Tuesday, June 30, 2015


On a Saturday morning when my mom and sister were in town, Mom was standing at the dining room table reading the newspaper and casually said, "A chipmunk just came in the house." Just as calm as she could be as if she was saying, "There's still some more coffee in the pot if you want another cup."


"I think it ran into the kitchen," Mom said as she perused the Macy's ad.

I looked at Ann.  "For reals," I said nodding in Mom's direction, suggesting that maybe now is the time we should look into that room at Shady Acres before she gets bad.  Ann shrugged.

"That can't be, Mom," I said.  "We've never had a chipmunk in the house."

"All I know," Mom said turning the page, "is that something with a little head and tail ran in here.  Do you think we can go up to Macy's later on?"

Why is she always so freaking calm?

It wasn't long before the cat parked himself in front of the stove with a twitching tail.  Mom was right. There was an intruder in the house.

I told The Big Daddy who matched my mom's calmness.  "Don't worry about it.  The cats will get him sooner or later."

"No.  No.  That's not going to work for me.  I can't have that thing in here.  You have to get it out.  Now."

Undeterred by a foreign terrorist on the homeland soil and a damsel in distress, he went outside to putter in his garden.

I stayed out of the kitchen for as long as I could, and wouldn't you know that as soon as I went in there Alvin poked his head out from under the dishwasher to give me a fright.

I called The Big Daddy back in for a kitchen conference.  "You have to do something before this thing gives me a heart attack!!  It needs to go."

"Oh c'mon, you know this thing is more scared of you."

"I highly doubt that," I said.

"Where's my pioneer woman?"

"Well, she's in Oklahoma," I said, "cooking and writing that blog that makes bank every month.  You're stuck with me and I don't want a chipmunk in the kitchen."

He and Mallory, who happened to be unafraid or very hungry, conferred on a plan, got the squirrel trap out of the garage, wrapped it in a towel and put some popcorn in the trap.

We waited.

There were a couple of things wrong with this plan.  Problem #1: The squirrel trap was too big and the chipmunk was too small to set it off so he just darted in and out snacking on some Smart Pop for lunch.  Problem #2: The hubs used a brand new bathroom towel.  "Really, Mark?  Two dozen crappy towels in this house and you have to use the one we've owned for a week?"

"You wanted a trapped chipmunk.  Am I right?"

"Righty roo bounty hunter."

We scattered for the day - my sister and her kids to the shopping district, Mark hunched over a computer and Mom and I to Macy's.  The chipmunk had free rein of the kitchen (my kitchen) and a darkened, comfy restaurant to enjoy his popcorn.

A few hours later we gathered together for dinner where I was forced to be in the kitchen.  I got my brave on and my stomping boots.  With that many people in there I was sure that Alvin would mind his own beeswax under the dishwasher and he did. We ate and left to watch a soccer match.

My sister and her carload were the first to arrive home that night and Wrigley (the Yorkie who's a terrified chicken on four legs) was hiding in his kennel.  He was sporting his usual resting face grimace that said "something's not right around here you guys."  Since he's worn that grimace from the day he came to this house last fall we don't pay much attention.  This time, though, his grimace and his eyes kept darting from my sister to the kitchen. Over and over.  He'd witnessed something - something disturbing and he needed Ann to know about it.

Exhausted from all the days activities and wildlife sightings, we all went to bed with my sister camping on the couch. When Mal came home she sat on the couch talking to Ann when the cat started going crazy. They jumped up on the coffee table and screamed for Mark.  "THE CHIPMUNK!!!  THE CAT HAS THE CHIPMUNK!!!!"

I poked my sleeping husband and yelled at him to get downstairs before there was blood and chipmunk parts everywhere. Turns out the cat had a june bug.  It also turns out that, like me, none of the other women in the family share Mom's state of calm.

Mom, Ann and her kids left early the next morning without a chipmunk sighting.  Apparently even rodents like to sleep in on the Sabbath.  I managed to stay out of the kitchen for a good part of the day (a most excellent weight loss strategy) until I couldn't go any longer without some food.  And what did I get for my absence?  I got a chipmunk that ran right in front of my feet.

No longer willing to wait for our two lazy cats to take care of business, I sent Mark to the hardware store for a chipmunk trap.  It wasn't long before we got our man.

"Take him across the street," I said to Mark, "and make him cross a lot of traffic to get back here."

"I'm not going to make the little fellow do that," Mark said cooching-cooing Alvin in his trap.  He released him into the backyard where the chipmunk fam quickly gathered to hear about the meal plan inside.

From the safety of his kennel, Wrigley observed every second of this transpire with his darting, watchful eyes. Still grimacing and shaking in his furry boots, it was as if he wanted to say, "You guys wouldn't believe the shit that goes down around here when you walk out the door."

Come to Papa

1 comment:

  1. Just seeing this now. Monday July 6. Delightful story !
    Makes me want to start looking for Rentals in Kansas.
    I miss normal. Even if it's a little crazy. Fun to share it with Family.
    Glad I saw this today. Feel better already.