.  Another trap had moved and yet more brown fur was found.  That's two traps he's escaped.  Somewhere in my basement is a frantic, ticked off chipmunk with a couple of bald spots.  This can't be good.  Rufus runs around sniffing randomly like he is trying to track Scrappy but he's just that kid in class reading a comic book behind "War and Peace"...a big faker.  I call Animal Control, who say it's wildlife and therefore not their problem and to call a pest control company.  So I call a pest control company to ask how much that is going to cost and the guy basically says all he would do is trap it the same way I am only I need to use bigger glue boards or the old fashioned spring traps.  Now, at first I only wanted to catch the little bugger and release him unharmed.  But at this point my nerves are fried and he had his chance at life.  However, I do not have the heart to use the spring trap so I plan on buying the bigger glue board on my way home from dinner with my grandparents.  But in the meantime I come up with the brilliant plan to put all four of the sticky boards in a box with birdseed in it.  Scrappy's gotta be hungry right?  So we get home from dinner and I check my homemade trap.  There's sticky boards everywhere and as we checked the last one, Scrappy pops out and scurries away into my closet room.  This is it...the final battle.  It's "Scrappy's Last Stand" and I will fight to the death.  I built a "funnel" and opened the door hoping to chase it outside.  Dad goes into the closet and he's disappeared again.  Finally Dad looks in a basket with some clothes in it and lifts up a pair of pants on top and sees a hat underneath that, only this hat is moving.  Clever little fella.  Dad takes the basket outside and Scrappy runs free!!!  I thought it was never going to end.  At last, I will have a critter free night and Scrappy was able to escape, unharmed.  But I don't ever want to see him around here again...ever. 

In conclusion...threat eliminated.  I'm SO over animals for a while.

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